Auto Accidents

While many might wish otherwise, the truth is that anyone can suddenly become the victim of an auto accident. Accidents can not only inflict personal injuries to the drivers and passengers in the vehicles involved, but can also harm pedestrians in the surrounding area.

Car Wreck

On October 1st, 2015, a woman was walking near Dean St and Nevins St in Brooklyn, NY. She was shocked when she was struck by flying debris which came from a  Ford Expedition that was T-boned by a sheriff’s car. Thankfully the accident wasn’t fatal, but everyone involved did suffer injuries that needed to be treated.

The cause of the crash wasn’t clear, although the sheriff’s car did have its lights and siren on.

Rights Of Brooklyn Auto Accident Victims

New York is considered a “no-fault” state. This means that following an accident, each driver submits their claim to their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. The insurance company then compensates the driver for their property damage and medical expenses for any injuries sustained during the accident.

However, in New York, there are some instances where the victim may also file a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident. Victims are allowed to pursue legal action if:

  • they have been disfigured
  • they have been diagnosed with permanent damage that resulted in limited use of a body organ or limb
  • they have been treated for a bone fracture / break
  • they have been treated for injuries which resulted in the victims inability to return to work for 90 days, or
  • someone in the car died as a result of the accident

In many cases, the victim can seek compensation for their injuries from the driver who caused the accident. In some cases, if the car that caused the accident was found to have a defect while resulted in the accident, the victim may be able to seek damages from the manufacturing company that designed and built the car.

Determining Who Is At Fault

There are several common causes of auto accidents:

Driver Distractions

Today, so many drivers attempt to multitask while they are behind the wheel of the car. It is very tempting to answer a phone call, text a friend, eat, or even read during a long commute. Each of these actions takes the driver’s eyes off of the road. During even just a few seconds of inattention, drivers can fail to react appropriately to cars in front of them or sudden hazards in the road.

Driver Negligence

Every day, drivers fail to follow the rules of the road. Speeding, failing to yield to oncoming traffic, tailgating, and running red lights are all decisions that can lead to an accident. A report  published by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that in 2012, 10,219 auto accident fatalities occurred because of speeding.

Vehicle Condition

Many states have implemented yearly vehicle inspections so that accidents caused by poor vehicle maintenance are prevented. In New York, all vehicles registered in the state must have a safety inspection performed every 12 months, or any time the ownership of the vehicle is transferred.

This safety inspection covers:

  • seat belts
  • brakes
  • steering, front end, suspension, chassis, frame, and wheel fasteners
  • tires
  • lights, and
  • windshields
  • windshield wipers and blades
  • the horn
  • side mirrors
  • fuel lines

If any of these car parts are found to be deficient, the owner of the car will not be allowed to renew their registration. If the vehicle is driven without the safety inspection being up-to-date, the driver and owner of the vehicle may be subject to fines and parking tickets.

Manufacturing Defect

In some accidents, the driver of the car that caused the accident may not be liable. This occurs when the vehicle has a defect which prevents the driver from driving safely. This was the case in numerous accidents involving cars made by the manufacturer Toyota in 2009 and 2010.

The first reported accident involved a family of four. A 911 operator received a call from one of the car occupants saying that the car they were driving in had no brakes and that the gas pedal was stuck forcing the car to accelerate. The call ended when the man on the phone said “Hold on and pray.

The car struck another vehicle and spun out of control, landing in a ravine. All four passengers in the Toyota were killed.

Ultimately, it was discovered that several car models had a defect which caused the gas pedal to stick while the vehicle was being driven. Toyota recalled millions of cars and reached an out of court settlement with the family of those killed in the first accident.

New York Vehicle Laws

In addition to the requirement that all vehicles be insured, New York has implemented other regulations.

Cars

In order to drive a car in the state of New York, the driver must be at least 16-year-old and obtain either a valid learner’s permit or a driver’s license.

Trucks

A truck is considered any vehicle was has three or more axles, or two axles and six tires. If the truck weights more than 26,001 pounds the driver is required to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). This also applies if the truck carries 16 or more passengers.

Due to their size, the Department of Transportation has limited the areas of New York City that a truck can drive in. To learn more about the areas a truck is not allowed to travel in, check out this map.

Buses

Before any driver can operate a bus, the need to meet the strict requirements that New York has in place for them. This includes:

  • meeting the age requirements – bus drivers must be at least 18-years-old, except for school bus drivers. School bus drivers must be at least 21-years-old
  • passing a written test and driving test, and successfully obtaining the correct license
  • passing a physical exam which follows the guidelines established by the commissioner, and
  • proving that they are not in any way disqualified to drive a motor vehicle by releasing their driving records

Anyone who operates a bus and is involved in three or more accidents is required to retake their licensing exam, which includes a road test. Once they pass the reexamination, they are placed on an eighteen-month probationary period.
The motor carrier that the driver works for is also required to perform annual reviews of each driver’s records. In addition to this, school bus drivers need to complete a two-hour minimum refresher course twice a year.

Each of these regulations have been put in place by the government so that safety officials can help to identify repeat offenders and potentially take away the licensing of unsafe drivers. However, accidents still happen on a daily basis and the victims of these accidents do have the right to pursue legal action.

Contact An Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been the victims of an automobile accident, contact the attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus, and Moverman P.C. today. Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys can guide you through the legal process after an accident and can help you decide how best to proceed.

We work on a contingency fee basis which means means you won’t pay anything until we win your case. Call now for a free consultation at (888) 930-1447.