Motor Vehicle Accidents
Did you know that almost 30,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents all over the United States every year and that New York is among the ten states with the highest medical and work loss costs ($1.33 billion) associated with motor vehicle crash deaths? These harrowing statistics, provided by the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, paint an accurate picture of the severity of the situation on the US roads and the toll that vehicle-related deaths have on victims’ families and friends.
Also, did you know that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury-related death in the state of New York particularly those involving children? And yet despite all the technological and technical advances, automobile related injuries and deaths are as frequent as ever. Automobile related lawsuits are without a doubt the most common type of civil lawsuits today.
If you or a member of your family have been severely injured or have died in a motor vehicle accident to no fault of your own, you could be eligible for compensation. According to the Car Accident Law, the victims (and this applies to every state including New York) have to prove the basic four elements in order to be eligible for compensation – duty, breach, causation, and harm.
Duty refers to drivers being legally obligated to follow the traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a prudent manner (obeying the speed limits, using headlights, observing traffic signals and similar). Breach of duty involves proving the existence of actions contrary to those stated under duty. Causation in a motor vehicle accident implies that the plaintiff must prove a causal connection between the defendant’s behavior (his or her negligence in operating a motor vehicle) and the injury or death suffered by the plaintiff which constitutes the fourth element – harm.
But before you contact a motor vehicle attorney, there are several things that, according to the New York State insurance law and the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, you need to do:
- If a person is injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, the police should be notified immediately.
- All the drivers involved must file an accident report with the DMV.
- It is a criminal offense to leave the accident scene provided that the accident has resulted in a personal injury or death.
- If you live in the state of New York, you are required to possess a certain amount of liability insurance for your motor vehicle (which ranges from $25,000 per person as personal injury protection to $100,000 per accident as wrongful death protection).
As always, be mindful of the statute of limitations (the law that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be brought or, in layman terms, the deadline by which a lawsuit should be filed). In New York, a plaintiff has three years from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit for personal injury. The same statute of limitations applies to lawsuits to recover for damage to personal property. When it comes to wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death to bring a claim.
In order to obtain insurance compensation through the No-Fault system, specific information and forms must be provided/filed with the proper No-Fault insurance company within thirty days from the date of the accident.
When it comes to the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents, they are many and varied. The typical ones include:
- Alcohol or drug involvement
- Aggressive or reckless driving/road rage
- Driving over the speed limit
- Use of hand-held cell phones
- Falling asleep
- Prescription medication
- Failure to turn properly or keep to the right
- Driver inattention / distraction
- Outside car distraction
- Passenger distraction
- Pedestrians / cyclists
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Failure to adequately service a motor vehicle
- Product liability or motor vehicle defect
- Negligent design of the road
- Badly maintained roads
SUING FOR MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS IN NEW YORK / LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN NEW YORK
Unfortunately, the motor vehicle lawsuits are everything but open-and-shut and determining legal responsibility in a motor vehicle accident can be very complex. It usually requires a very meticulous reconstruction of the accident and the ability to explain detailed technical findings to a jury. A seasoned car accident lawyer has to be able to do exactly that, as well as handle any challenges that such a lawsuit might bring.
We, at Gurfein Douglas, pride ourselves in being experienced, fastidious and not stopping until our clients get the justice and the compensation they deserve. Apart from law degrees, our firm’s principals Richard Gurfein and Preston Douglas also have degrees in engineering and biochemistry which gives them an edge over other motor vehicle accident attorneys in New York.
At Gurfein Douglas you can rely on the scientific training of our two partners to uncover the often hidden technical details of your car accident lawsuit that the untrained eye might miss. Our attorneys know what insurance companies look for in evaluating claims, how to make the most beneficial settlement offers and how to best prepare your case.
OUR SUCCESSFUL CASES
- $1,000,000 settlement for a 35-year-old construction worker injured as the passenger in motor-vehicle.
- $900,000 settlement for a 54-year-old doorman who was struck by a police car in a heavy rainstorm.