Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you were injured – as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist – due to the operation of a motor vehicle, we can help.
Motor vehicle accidents are, sadly, among the most common causes of injury and death in New York. Despite advances in automotive and transportation technology, motor vehicle accidents still occur relatively frequently.
Negligence in the automobile context can arise in a number of ways, such as:
- Failure to properly observe conditions on the road;
- Distracted driving, such as through the use of cell phones;
- Failure to service and maintain the vehicle;
- Road defects, such as potholes;
- Defective road design; and/or
- Defective motor vehicle components, such as exploding gas tanks and malfunctioning airbags.
New York’s “No-Fault Law”
New York is one of a handful of states that have enacted a No-Fault Law relating to automobile accidents. The No-Fault Law provides for compensation without regard to fault or negligence, but precludes litigation to recover for “non-economic loss” (i.e., pain and suffering) unless an injured person has suffered a “serious injury” as defined in the Insurance Law.
Generally, No-Fault Insurance covers the “basic economic loss” of the injured person(s), including up to $50,000 per person for: (1) necessary medical expenses, (2) a portion of lost earnings, and (3) other necessary expenses.
As noted, in New York, car accident victims may only proceed in court if their injuries qualify as a “serious injury”. Section 5102(d) of the Insurance Law defines “serious injury” as a personal injury resulting in:
- significant disfigurement;
- a fracture;
- loss of a fetus;
- permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system;
- permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
- significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
- a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
Courts continue to wrestle with the issue of whether a claimed injury is a “serious injury” within the meaning of the law. Insurance companies frequently argue that the claimed injuries do not qualify.
We will do our best to assess your injuries and oppose such challenges, should they arise.
Seeking Recovery For Your Car Accident Injury
In order to successfully prosecute a lawsuit arising from your car accident, you must prove that
- Defendant was negligent,
- You suffered damages or harm,
- The injury you suffered qualifies as a “serious injury” under the law, and
- Defendant’s negligence caused the damages or harm.
If you have been in a car accident, please feel free to contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Car Accident Resources
- New York No-Fault Law
- NYS Division of State Police – Collisions
- NYS DMV – Accidents
- Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
- Pospis Law Blog – Car Accidents
- Pospis Law Blog – Serious Injury