Long Island Car Accident Lawyers Helping Clients Seek Compensation
Most people are involved in at least one car accident in their lifetimes, but being common doesn’t make a car accident any less scary. When you’re driving or riding in a car, you’re relying on the other drivers around you to maintain control of their vehicles. But what happens when they don’t? Car accidents can cause serious injuries and long-term consequences, and it’s important to be aware of your legal rights and options.
If you’re looking for an experienced car accident attorney in the Long Island area, MontanaroLaw P.C. is ready to discuss your case and your options with you. We provide clients with a free consultation so you can know whether you may be able to file a lawsuit before you pay anything. If you decide to work with us, we’ll represent you and work hard to argue your case in the New York courts.
New York Car Accidents
When you’re injured in a car crash in New York, it’s common to have questions about what’s normal and what comes next. We’ve gathered some frequent questions our clients come to us with and the answers below.
How Common Are Car Accidents in New York?
Car accidents are extremely common in New York. While crash statistics vary depending on the exact area, the data for New York City can help give you a better idea of how many accidents occur on average. The following numbers were reported for May 2022.
- Total number of accidents: 9,259
- Motorists injured: 2,062
- Motorists killed: 8
What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents?
According to the same data used above, the five most common causes of car accidents in New York City for May 2022 were:
- Driver inattention/distraction: 2,687
- Following too closely: 763
- Failure to yield: 693
- Improper passing or lane usage: 489
- Passing too closely: 392
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Car Accident?
If you are in a car accident, the first thing to do is to call 911 and then make sure everyone is okay. If you or your passengers have injuries, try to assess the severity of them and relay that to the emergency responders. It’s a good idea not to move anyone until paramedics arrive, as you could end up making injuries involving the neck or spine worse.
Once your immediate medical needs are taken care of, it’s important to start documenting any injuries and medical treatment you have received so far. This can help you later on when you decide to file a lawsuit. It’s never too early to start talking with an attorney who has experience in car crash cases. They can help you know whether you have a case and what the next steps are to start seeking compensation from the at-fault party.
Car Accident Injuries
Being injured is one of the worst parts for car accident victims. In serious crashes, injuries can be catastrophic, and it is the injuries themselves that form the basis of most car accident cases. The medical bills you incur and lost wages from time taken off work are calculated to help determine the amount of compensation you are seeking through your suit.
What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
The types of injuries that can result from car accidents are extremely varied and can range from minor cuts and bruises to massive internal trauma. Some common car accident injuries include:
- Blunt force trauma from the impact
- Dislocated joints
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Lacerated organs
- Crush injuries, particularly with the lower extremities
- Excessive blood loss
- Brain injuries, including concussions and swelling around the brain
- Bruising from the seatbelt or airbags
In most cases, victims who wear seatbelts sustain fewer serious injuries than those who don’t. This is because the force of the impact can throw a person from the car and through the windshield, adding another impact and increasing the chances of being run over if they aren’t secured with a seatbelt.
What If I Don’t Realize I’m Injured Until Days After the Accident?
It’s common for car accident victims not to realize they are injured right away, especially if the injuries aren’t obvious, such as a broken bone. When you are in a car accident, your adrenaline kicks in, and this can mask pain and other symptoms, which come on days later when your body has settled down.
Whiplash, back pain, and even internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma from the impact can all be missed immediately after a car accident. This is why it’s important not to take a settlement from the other party’s insurance immediately. You may think that you are just a little stiff or sore to find out later that you have a serious back problem that requires surgery and weeks off work.
In the state of New York, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. This means that it’s okay to take some time after the accident to ensure you have a full assessment of the accident’s impact on your quality of life and have a better idea of the medical bills you have incurred or may still be expecting.
What If Someone I Love Was Killed in a Car Accident?
Most car accidents only result in minor injuries, but very serious crashes can end in a fatality. If someone you love was killed in a car accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury attorney who has experience in wrongful death cases can talk with you about your case and how you may be able to file suit against the party who caused the fatal accident.
Dealing with a lawsuit when grief is still fresh can be difficult, and it’s important to have an attorney who understands how to navigate this time. The team at MontanaroLaw P.C. can work with you to let you know how much time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit and what your options are.
Determining Liability in a Car Accident
In a car accident case, determining liability is an important part of knowing whether you have a case and how much compensation you may be able to get. However, this is an area that is confusing for many people. You can find answers to common questions on how liability is determined in car accidents and similar topics below.
Who Decides Who Is Liable for a Car Accident?
Liability for a car accident is determined by insurance investigators. They will do a thorough investigation of the crash, including looking at police reports, reviewing photos of the scene, and talking with the parties involved. At the end of the investigation, they have a determination on who is liable for the accident. This could be one or both parties as well as an outside party. For example, if there was debris on the road that the highway department was responsible for ensuring was clear, they could be named partially liable.
What If I Was Partly at Fault?
If you were found partly at fault for the accident, you might still have a car accident case. Many people don’t pursue these cases because they think that being partly at fault means they don’t have any grounds to sue. But this isn’t accurate. New York allows for shared liability, which means that you can still seek compensation even if you were partly at fault. The courts just lower the number of damages it awards based on the percentage of fault.
A very simplified example could be the following situation. If you were in a car accident that was 100% the other party’s fault and you were seeking damages of $50,000, the courts might award the entire amount if you were to win the case. However, if you were found 50% at fault for the accident, the courts might lower this amount to $25,000 as an adjustment for the shared liability.
If you think that you were at fault for a car accident, it’s still a good idea to talk with a personal injury attorney familiar with New York’s laws. They can help you determine what percentage of liability you may share, how that could affect your compensation award, and whether it is in your interests to pursue the case.
Do I Have to Talk to the Other Person’s Car Insurance Company?
When someone else hits and injures you in a car accident, it’s normal for insurance companies for both parties to get involved. However, it’s important to remember that the other party’s insurance company doesn’t represent you and isn’t working for your interests. This means they may try to convince you that you were at fault for the accident — or shared liability — when you weren’t or persuade you to take a lowball settlement.
If you hire a car accident attorney to represent you, they can talk to the insurance company for you. This ensures you don’t have to worry about being intimidated or pressured into taking something that’s less than you deserve.
Car Accident Lawsuits
Car accident lawsuits have many components, and it’s common for victims not to know where to begin when they are considering filing a lawsuit. While talking to a car accident lawyer is the best way to get the information you need that will be directly relevant to your case, we’ve provided some general answers to frequently asked questions below.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?
How long you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident is determined by the statute of limitations. In the state of New York, the statute of limitations says that victims have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. This ensures that you have the time you need to accurately assess the last impact of your injuries and know how much the accident has caused financial losses.
And while it’s good to take that time to get a complete picture of what you want to seek with the lawsuit, it also means that you lose the ability to file for any compensation if you wait longer than three years. If you’re getting close to the statute of limitations and you’re not sure what your options are, talking with a car accident attorney is the first step. We can help you understand your options and file a lawsuit quickly to ensure you get it done in time to move forward.
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
If you’re not an attorney, it can be difficult to know if you have a car accident claim that is winnable in the state of New York. This is because who is at fault and what caused the accident can be challenging to figure out definitively, and you’re still at the mercy of the courts to determine whether the other party should be held responsible financially.
Talking with a car crash lawyer can help you figure out if you have a case. They will ask you for all of the information you have related to the accident, including police reports and insurance investigations. Then, they can review that information to see if you have grounds to file a lawsuit. Even if the attorney doesn’t think you are likely to win a trial, they could suggest other options, such as trying to come to an out-of-court settlement.
What Compensation Do the New York Courts Allow?
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to how much you could be awarded in a car accident claim. It depends on the individual details of the case and sometimes even the judge or jury you end up with. However, there are three main categories that get factored into compensation: medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Medical expenses and lost wages are much easier to prove because they come with records, receipts, and other documentation, but it’s hard to offer physical proof of emotional pain and suffering. Your attorney can discuss whether you are eligible to ask for monies for pain and suffering and how to best present your case.
Should I Settle Out of Court?
This is a common question because going through a car accident lawsuit can be a time-consuming and stressful process. In some cases, the right course of action is to agree to a settlement offer. However, this should be done very carefully and only with proper legal counsel.
Settlement offers can often be much lower than what you may be able to get through the courts, and it’s important never to agree to an offer without consulting with your attorney first. They may be able to get you more by negotiating the offer or advising you that they think going forward to a trial would be the better option.
What Should I Expect If We Go to Trial?
For car accident cases that go to trial, it’s helpful to have a thorough understanding of what the process looks like and what will be required of you. Your attorney will ask you for all of the documentation you have surrounding the case. This could be copies of police reports, the results of insurance investigations, receipts for medical bills, medical records, and your own personal statement on what happened. All of this helps the attorney prepare for the case and decide which litigation strategy is likely to be the most effective.
As for the trial itself, many people are surprised at how long trials can take and how boring they are compared to what we see so often on television shows and movies. Your attorney will present your case, including entering evidence into the record and calling any witnesses. Then, it’s the defendant’s turn. Their legal representation will cross-examine your witnesses and present any evidence that they have. Once closing arguments are wrapped up, the jury will decide who wins and what the judgment amount should be. In some cases, you can elect to have a bench trial, which means that the judge makes the decision instead of a jury.
Working With a Car Accident Lawyer
Working with a New York car accident lawyer should be a positive experience, but it helps to know what to expect. Below, we cover how a lawyer can help you with your car accident case and why we think you should hire our firm.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A car accident lawyer can help you in many ways when it comes to car accident cases. First, they can let you know if you even have a case that’s worth pursuing and let you know what your alternative options may be. Second, they can represent you through all parts of the lawsuit, so you don’t have that added stress while you’re trying to recover and heal from your injuries. Third, your attorney is a knowledgeable resource for any questions and concerns you may have during the process of filing and pursuing a lawsuit.
Can I Car Accident Attorney Negotiate a Settlement Offer?
Yes, an experienced car accident attorney can be your voice during the negotiations with the other party or their insurance company. A lawyer has the knowledge needed to evaluate a proposed settlement offer and let you know whether it’s reasonable and the pros and cons of taking it versus going to court. Keep in mind that the final decision on whether to accept a settlement offer is always yours.
Why Should I Work With MontanaroLaw P.C.?
We know that there are a lot of Queens car accident law firms out there and that it can be hard to decide which firm to hire to represent you. Here are a few main reasons we stand out from the rest:
- We have a track record of successfully representing victims of car accident cases.
- We have experience litigating all kinds of cases, including those that involve jury trials and settlements out of court.
- We are local to the Long Island area and are familiar with the Nassau county legal system.
- We offer transparent and effective counsel focused on providing our clients with practical solutions to their legal problems.
- We offer free consultations.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another party, you may have options. The team at MontanaroLaw P.C. serves clients in Suffolk County and Nassau County, including Long Island, Massapequa, and the greater New York City area. Call our office at (516) 809-7735 to schedule a free consultation and get more information about what kinds of compensation you may be entitled to.