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Car accidents happen every day in New York. Backed-up traffic because of an accident is the bane of every commuter’s daily drive to work. Many accidents are non-serious and often handled between the drivers and their insurance providers. However, if you are in a car accident, you may sue the other driver and their insurance to get compensation for injuries and damages.
New York is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. After an accident, drivers get payouts from their own insurance without having to prove fault. However, drivers are only paid up to a certain amount, and a lawsuit may be necessary to cover damages that exceed the limits of no-fault insurance. You may sue for damages, including medical bills, vehicle repair expenses, lost wages, and more.
After a car accident, your injuries and damages could be minor or quite severe. In either case, you have the right to sue for compensation if the other driver was at fault. Speak with our Yonkers, NY car accident attorneys about your case in a free legal consultation. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (646) 396-0236 to get started.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Yonkers, New York
Car accidents seem to have an endless number of causes. From distractions inside a vehicle to external factors in the road, the causes of car accidents can vary widely from case to case. However, certain causes tend to pop up more frequently than others. Talk to our Yonkers car accident lawyers about your accident.
Inattentive driving is a very common reason for car accidents in and around Yonkers. Distractions can include phone calls or texts, GPS devices, or passengers. Using phones while driving is such a huge problem that many states, including New York, have passed laws prohibiting the use of phones and other portable electronic devices while driving.
A major cause of many car accidents is speeding. Even if speeding is not the direct cause of an accident, a high rate of speed can make an accident much worse. Speeding drivers often have difficult braking in time to avoid rear-ending other vehicles. Speeding sometimes causes drivers to blow through red lights and busy intersections because they cannot stop in time to make the light.
When drivers turn or change lanes, they must use a turn signal so drivers behind them know what is going on. Unfortunately, many drivers forget to use their turn signal and end up causing an accident. Switching lanes without signaling often causes accidents on busy highways where multiple cars may be changing lanes simultaneously.
Unfortunately, there are far too many intoxicated drivers on our roads. Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs is incredibly dangerous. Intoxicated individuals tend to crash into other vehicles because they cannot focus on the road and their reflexes are deadened.
Liability for a Car Accident in Yonkers
A preponderance of the evidence determines liability in a civil lawsuit. This is a lower burden of proof than in criminal cases where a guilty verdict requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A preponderance of the evidence requires proving it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for the accident. Our Yonkers, New York car accident attorneys are prepared to help you hold your defendant responsible for your accident.
Typically, car accident cases are based on theories of negligence. Negligence is broadly defined as a failure to act with an ordinary person’s reasonable prudence and caution under the same circumstances. Negligence involves four critical elements: duty, breach, causation, damages.
Duty refers to the defendant’s duty to drive in a reasonably prudent manner under the circumstances. All drivers have this legal duty to drive safely. The breach occurs when a driver violates their duty, and causation connects the breach to the accident. Finally, your damages must be real injuries and losses, not hypothetical possibilities.
Alternatively, your case could instead involve an intentional tort, such as an accident the defendant caused on purpose. An intentional tort is not based on a theory of negligence, and the necessary elements will vary between torts. For example, an intentional tort might be assault or battery, and the defendant’s intention must be established.
Criminal Charges Related to Car Accidents in Yonkers, NY
In some cases, a defendant may be charged for criminal offenses related to the car accident. For example, drunk drivers are usually charged criminally for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Drivers can also face criminal penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident. Hit-and-run cases are serious because injured drivers are often left alone on the highway with no help. Some car accidents turn deadly, and drivers may be charged with some form of criminal homicide.
If the defendant in your car accident lawsuit is also facing criminal charges, our Yonkers, NY car accident lawyers can help you strategize accordingly. It might be a smart idea to put your civil case on hold until the related criminal matter is resolved. If your defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty in criminal court, we can use that verdict or plea to your advantage in civil court.
What Should I Sue for After a Yonkers Car Accident?
Most car accident cases involve claims for compensatory damages. These damages are designed to make a plaintiff “whole” again, at least in a financial sense. Compensatory damages may be economic or non-economic.
Economic damages involve injuries or losses that come with a clear monetary value. Medical bills, car repairs, and lost earnings are all measurable economic damages. Non-economic damages are more subjective and may be open to interpretation or argument. For example, your physical pain and mental anguish after a car accident can be considered non-economic damages, but we may have to argue about their value.
Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for bad behavior rather than make a plaintiff whole again. However, punitive damages are rarely permitted in personal injury cases. Under Ross v. Louise Wise Servs., Inc. (2007), for example, the defendant must have acted with a high degree of “moral turpitude” that demonstrates criminal indifference to civil obligations. Our Yonkers, New York car accident lawyers can help you fight for the damages and compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Yonkers, New York Car Accident Attorneys
If you were harmed in a car accident or collision, you deserve compensation from the person responsible. Our Yonkers, New York car accident lawyers can help you hold other negligent drivers accountable for your crash. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (646) 396-0236 for a free legal consultation.