If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in New York, you may be experiencing significant pain and coping with changes to your daily life. Your family also may be dealing with unexpected burdens and stress. New York is a no-fault insurance state. This means that you can make a claim against your own no-fault insurance if you are injured and obtain $50,000 in no-fault coverage, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, you can also sue an at-fault driver for damages if your costs after a car accident exceed $50,000, if you suffered serious injuries, or if you lost a loved one in a crash. At Newman, Anzalone & Newman, our New York City car and motorcycle accident lawyers have decades of experience. We are ready to fight for your rights with the vigor and tenacity that you deserve.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim Following a Car Accident
Serious injuries that may lead to a car accident lawsuit in addition to a no-fault insurance claim include amputation, significant disfigurement, fractures, permanent disability, and medically determined injuries that disrupt the accident victim's usual, customary daily activities for 90 days or more during the 180-day period after the accident. A personal representative of a decedent's estate can also recover compensation for a wrongful death arising out of a fatal car accident.
To recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit, you will usually need to establish negligence. Negligence in the car accident context occurs when someone fails to use the level of care that a reasonably prudent driver would have used under the same circumstances. For example, a prudent driver probably would not text while driving and would drive more slowly in poor weather. If you want to recover damages from an at-fault driver, you will need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, the defendant breached the duty, there was causation, and actual damages resulted.
Many car accidents are caused by driving mistakes. For example, a driver may err by failing to yield the right of way, tailgating, speeding, driving drunk, or running a stop sign or red light. In cases involving a clear mistake, it may be straightforward to show the other driver's negligence. In certain cases, a car accident attorney in New York City may even be able to establish negligence per se, which is negligence as a matter of law. This is based on a traffic violation or crime like DUI, which is presumed to be negligent because a reasonable person would obey the law.
In some more complicated situations, both drivers' negligence combines to cause an accident. The defendant in a car crash case may allege that you were negligent and contributed to your own injuries. The jury will assign percentages of fault to all of the parties found to be at fault for the accident. For example, if you were distracted by drinking coffee, but the other driver ran a red light, the jury might assign you 25% of the fault and the other driver 75% of the fault. If the damages were $200,000, you could recover $150,000 from the other driver.
A car accident may not be the fault of a negligent driver at all. In some cases, there is a defec