In the City of New York, factors such as heavy traffic, road construction and high volume of pedestrians contribute to dangerous driving conditions. The result is an increased risk of auto accidents. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 229 traffic deaths on New York City streets in 2016.
Understanding What Causes Car Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has it that the most common causes of car accidents and collisions can be traced to the actions of drivers themselves. This is to say; the majority of car accidents are a result of the driver’s own doing.
Discussed below are the leading causes of car collisions and accidents:
1. Driver Impairment
Driver impairment occurs when a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle is compromised due to the use of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, illegal drugs or alcohol. Intoxicated drivers can become drowsy and may have impaired judgments of speed and distances. This puts others passengers and drivers at risk of catastrophic car accidents.
Driving while impaired or intoxicated by any substance, be it legal or illegal, can be considered negligence if it results in a car crash.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has become much worse in recent years due to the increasing popularity of smartphones. Texting, emailing or social networking while driving takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s similar to driving the length of a whole football field with your eyes closed.
Other activities that can distract a driver’s attention include talking to another passenger, drinking, eating, fiddling with the stereo, applying makeup or even just gazing out the window. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the driver to avoid engaging in any non-driving activity that may increase the risk of a crash.
3. Bad Road Conditions
Poorly-maintained roads cause half of the fatal car accidents that occur every year in the United States. Unsafe road conditions that can cause a car crash include cracks and potholes, ice patches, shoulder drop-off and broken guardrails among others.
Government agencies have a duty to design, construct and maintain roads and ensure they are safe for drivers. This makes them responsible for providing proper signage, signals, lighting, pavement markings and traffic control devices.
In case an accident occurs due to bad road condition, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road may be held accountable.
Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
1. Failing to call the police
Following a car accident, you need to call the police and your insurance company. You should call the police so that they can secure the scene, investigate the accident and record the events of the crash. The police report can be very valuable as it will prevent the other party(s) from making false claims.
2. Not Receiving Timely Medical Examination
After a car accident, you will want to get a full medical examination as soon as you can. Even if you think you are fine, you need to remember that some severe injuries are not immediately apparent. They may begin to show symptoms a day or more after the crash. Therefore, seeking medical examination will not only save your life but will also help preserve your right to make a claim.
3. Admitting Guilt
When discussing the accident, do not admit fault even if you believe you were at fault. There are different factors that can cause a crash, and all of them may not be apparent to you, especially in the stressful aftermath of the crash. Therefore, do not speculate about fault but rather give simple answers to the questions the officers ask.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
1. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights
New York is among the twelve states that have enacted a “no-fault” system for determining financial responsibility for damages or injuries after car accidents. This means that every driver has to rely on their insurance coverage to pay for medical bills and lost wages (up to $50,000) in the event of a crash that results in only minor injuries.
Getting a fair payment from your insurance company can prove difficult, especially since there are strict time limits. Work with a personal injury lawyer to make the process simple.
2. A personal injury attorney will negotiate with the insurance company
Claims adjusters do not work for you. Their most important goal is to save their boss some money. Therefore, consult a personal injury lawyer before accepting an auto accident settlement.