A car accident can happen to anyone, even the most careful, responsible driver. Although you can’t plan when an accident will happen, knowing what to do after you are involved in an accident can mean the difference between a smooth recovery and a life changed for the worst. We at Carner & DeVita want you to be aware of your rights after an auto accident. The proper legal strategy can put you in the best position possible to make a full medical and financial recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a wreck, call us today at 631-543-7070 or contact us online to speak with one of our Long Island car accident lawyers. Your first consultation is always free, and there’s no obligation to hire us after the consultation.
Car Accidents in Long Island
Home of the oldest lighthouse in the state of New York, the Montauk Point Lighthouse, Long Island is 118 miles long and 23 miles wide at its most distant points. In 2013, the census assigned Long Island as the most populous island in the United States.
With 13 tunnels and nine bridges connected it to Manhattan and several other NYC neighborhoods, Long Island is easily the most accessible island in the world. Long Island is an old city full of people, cars, and trucks with more than a million commuters traveling to and from every day. With that many people on the road, it’s no wonder that car accidents happen everyday. The car accident lawyers at Carner & DeVita are here to help.
Call a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’re wondering whether you have a car accident case or not, give our office call. We will review your accident with you at one of our free, no obligation consultations and let you know whether we think you have a lawsuit on your hands or not.
You pay nothing unless we win. And we mean that. You came to us because you were injured by a negligent driver. We will make sure they pay for your damages, tangible and intangible, and that they cover your court fees as well. You have enough to worry about, so we cover court fees before your verdict.
Sometimes a trial is the only way to obtain the compensation that you deserve. If your case does go to trial, we will vigorously act on your behalf. You can count on our considerable expertise. Our team of Long Island car accident lawyers is standing by to help you. Contact us online or give us a call at 631-543-7070 for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights.
What To Do After A Car Crash
A car accident can be a scary and jarring experience. The shot of adrenaline you get from your fight-or-flight response is bound to make you feel perfectly fine. It is important to slow down, breathe deep, and take it one step at a time.
7 Steps to Follow After a Long Island Car Crash
As soon as you get in an accident, call and report the accident to police so they can respond with emergency services. The quicker the police arrive on scene, the more accurate they can piece together what happened. All accidents that total more than $1000 in damages are required to be reported to the police.
Check for Injuries
After calling the police, check yourself and the other driver for any serious injuries. Don’t move someone who seems to have severe injuries, but direct emergency medical services as soon as they arrive on scene.
Make Sure You’re Safe
In minor car accidents, it may be smart to take pictures of the scene and then move to the shoulder or a nearby parking lot to wait for police. If the accident is severe though, stay put so the officers can get a clear picture of what happened.
Taken pictures of the damage to your car, your injuries, the other person’s plates and their damage as well. If there were any witnesses, be sure to collect their names and numbers if they are willing to give them and don’t forget to take pictures of anything that may have caused the accident (traffic lights being out, signage knocked over or missing, etc).
You and the other driver should exchange insurance information because your insurance companies will need to communicate with one another following the accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine after a car accident, it is smart to go to the doctor within 12 hours of your crash. Because of the shock of a car accident, your body may feel fine initially, but the next day may leave you really feeling your injuries. Make sure your head, back, neck, and spine are all checked for damage as well as telling your doctor any other areas of pain or other symptoms you may be having. Nothing should be left out.
Call a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident, you should contact a Long Island car accident lawyer as soon as you can so that they can be there from the start to collect evidence, request the proper documents, and be there in conversations with the other driver’s car accident adjuster. We won’t let them deny or diminish your claim.
How We Can Help
Many people feel lost and aren’t sure who to turn to after an auto accident. Working with a personal injury lawyer can give you that support you seek. We will be your personal legal advisor who’s always on your side and wants to look out for your legal rights. Insurance companies have their own set of interests at heart.
A liability insurer you file a third-party claim with will try to pay out as small of a settlement as possible. They may also make misleading statements as to your rights and the best course of action for you to take. While not every car accident will require the services of a personal injury attorney, injured parties can greatly benefit from having an advisor and legal representative in many situations.
Consider Contacting a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer If:
- You have been injured personally
- Your property has been significantly damaged
- The other driver was uninsured at the time of the accident
- Someone makes a claim against you after the accident
- The party or insurers you’re attempting to make a claim against deny responsibility
- You have any questions about your legal rights or want to know the optimal legal strategy to maximize your potential compensation
Maximum Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
Every car accident case is different, so the amount of compensation available after a wreck is also different. However, compensation, or damages, is broken down into two general categories: economic and noneconomic.
- Economic damages pertain to real money you lost as a result of the wreck, such as lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and more.
- Noneconomic damages pertain to the intangible losses you suffered. This may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and more.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to prove, but an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer can help you determine how much compensation you’re owed. It’s important to note that not all car accident cases qualify for greater compensation, due to New York’s no-fault insurance laws.
The Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict
A settlement can normally be reached between an insurance company and a driver if the accident wasn’t severe and injuries were minimal. If all insurance companies would take responsibility for their policies like they should, going to court wouldn’t be necessary in most cases.
When an insurance company’s offer is far too low to cover both tangible and intangible damages and they refuse to fairly compensate the injured, then that leaves the only option of going to court. After the lawsuit has been brought and presented to the court and jury, then a verdict is reached. A verdict is the finding or decision of a jury on the matter that has been presented in trial, in this case, the car accident.
We prepare every case to go to trial because we’ve been doing this for more than two decades and know that going to trial is, in many cases, the best option when you’ve been severely injured by someone in a car accident. And, by preparing the case for trial from the beginning, we are steps ahead of the insurance company when it comes to trial. We will gather evidence, records, reports, and more to protect your rights and ensure your just compensation for injuries you’ve suffered.
When should I get a Long Island lawyer for my car accident?
Usually, it is best to contact an attorney after a car accident, just to be sure you understand your rights. Sometimes, retaining the attorney will not be needed. For instance, if the property damage is minimal and all involved parties have been cleared by a doctor for having no injuries, you probably do not need to hire an attorney. But in most cases, it will never hurt to talk to a lawyer, especially since most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations.
You will want to call a lawyer as soon as possible after the wreck, just so you are fully aware of your rights and whether to consider legal action. You should absolutely contact a Long Island car accident lawyer once you get a settlement offer from the insurance company. During a free consultation, the attorney can evaluate your case, including the offer, and let you know if they can get you greater compensation. However, once you accept the offer, you give up your right to seek further compensation.
What types of damages can I recover from my car accident?
Every car accident has two types of main damage types: economic and non-economic damages. Damages are collected when someone has damaged you or your things physically, mentally, or emotionally. Damages are awarded to the victims of car accidents and allow the injured time to rehabilitate, heal, and get back to life without having to worry about the bills stacking up.
If you have received a bill, receipt, or lost money due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re legally allowed to pursue financial compensation for those economic damages. Essentially, anything you have to pay for after and because of an accident can be considered an economic damage.
- Medical Damages
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation Services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech or communication therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Emergency fees
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room costs
- Life saving procedures
- Pharmacy and prescription costs
- Therapy and counseling services
- Follow-up treatments
- Potential or lingering injury costs
- Property damage
- Car replacement
- Car mechanic fees
- Rental car fees
- Personal property lost in the accident
- Income Loss
- Lost wages from missing work due to the accident
- Loss earning capacity
- Loss of potential income
Mental and physical issues that arise and may linger after a car accident are called non-economic damages. These intangible damages are not invisible. The pain is still felt and the mental trauma still affects life in very real ways after a car accident.
- Mental hardships and trauma – This can include mental suffering, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and grief.
- Physical pain and reparations – This includes pain felt, disfigurement, scarring, physical impairment, and more.
- Unexpected losses – These damages are include with the loss of a loved one or a permanent change in lifestyle due to the accident. Loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life.
- Social disparities or social standing – Dealing with apprehension, embarrassment, humiliation, and indignity due to your accident.
Examples of how non-economic damages can affect your life include:
- Inability to coach on your child’s soccer team due to an amputation.
- Intense feelings of apprehension and anxiety whenever you sit behind the wheel of a car following your accident.
- Loss of companionship due to your spouse’s severe and traumatic brain injury from the car accident.
In the state of New York, simple negligence is not enough to garner an award for punitive damages. Proof of the defendant operating their vehicle with complete disregard for their health and safety. Since there are no definite guidelines for punitive damages, each case must be examined individually and, preferably, be supported by punitive damages being awarded in the past for similar cases. It is also important to note that there is no cap on punitive damages or compensatory damages in New York.
How much can I expect to recover for my car accident?
Depending on the severity of the car crash and the injuries incurred, you may earn a few thousand to more than a million. Important questions that your lawyer will find the answers to are.
- How serious was the car accident?
- What injuries were incurred?
- Will any injuries require long term care?
- Was there a wrongful death in this accident?
- How will the client’s life be impacted?
- What caused the accident?
- Was the other driver grossly negligent?
The answers to these questions will help shape your lawsuit and guide your lawyer to an agreeable amount that covers all of your tangible and intangible losses.
Elements of a Car Accident Case in Long Island
If your accident was potentially caused by negligence, your lawyer will need to prove four distinct but related elements. These include:
- An established duty of care: Every driver has a duty of care to drive carefully, follow all traffic laws, and take all reasonable steps to avoid causing wrecks.
- A breach of duty of care: If a driver doesn’t follow their duty of care, and they cause injuries, they may be held negligent. However, if the wreck is caused by an unforeseeable event that no reasonable person could have avoided, they may not be held responsible.
- Injuries caused by the wreck: Any injuries you sustained must be caused directly by the other driver’s actions. For example, if you have a broken arm, and the condition is not made worse by the car wreck, you can’t sue for that injury.
- Real compensable damages: Finally, you must have real damages that can be compensated. This may include lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
Steps You Can Take to Support Your Car Accident Case
There are quite a few ways you can derail your car accident case. Obviously, you don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize your right to compensation. Here are a few steps you can take to support your car accident case:
- Take your doctor’s orders seriously: If your doctor orders you to stay off your feet, stay off your feet. Take your medicines. Follow through with your treatment plans. If you don’t obey your doctor’s orders, you could not only make your injuries worse, but you could also give the defendant ammunition to say you were never really injured in the first place.
- Let your lawyer know any time the insurance company contacts you: Your insurance company is looking for any reason to not give you the compensation you deserve. If you get any forms to fill out, a settlement offer or other correspondence from the insurer, run it by your lawyer. If they call asking questions, let them know they can talk to your attorney.
- Avoid talking about your case: Many of us have the bad habit of posting everything about our lives on social media. If you post about your case on social media or talk to people about it, you could put your compensation at risk. For example, if you post a picture of you having a beer with the guys, and you’re supposed to be taking medicine that shouldn’t interact with alcohol, the defense could claim you weren’t injured and never needed medical attention in the first place.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injury – An easily overlooked injury from a car accident is a traumatic brain injury. In some cases, it can take days or even weeks for traumatic brain injuries to have severe enough symptoms to be diagnosed. Concussions are a common type of head injury in a car accident.
Some symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Difficulty sleeping or loss on consciousness
Neck/Back Injuries – Injuries that can quickly change your quality of life are neck and back injuries. It can sometimes feel like you have a “kink” in your neck or shoulders, a pulled muscle, or stiffness. These annoying early symptoms can become severe if not treated carefully.
Injuries may include:
- Sprain or strain
- Fracture of spine
- Pinched nerve
- Torn or ruptured disc
Broken Bone/ Fractures –
Broken bone and fractures are some of the most common injuries that come from serious car accidents. Depending on the type of fracture, healing time may be a few weeks to several months.
And if a bone grows back incorrectly, painful and costly procedures must be performed to break the bone again to set it correctly.
Some common types of fractures are:
- Stable, closed – Appear as cracks in the bone with no separation.
- Oblique – The bone is broken and pulled apart.
- Comminuted – The bone is shattered in several pieces instead of a clean break.
Whiplash – If your head was whipped forward and back in your car accident, you may be suffering from tenderness and stiffness in your neck and shoulders. This type of injury is referred to commonly as whiplash.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Tenderness in the head, shoulders and neck
- Numbness or tingling in arms
Soft Tissue Damage – If you’re experiencing pain, tenderness, and limited mobility, you may have soft tissue damage from your accident. Ligaments and tendons are important as they keep our limbs moving.
Types of soft tissue damage can include:
- Over extended ligaments or tendons
- Torn ligaments or tendons
Internal Damage – Any damage that happens internally is called internal damage. Most of the time, this results in internal bleeding, which can be hard to catch early. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to go to a doctor soon after your accident as internal injuries can be life threatening. Chest injuries and seat belt injuries are an easy way to get internal damage in car accidents.
Symptoms of internal damage can be:
- Rapid pulse
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clammy skin
- Low blood pressure
- Bluish discoloration
Lacerations – Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations are common in severe accidents due to windows busting out and sharp metal compressing in on the accident victims. Lacerations are bad by themselves, but more dangerously can lead to amputation if infected.
Other considerations resulting from lacerations include:
- Limited range of motion
Common Types of Car Accidents
The type of car accident you experience can affect the severity of the accident. A rear-end collision may not be as serious as a head-on collision, but it doesn’t mean that a lawsuit shouldn’t be filed if the insurance company refuses to take all of your damages into account or the negligent driver was reckless with not only their health and safety, but the health and safety of those around them.
5 Common Types of Car Accidents
- Rear end collisions – One of the most common car accident types is a rear end collision. This happens when a negligent driver fails to stop in time and hits the back of the car in front of them. In most cases, the car who rear ended is at fault, but if the car ahead behaved inappropriately (reversing suddenly, slamming on the brakes, etc) make sure the police officer knows.
- T-bone collisions – These types of accidents are most frequent at intersections. Traffic lights, stop signs, or driveways can all lead to a t-bone accident. When one car rams into the side of another, creating a “T” shape, it is called a t-bone collision (or side impact). In these situations, either driver involved can be at fault, so it’s important to get an eye witness account or footage from the accident. Police officers will likely be hearing the account in two very different ways, so try to get anyone who saw the accident to stop for a statement.
- Sideswipe collisions – If two cars are going in the same direction and one of the swerve into the next lane, causing damage alongside the other, this is a sideswipe collision. These types of accidents are most commonly caused by distracted driving, driver fatigue, or roadway issues (like trying to avoid potholes or animals).
- Head-on collisions – When a driver swerves into an oncoming vehicle, this results in a head-on collision as the front of both cars impact the other. This is one of the deadliest types of collisions with head-on collisions only accounting for 2% of driving collisions but hold well over 10% of driving fatalities.
- Multiple car collisions – Multiple car collisions can happen as pileups, chain-reaction accidents, or just reckless driving damaging more than one car at a time. In any of these cases, litigation and fault can become a confusing web. Which is why it is important to choose an excellent Long Island car accident lawyer to protect your rights.
New York Car Crash Statistics
- Total Crashes
- Crashes with Injuries
- Crashes with Property Damage
- Total Crashes
- Crashes with Injuries
- Crashes with Property Damage
When Is a Lawsuit Necessary?
In New York State, an automobile accident victim retains the right to sue a negligent driver or vehicle owner for:
- Medical expenses and economic losses exceeding $50,000
- “Pain and suffering” if the accident causes disfigurement or other serious injuries
- Accidents that resulted in death
Negligent drivers include drivers who breached their duty of care to others on the road by making bad decisions that directly lead to harm.
Negligent driver actions include:
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous aspects of driving on the road today. In 2016, there were more than 3,100 fatal accidents caused by distracted driving. New York has passed a hands-free law in an effort to prevent people from using their cell phones while driving. However, there are many more distractions than just cell phones. Passengers, the radio, and even billboards can distract drivers.
Speed limits are posted to tell people what speed is safe when driving on a specific road. Unfortunately, they aren’t always followed. In 2018, 200 accidents involved speeding resulted in a fatality. Despite laws that can heavily punish speeding drivers, speeding remains a constant problem of the roads, and those who drive too fast can cause serious accidents.
Though distracted driving has become a serious problem, drunk driving is statistically much worse. In 2017, 30% of all fatal accidents in New York involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Of course, alcohol isn’t the only way a driver may be impaired. Illicit drugs may cause a driver’s senses to slow down and cause a collision.
Following too closely / Tailgating
We’ve all been stuck behind drivers who insist on driving below the speed limit or otherwise too slowly for our taste. This can cause tailgating, or following a driver too closely. Tailgating is highly dangerous. If the driver in front suddenly brakes, you will have little to no time to react.
Illegal driving maneuvers
There are a variety of illegal driving maneuvers that can cause serious accidents. For instance, making an illegal U-turn or blowing a stop sign can put a car directly in the line of oncoming cars. Different illegal driving maneuvers carry different penalties, but for many, the convenience of making the maneuver outweighs the penalty or risk involved.
Driving when you’re tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Your senses are dulled, and your reaction time is much slower. However, many don’t consider drowsy driving all that dangerous. After all, we’ve all driven home after a long night out. The truth is drowsy driving accounts for tens of thousands of car accidents a year.
Texting and driving
Texting and driving is a form of distracted driving, and is specifically forbidden by New York law. However, many New York drivers ignore these laws, especially young people. When you’re driving 55 miles an hour, you can cover the distance of a football field while your eyes are off the road when you’re reading a single text. In addition, texting also takes your mind off the task of driving.
Improper prescription or over-the-counter drug use
Just because a drug isn’t being used illegally, doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous for drivers. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs come with side effect warnings. Any drugs that warn against using heavy machinery, or say they can cause drowsiness, should never be taken before operating a vehicle.
How Common Are Car Accidents in Long Island?
On average from 2012 to 2014, there were more than 27,000 annual emergency room visits due to car accidents in Suffolk County and Nassau County. There were also about 2,500 annual hospitalizations, and about 200 annual deaths. Most commonly, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists are the ones ending up in the hospital for their injuries.
How The Carner & DeVita Long Island Personal Injury Team Can Help You
When you are injured, your needs and the full enforcement of your rights are our #1 priority. After you receive your free consultation and decide to utilize our services, one of our experienced Long Island car accident attorneys will meet with you to explain your rights and how to best protect your interests. We can come to you at home or in the hospital, if necessary. Your attorney team will investigate the facts of your case and determine the strength of any claim that you may have. By speaking with witnesses and performing meticulous legal research, they will uncover the full facts of your case and build a strong claim for a settlement amount that accurately reflects your current and future damages. Our firm will make sure that all legal papers are filed properly and on-time. There are many different deadlines that you must meet when filing a claim.
If you miss a deadline, you may be barred from filing a claim to collect money for your injuries. Your attorney will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and others to make sure that you are properly compensated for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost time from work and other expenses associated with the accident. Sometimes a trial is the only way to obtain the compensation that you deserve. If your case does go to trial, we will vigorously act on your behalf. You can count on our considerable expertise.
Our team of Long Island car accident lawyers is standing by to help you. Contact us online or give us a call at 631-543-7070 for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights.
Long Island Car Accident Questions and Answers
When you are injured, your needs and the full enforcement of your rights are our #1 priority. After you receive your free consultation and decide to utilize our services, one of our experienced Long Island car accident attorneys will meet with you to explain your rights and how to best protect your interests. We can come to you at home or in the hospital, if necessary.
Your attorney team will investigate the facts of your case and determine the strength of any claim that you may have. By speaking with witnesses and performing meticulous legal research, they will uncover the full facts of your case and build a strong claim for a settlement amount that accurately reflects your current and future damages.
Our firm will make sure that all legal papers are filed properly and on-time. There are many different deadlines that you must meet when filing a claim. If you miss a deadline, you may be barred from filing a claim to collect money for your injuries. Your attorney will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and others to make sure that you are properly compensated for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost time from work and other expenses associated with the accident.
After your car accident, your lawyer will most likely try to prove the legal theory of negligence. In very few instances, your wreck may have been caused by the intentional actions of someone else. But most likely, it will be caused by someone acting in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t — which is the basis of negligence.
There are two types of insurance you will typically need to rely on after you have been injured or sustain significant personal property damage in a car accident:
1. No-Fault Insurance
Regardless of who is at fault in an auto accident, New York State Insurance law provides that basic No-Fault benefits will cover*:
- reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses;
- 80% of lost earnings with a maximum of $2,000 per month for 3 years;
- up to $25.00 a day for one year for specific expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
*(up to your policy limit and subject to certain limitations and exclusions) New York State mandates that motorists carry a minimum of $25,000 in no-fault personal coverage. Individuals can also add a Supplemental Uninsured Motorist Coverage endorsement to this policy to protect themselves in the event that they’re injured by someone with no insurance coverage or an insufficient coverage limit. Since this type of coverage is for your direct benefit, all automobile owners should carefully review these provisions of their policy. We would be happy to explain and assist with a free consultation.
2. Liability Insurance
Liability insurance claims are third-party claims available to those “seriously injured” in a car accident with another driver who is allegedly at fault for the incident. Unlike other states, New York requires claimants to meet the minimum standing for damages by having a “serious” injury. There are many different kinds of injuries which fall into the category of “serious injury,” so assessing whether a particular injury is “serious” is best left to review and consultation with your attorney. New York State mandates that all motorists carry minimum liability coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons and $10,000 for property damage, per accident.
After a wreck, you may be asked to provide a written statement to the insurance company. Never do so without speaking to an attorney first! Just like on phone calls, the insurance company is looking for ways to reduce the amount they pay out to you. Your Long Island car accident attorney can help you fill out insurance forms and provide statements as needed without hurting your case.
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Car Accident FAQs
- Is My Car Accident Claim Worth Seeking Compensation For?
- How Do You Prove Emotional Distress in a New York Car Accident Case?
- How long will it take to receive my settlement after an initial offer from the insurance company?
- How can my attorney prove I was not at fault in a car accident?
- What should I do at the scene of a car accident?
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident in New York?
- How much will it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
- Can I claim mental health issues that arise from a car accident?
- Can I file a car accident lawsuit even if I was issued a ticket?
- How soon should I get a lawyer after a car wreck?
- Do you have to go to court for a car accident?
- How long does it take to receive a settlement from a car accident?
- If I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt in my auto accident, can I still recover damages?
- How much will it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
- What if no motorist was issued a ticket?
- I lost a loved one in a car accident, can I sue for wrongful death?