Everything You Need to Know About Car Accidents
In today’s world, it seems like the roads only become increasingly dangerous by the minute. Part of this is because there are more and more distractions readily available at drivers’ fingertips. Though in the past, billboards, flashing storefronts, car radios, and more all worked as distractions, we now have to worry about the technological takeover, which gives way to various types of driving negligence.
Negligence is the #1 cause of all accidents, and if you are someone who has recently been injured due to another party’s negligence, you are most likely now seeking financial compensation to help cover the cost of your medical bills, in-home care, lost wages, and more. Though oftentimes, this compensation can be hard to attain, our firm is well-versed in personal injury law, and we are 100% dedicated to helping our clients attain the best outcome possible, every single time.
Below, our firm has compiled a guide to car accidents, containing everything you need to know–how they happen, what to do after one, and how to win the compensation you need to get back on your feet again. Please continue reading and do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced Westchester County personal injury attorneys to learn more about how we can help you through the legal process going forward:
Causes of Car Accidents
As stated earlier, we live in unprecedented times, where the roads are more unsafe than they have ever been before. There are various causes of car accidents, and some of them have little or nothing to do with driver negligence. For example, if someone gets caught in a sudden blizzard and skids off the road, can you really say it was that driver’s fault? Probably not. On top of inclement weather conditions, car accidents can also happen as a result of negligent road maintenance or design. For example, if a road is improperly striped, it could easily confuse, and therefore an accident. In other cases, certain roads are constructed so that they accumulate unnatural amounts of water, forming large puddles, which very often cause motorists to hydroplane. Additionally, when roads are insufficiently maintained, on the other hand, serious potholes, loose debris, and other safety hazards can also cause accidents.
That being said, the most common cause of car accidents, hands down, is driver negligence. Some of the most frequent types of driver negligence we see on the road today are as follows:
- Distracted driving: Perhaps now the leading cause of car accidents in our country, distracted driving comes in many shapes and sizes. In today’s world, cars are equipped with “hands-free technology” like built-in GPS’. However, the word “hands-free” does not mean “safe.” Even Bluetooth technology is a distraction, and all it takes is a split second of looking at your GPS to rear-end the car in front of you.
- Driving under the influence: This is one of the most careless acts of negligence that a motorist can commit. Everybody knows that drinking/using drugs and driving are both illegal and incredibly unsafe, however, that does not stop everybody from doing so. If you are someone who has been injured at the hands of a drunk driver, there is a very good chance you are entitled to financial compensation.
- Driving while fatigued: Most of us are guilty of doing this. You get out of work at night, and you’re tired. What are you supposed to do? Not drive home? No. But if you are tired, it is always best to take preventative measures, such as drinking an extra coffee before you go. Fatigued driving has caused thousands of accidents, many of them fatal. To make matters even more complicated, nighttime driving in itself can be dangerous, as your surroundings are far more difficult to see, especially if you are on the road at dusk, where the sun has not yet completely set. Truckers are perhaps the most prone to driving while fatigued, as they often drive up to 11 hours a day, and are on strict time constraints to meet all their deadlines. Truck accidents, rather obviously, are often very severe.
- Speeding: When car accidents happen, there is a very strong chance that at least one of the motorists was speeding. In fact, in 2018 alone, speeding killed 9,378 people in the United States, which is more than unacceptable. Speed limits are in place for a reason, and if you were injured by a motorist who blatantly disregarded the speed limit, you should be entitled to financial compensation.
What To Do After an Accident
If you were injured in a car accident, there are several steps you must take to maximize your chances of winning the financial compensation you need. Those steps are as follows:
- The moment the accident occurs, you should call the police. Not only will they document the incident, which you may use to prove your claim, but, more importantly, they will send an ambulance, which will take you to a hospital for treatment. However, you may have to wait some time before the ambulance arrives, which you should absolutely capitalize on.
- While awaiting the ambulance’s arrival, as long as you are physically capable, you should take pictures of the accident, your injuries, and anything else you believe is of relevance.
- On a similar note, you should ask anyone who witnessed the accident for their contact information. This can either be an email, phone number, business card, or any other way our firm can reach them for their testimony. In fact, you can even record a voice memo of the witness stating what happened, as long as they provide their full name and the date.
- Once you have arrived at the hospital and are in stable condition, you must ensure that you do not leave without all relevant documentation regarding your injuries and medical bills, as our firm can use this to both further your claim and to demonstrate the amount of financial loss you have sustained as a result of the negligent driver.
- The key to winning any personal injury claim is hiring an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of the claims process. At Hausman & Pendzick, we understand how difficult it can be to recover from an injury on your own, which is why we vow to fight, tooth-and-nail, for your rights, every step of the way. Our firm will effectively arrange and present all the aforementioned evidence on your behalf, as well as recover any additional evidence that may help your case. For example, if you are unable to obtain security camera footage of the accident, we may subpoena that footage, which may be your best bet at winning your claim.
Will my accident case have to go to trial?
Nobody wants to go to trial–for various reasons. The spectacle, the effort, and the intimidating nature of the court system. We understand this, which is why we generally, in most cases, we can win you a settlement you are satisfied with before ever having to go to trial. Though it is not a guarantee, it is our goal.
Can I sue as an injured passenger in a car accident?
In many cases, you can. For example, if the driver crashed as a result of his or her negligence, you will most likely be able to sue his or her insurance company. However, if the driver crashed because he or she was trying to avoid an even more dangerous situation, such as another car accident, or a child running out into the street, that driver may not be held at fault. Your ability to recover compensation is largely dependent on the circumstances of your case.
How much money can I get for an injury sustained in a car accident?
Though we cannot predetermine exactly how much you will win, we can tell you that we’ve won various personal injury claims in the past. In fact, in one case we’ve handled, we won a woman who suffered a spine injury $1,000,000.00 in compensation. In another case, we won a man $430,420.00 after wrongfully sustaining a torn meniscus in his knee as a result of a car accident. The point is, if you were wrongfully injured, we are here to get results on your behalf.
How long do I have to file my claim?
In New York State, individuals are granted a certain amount of time to sue negligent parties for a wrongfully sustained injury–this timeframe is known as the statute of limitations. Since the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New York State is, generally, three years, you will, generally, have three years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. That being said, the sooner you bring your case to our firm, the sooner we can get working on winning you the compensation you deserve. If you wait any longer than three years, you will most likely be barred from suing. Do not let this happen. Our firm is here to help.
What should I bring to my initial consultation?
Receipts of all injury-related expenses: This plays a significant role in determining the amount of compensation you receive. For example, if your injuries required multiple surgeries, hospital stays, and more, your medical bills can prove how much those injuries have cost you; not to mention the wages you may have lost as a result of being unable to return to work after your accident. You should also bring any information regarding the damage done to your car and how much it would take to fix it.
- Police reports and medical documents: As stated earlier, both of these go a long way in proving personal injury claims. Police reports document the facts of the incident, and medical documents can verify both the severity and origin of your injuries.
- Records of correspondence with the other party or their insurance company: Whether it be calls, texts, or otherwise, it is always best to document any contact with the opposing party.
- Your insurance policy: Before filing a lawsuit, you must understand what is (and is not) covered by your policy. We can assess your policy, as long as you bring it with you.
- Witness contact information: Oftentimes, accidents occur in public or out in the open. If anyone witnessed your accident, you should always ask them for their contact information so they can verify your claim. Emails, phone numbers, business cards, and more are all acceptable.
- Pictures/videos of the unsafe conditions that caused the accident, the accident’s aftermath, or both: Whether you were in a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or otherwise, if you are physically capable, you should always take pictures before the safety hazard, or the scene of the accident, is cleared away.
- Any other documentation you or your attorney believes is relevant to your case: Every case is different, so depending on the situation, you may have additional evidence/paperwork that we can use to prove your personal injury claim.
Contact our experienced Westchester County firm
There are few things more startling, frustrating, and upsetting than being injured as a result of another party’s negligence. Our firm knows how stressful it can be to deal with all the legal ramifications of an accident while simultaneously trying to heal from your injuries. That is why we pledge to work solely in your best interests, with nothing in mind other than helping you recover the compensation you need to go on living a happy, productive life.
Whether you were wrongfully injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, mass transit accident, pedestrian accident, or any other type of auto accident, we are here to fight for the financial compensation you deserve. Do not wait–simply reach out to our firm, and we will promptly begin the claims process.
Hausman & Pendzick effectively represent victims of negligence in Westchester County and across the state of New York. We understand how challenging life can be without financial compensation for serious injuries you have wrongly sustained. If you need a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation after an accident, contact Hausman & Pendzick today.