Almost every New Yorker has seen the impact of a traffic collision in our city and understands how devastating these events could be. But it can be extremely hard to move on and recover from a car accident once you have been involved in it. You have to adjust to your new injuries, try to cover rent if you have to take time off from work, and try to get your medical bills covered. This can be especially distressing when an insurance company offers you a low-ball settlement offer.
But there is help out there. Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, has helped many people and their families recover after a traffic collision, and our New York City car accident attorneys can advocate for proper compensation from the at-fault insurance company. While no amount of money can undo the trauma of a car crash, a car accident claim can significantly ease your financial burdens and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. We can be reached at (212) 986-7353.
Our tenacious attorneys can help you pursue both economic and non-economic damages from an at-fault insurance company. Economic damages will take into account all of the financial losses you have suffered as a result of your injury, from your medical bills to the wages you lost while out of work. In contrast, non-economic damages can involve all of your personal damages, from emotional trauma to physical pain.
With the right attorney, you can recover financial compensation for the following damages after a car accident:
- Current medical bills (including ambulance and emergency room fees)
- Future medical bills
- Property damage and loss
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Wrongful death damages if you lost a loved one
Damages will ultimately come down to the type of injury you have suffered and the available liability policies. Brain injuries, for example, can cause a range of both physical and psychological injuries, such as mood swings and PTSD. However, even a spinal cord injury, while it may not affect your brain, can lead to emotional issues as you contend with your disability. To ensure you receive every cent owed to you after a collision, you will need an attorney who can thoroughly review your case and collect all available evidence to support your claim.
The New York City personal injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP have handled many car accident claims in our decades of practicing law. To build a case that secures you the maximum financial settlement, we will have to prove that you were the victim in your accident and the other party was at fault. Here are the most common pieces of evidence we will use to successfully secure your settlement:
- Witness testimony
- Photos of the scene
- Police reports
- Insurance company reports
- Medical bills
- Video evidence
- Accident reconstruction
While some pieces of evidence will come from the police report and immediate events following the accident, other aspects may require an expert witness. We have worked with many car accident experts who are equally as passionate about advocating for injured parties and can acquire their aid in your case. But we will want to start reviewing all evidence for your claim as you do have a deadline for when you can file.
While you would hope that the at-fault insurance company would be sympathetic to your claim, that is often far from the truth. Insurance adjusters are not known for being charitable and, while they may seem friendly, will often try to devalue your injuries and minimize the amount of money they have to pay you. However, if you contact an attorney, you may have a better shot at recovering proper compensation.
We’ve gone up against many insurance companies in the decades we've been defending the rights of New York car accident victims. We know that insurance companies are not your friend and are well versed in fighting their underhanded tactics. When you work with Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we can handle all of your legal burdens, including:
- Getting you in contact with proper medical doctors to get you the right treatment
- Evaluate the costs of your injuries and calculate how much compensation you can receive
- Review all insurance policies to determine what compensation is available
- Investigate your case to determine who is liable for your accident
- Collect evidence against the at-fault party
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters to ensure you receive a sizable settlement offer
- Advocate for you in a jury trial, if necessary
Any motor vehicle crash can cause serious injuries to drivers and passengers. Pedestrians, bikers, and motorcyclists are also at risk of catastrophic trauma. Within New York City, the most serious and common types of accidents are:
- Head-On Collisions: The force of two moving vehicles colliding head-on often produces a terrific impact, since both vehicles contribute to it. The sheer force of the collision can cause a wide range of injuries - head trauma, neck injuries, spinal cord injury, internal injuries, fractures, and torn ligaments in the lower extremities.
- Side-Impact (T-Bone) Collisions: Due to the close proximity of a driver or passenger to the point of impact, broadside collisions often lead to catastrophic injuries. These can include serious damage to internal organs, shoulder injuries, spinal cord damage, and hip fractures.
- Rollover Accidents: In rollovers, vehicle roofs may be crushed or collapse on the driver and passengers, leading to head trauma and traumatic brain injury. There may also be damage to the spine, which can lead to permanent paralysis, either quadriplegia or paraplegia. When seat belts fail to tighten in a rollover, the vehicle occupants may be severely shaken and jolted as the vehicle rolls, almost always leading to whiplash.
- Rear-end Collisions: Most people will think of a simple fender-bender when they imagine a rear-end crash, but these accidents can occur at high speeds and involve multiple catastrophic injuries. Drivers and occupants can be thrown against the steering column or collide with vehicles in front of them, leading to multiple points of impact. While in most cases the oncoming driver is at fault, drivers in front of them could also be to blame if they came to a sudden stop or back-up on a busy street.
Vehicle accident injuries can be broken down into two categories: impact injuries and penetration injuries.
- Impact Injuries are usually caused by a body part striking a surface inside a vehicle, such as a steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, or headrest. Impact injuries often result in broken and crushed bones, injured internal organs, and internal bleeding. Whiplash and head trauma are also impact injuries that can result in spinal cord damage, brain damage, and concussion. While seat belts and airbags can prevent many impact injuries, they can't prevent them all. Airbags work well in head-on and rear-end collisions, but in side-impact collisions, like T-bones, they aren't as effective.
- Penetration Injuries are cuts, lacerations, and punctures suffered by a victim in a car crash. These sorts of penetration injuries can be caused by broken glass or sheared metal from a car's frame. They can also be caused by loose items in the vehicle that turn into airborne projectiles during a crash. Harmless things like pens, cell phones, coffee mugs, glass bottles, and aluminum cans can cause significant puncture injuries in the chaos and destruction of a crash.
Speeding is a common contributing factor in serious injury and fatal crashes in New York City. Drivers who cause crashes while driving at an unsafe speed can be held accountable for the injuries, damages, and losses they cause. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 30% of all fatal crashes in the U.S. involve a driver who was operating a vehicle at an unsafe speed.
In 2012 in New York, speeding drivers played a role in 81 deaths, compared to 49 lives lost in 2011. This increase in fatalities forced the City to take action, particularly around schools. In 2013, the New York City Department of Transportation installed speed enforcement cameras citywide to curb speeding drivers.
A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit for an injury after the injury occurs. Under New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules Section 214, anyone injured in a car accident (driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, pedestrian) must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date of the crash. However, if the victim is under 18 years of age, the statute of limitations doesn't start until the victim turns 18 and ends three years later.
In the tragic event that you've lost a loved one in a New York City car accident, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is only two years from the date of the person's death. Remember, the wrongful death deadline isn't related to the date of the accident, but the date the victim passed away from injuries related to the crash.
However, there are instances where your injuries were the fault of a government worker or a government agency that caused dangerous road conditions. If you're suing the state of New York, you only have two years to file a claim. If you are suing a municipality or government agency, the statute of limitations could be one year or less. This is why it is important to speak to an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Q: Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for my accident?
A: Yes. New York is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the court will decide what degree of fault each party has for the accident and apply that percentage to the damages awarded.
Q: Should I speak with the other driver's insurance company?
A: Not until you've consulted your own attorney. Even then, it’s better to let your own attorney communicate with the other party's insurer. Insurance adjusters may take a statement you've made, twist it around, and use it against you.
Q: Should I accept the insurance company's offer?
A: Not until you've consulted your lawyer. Insurance companies will always try to lowball you and offer you a settlement that is far less than you deserve. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you determine how much you should ask for.
Q: What if I can't afford an attorney?
A: That's never the case. Any reputable personal injury attorney will not charge you any fees upfront. They will collect their payment from the settlement they win for you. Legal costs are usually about one-third of the overall settlement.
Pursuant to the New York Jury Verdict Reporter, WRSH partner Frank J. Lombardo obtained the highest recorded verdict in the State of New York for a single level cervical discectomy.
Andrea V. Borden was able to obtain a jury verdict in the amount of $6.2 million on behalf of our client, a 60-year-old Brooklyn woman involved in a motor vehicle accident.
WRSH partner Bryce Moses obtained a verdict in the amount of $5,500,000 for our client who was exiting the Staten Island Expressway when her motor vehicle was struck by a Con Edison van.
Our client, a man in his 30s, was standing next to the rear of a truck while working as an assistant mover, when the defendant driver struck a middle car in the rear and propelled it into our client.
Our attorneys have been representing injured people for more than 50 years. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, including multi-million-dollar recoveries in auto accident cases. We give your case the attention it deserves and will aggressively pursue the compensation you need. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your auto accident injury claim. Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can be reached at (212) 986-7353.
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- The Importance of Car Accident Reports
- New NYC For-Hire Vehicle Data Hub May Help Reduce Accidents
- New York State Department of Transportation
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - NHTSA
- Transportation Safety - CDC