New York City Car Accident Attorney
Can A New York Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Car accidents are sudden, shocking and traumatic.
But if you’ve been seriously injured, the effects don’t just wear off after one disturbing night. A motor vehicle collision can change your life; you and your family may never be the same again.
If you were injured in an auto accident, you’re not alone. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the State’s highways, roads and city streets saw almost 304,100 car crashes in 2013. More than 41% resulted in serious personal injury, and 1,109 were fatal. You can find more car accident statistics here.
But numbers can tell us nothing of the true cost that car accidents force so many New Yorkers to face. The personal injury lawyers at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. don’t want you to become another statistic.
We understand how disruptive a crash can be; your future may be out-of-focus, and your mind filled with troubling questions. As one of New York’s most prestigious personal injury teams, we help injured individuals like you every day.
Our attorneys can’t turn back the hands of time, and make it as if your accident never happened. But going forward, we can provide a firm legal foundation for your full recovery.
At our firm, we meet with clients every day who have suffered terrible injuries in a car accident. Among the more common are:
Cuts, scrapes, lacerations, and abrasions These can usually heal on their own, though they carry a risk of becoming infected. Also, cuts will leave behind scars, which can be very distressing when they appear on visible parts of the body, in particular the face. Victims can suffer extreme embarrassment, anger, and depression when wounds disfigure their appearance.
Broken bones Any bone in the body can break, but car accidents can cause particularly devastating fractures. If you break ribs, then you suffer a high risk of complications such as pneumonia. Many victims also need surgery to keep bones together with a pin or a screw. Surgery carries its own complications.
Burns Second- and third-degree burns can dramatically change a person’s life, leading to permanent disability. Many burn victims need multiple surgeries to try and recapture their full range of movement. Burns on visible parts of the body can also cause emotional distress.
Whiplash Tendons in the neck and upper back can become stretched or torn by violent, forward-and-backwards rocking, particularly after a rear-end collision. Whiplash can leave victims in constant pain and make it difficult to return to work.
Crush injuries Any heavy weight on the body can cause skeletal muscled to break down, leading to kidney failure or coma. Crush injuries demand immediate treatment, otherwise the results can be disastrous.
Amputations Horrific car accidents can cause such serious injuries that victims can lose a limb. In other accidents, limbs might be torn off.
Brain injuries A hard knock to the head can damage the brain, impacting how it sends and receives signals. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can impair a victim’s memory and coordination, as well as their speech and behavior.
Spinal cord injuries Any damage to the spinal column can leave a person with compromised mobility or sensation, or both. Some spinal cord injuries respond to rehabilitation, but others will result in permanent disabilities.
These are only some of the more serious injuries we have seen. In all cases, injured motorists should quickly go to the doctor or hospital after an accident to receive prompt treatment.
New York is well aware of the tragic effects that car accidents can cause. That’s why every motorist is legally required to carry a minimum liability insurance policy of $25,000 for one person’s bodily injury, and $50,000 for multiple injured people.
In addition, every driver needs $50,000 of mandatory “no-fault” insurance coverage. If you get hurt, your initial expenses will be paid out of your own personal no-fault policy, not the insurance that the other driver has purchased.
No fault auto insurance is offered to injured drivers regardless of their responsibility for the accident, and it can cover portions of your necessary medical expenses and lost wages.
But crucially, no-fault insurance claims ignore critical types of damages that you may be facing. They simply avoid things like “pain and suffering,” as if physical pain and psychological trauma weren’t common, debilitating effects of an auto crash.
As many people have learned, insurance companies are often unwilling to pay out full claims. When they do, the amounts can be woefully inadequate.
For many serious injuries, insurance is simply not enough.
If you suffer from a severe injury, the car accident lawyers at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. may be able to help you secure additional compensation, beyond what your insurance company offers.
Once your no-fault coverage is depleted, you’ll need to consider pursuing compensation through the other driver’s insurance policy.
But even filing a traditional auto insurance claim can become difficult very quickly. Remember, an insurance company’s focus is solely on their own bottom line.
Insurance adjusters routinely attempt to “minimize” the appearance of injuries. They’ll hire additional medical experts, and try to claim that your suffering is “temporary,” even when the effects will clearly last months, years, or even your entire life.
This is hard, if not impossible, without strong legal representation.
Instead of representing yourself in a dispute, you should secure the services of an experienced New York City car accident lawyer. A seasoned attorney can considerably improve your chances of obtaining a full a fair settlement for your injuries.
Our attorneys understand the different tricks that insurers use to try and deny claims. An insurer might, for instance, get you to give a recorded statement in which they ask you questions about your injuries. One technique insurers use is to try and minimize your injuries by saying things like, “Your back injury wasn’t as bad as you thought, right?” or “You were up and about within a day or two, I imagine.” It can be very easy for our clients to simply agree to these statements, even when they are not true.
Insurers can also try to get you to acknowledge that you are partially responsible for the accident. If you do, then you can expect to receive much less in compensation. Under New York’s rules, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your proportion of fault. So if you were 50% responsible for a collision, then you can expect to receive half of what you normally would receive.
With an attorney by your side, you won’t make simple mistakes that the insurance company can pounce on. You will also fully protect your right to compensation by properly valuing your injuries. Many people have no idea how much their injuries are worth, so they tend to settle for too little money.
Finally, negotiating with an insurer is an art, not a science. An experienced New York auto accident lawyer will know when to hold out for more money and when to agree to the best settlement that is likely to be offered.
Insurance companies possess a wealth of resources that private individuals don’t. Immediately after you’ve filed a claim, the insurance company will go to work.
Along with a team of medical professionals and accident investigators, adjusters will thoroughly examine the facts of your crash. They’re looking for loopholes that allow them to pay out as little as possible.
An experienced auto accident attorney is an essential tool in defending your rights. Your claim will hinge on your lawyer’s ability to collect and martial evidence in support of your side of events. Any weakness, any failing, any misunderstanding of New York State’s legal code could jeopardize your opportunity to recover compensation.
Good thing our personal injury attorneys are extensively qualified to match an insurance company’s arguments point for point, with the resources, knowledge and over 100 years of experience you need to win.
Legal fees are a legitimate concern, since many people want to maximize the amount of compensation they receive to help them regain their footing after a devastating crash. If a lawyer charges too much in fees, then the victim will have much less to pay for medical care and other bills.
In New York, car accident lawyers work on “contingency.” This means that the lawyer does not charge legal fees upfront. Instead, the lawyer will begin working on your case and only gets paid if they win, either in court or in a settlement.
Contingency fees are a percentage of your settlement that the lawyer will get—usually a third to 40%, depending on when your case is resolved. But if the lawyer does not win your case, then you don’t pay any legal fees. Contingency fees are a great benefit to clients for the following reasons:
A lawyer only has an incentive to take your case if it looks like you have a solid legal claim. A lawyer doesn’t benefit by taking frivolous cases.
A lawyer also has an incentive to maximize the amount you receive, because this will also increase the amount that he or she takes home in fees.
A client gets the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney for no money upfront, which levels the playing field. You can be sure that a defendant’s insurer will pay top dollar for a lawyer to represent their interests.
Attorney’s fees are only one expense. A client will also need to cover the certain costs of the lawsuit to cover things like postage, court reporters, and expert witness fees. You should discuss how much these costs are likely to amount to and how you will pay for them.
All fee agreements should be in writing to protect clients and the attorney, so there should be no surprises about how you are billed for the case. At our firm, we will gladly go over the fee agreement with you in detail, if necessary, so you understand for what fees and costs you may be responsible.
If we can’t come to terms with the insurer, and find a settlement offer that you are comfortable with, our attorneys are prepared to bring your case to trial.
We expect other drivers to operate their vehicles safely, and minimize the potential for accidents as much as they possibly can.
In legal terms, we call this expectation a “reasonable standard of care.” If we couldn’t “reasonably” assume that other drivers were going to follow the “standard,” most of us wouldn’t get on the road in the first place.
But as we all know, many drivers don’t live up to the “standard.” When they fail to do their best, and other people get hurt, they have acted “negligently” and can be held accountable in a court of law.
This argument of negligence is the foundation for most car accident lawsuits. But it’s not the only one.
1. Driver Negligence
Driver inattention is at fault in an estimated 41% of all car accidents. In most vehicles, distractions are numerous, from mobile phones and GPS devices to simply changing the radio. Surprisingly, many motorists simply don’t look where they’re going when it matters most.
More than 30% of crashes are the result of “decision errors,” when drivers fail to account for weather conditions, drive too quickly on a difficult roadway, or employ illegal driving maneuvers. And 3% of all drivers who cause accidents were asleep at the wheel during a collision.
These are all examples of driver negligence, and strong grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
2. Defective Vehicles
In many cases, auto manufacturers and parts suppliers are actually at the root of an accident. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that almost 45,000 accidents are caused by vehicle malfunction every year.
Tires, wheels and brakes fail at a surprising rate during operation. Sometimes these problems are the inevitable result of daily wear-and-tear. But more often than you might expect, these crashes are the result of defectively designed or manufactured equipment.
If a vehicle fault contributed to your accident, you may be able to hold its manufacturer responsible in a personal injury lawsuit.
3. Improper Road Design
In rare but devastating instances, poorly designed roads contribute to an accident. Low visibility, inadequate median barriers – these factors are “baked in” to the driving experience.
But they don’t need to be, and if negligent engineering or construction played a role in your crash, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the City or State of New York.
New York City’s government has become increasingly aware of the role roadway design can play in both contributing to, or preventing, accidents. Mayor de Blasio’s new “Vision Zero” program, intended to reduce all pedestrian deaths in a matter of years, was designed to make the City’s streets more “forgiving” for motorists.
In the examples above, we’ve only begun to touch on the numerous causes that can contribute to a car accident. To learn more about negligence, and how it may have caused your traffic collision, click here.
Think your crash was caused by someone else’s negligence? Unfortunately, no attorney can value a potential case before a thorough investigation.
The amount of compensation to which you are entitled will vary depending on the facts of your accident and, importantly, the severity of your injuries. To find more information on New York State’s definition of “serious injury,” click here.
There are actually several types of damages you can demand from a negligent party.
Most common are “economic,” or “compensatory” damages, purely financial losses like necessary medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning potential.
For example, if you suffered a “whiplash”-type injury, with severe back and neck pain, the court may award you compensatory damages to reimburse the expenses of any procedures, prescriptions, and on-going rehabilitation.
Another class of damages, “non-economic” ones, are harder to quantify, but just as important. Along with demonstrable medical bills, being seriously injured comes with a host of other adverse effects, not least of which is simply feeling pain.
The hardship of experiencing pain, along with any psychological distress you may experience, is generally referred to as “pain and suffering.” If your attorney can effectively prove that you suffer from mental or physical anguish, the court may award you damages in compensation.
Again, we aren’t in a position to tell you how much your potential lawsuit is worth. With that being said, our personal injury lawyers have a long history of exceeding our clients’ expectations.
You can learn more about our proven track record of success here.
Were you injured in a car crash in New York State?
Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. today. With our extensive resources and over 100 years of combined experience, your case will be in good hands. Our attorneys are aggressive, experienced and knowledgeable. All you need to do is call.
Want to learn more about your legal options? We offer a free, no obligation consultation to all injury victims. Simply call 212-285-3300 or fill out our contact form and begin reviewing the best choice for your future with a qualified auto accident attorney.