Driving a car – it’s an activity many New York natives and commuters do every day, yet most are unfazed by the hazardous and potentially life-threatening situations automobiles pose. Crowded and traffic-choked, New York City has a bustling population, ongoing construction and congested roadways, a trifecta that creates a deadly environment for motorists.
The New York State Department of Health reports that motor vehicle traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for New York residents, accounting for an annual average of 1,098 deaths, 12,093 hospitalizations and 136,913 emergency room visits.
As for causes, distracted driving tops the list, followed by driver fatigue, drunken driving, speeding, aggressive driving and weather related fault. With road safety in the spotlight since mobile technology has been on the rise, most states, including New York, have banned cell phone use when drivers are behind the wheel.
Under New York State traffic law, individuals cannot use a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device while driving. Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and
- talking on a handheld mobile telephone
- composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages
- viewing, taking, or transmitting images
- playing games
If motorists use a portable electronic device while driving (except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency), they can receive a traffic ticket and be subject to a fine and a surcharge.
Conviction of a cell phone use, portable electronic device use or a texting violation will also result in points being added to their DMV driving record.
New York traffic tickets are costly and may mean a required appearance in a New Yok traffic court for plea sentencing.
While regulations surrounding in-car technology are becoming more stringent, the problem appears to persist, and road fatalities are rising sharply.
Not only are New York drivers distracted by gadget overload, but complex road systems means concentration lapses and roads become trickier to navigate. Home to an avid community of cyclists, New York also has another unique risk factor for drivers.
While mobile devices and in-car entertainment create a fluid channel of communication, navigation and enjoyment, staying safe is much more important than staying in touch.
Despite the lack of control regarding others on the road, New York drivers can take measures to avoid accidents and the aftermath of increased insurance rates, costly body shops, and personal injury lawsuits.
Obey the Speed Limit
Careless driving characterized by speeding increases the likelihood of loss of control. New York City has consequently reduced the speed limit of all streets to 25 mph in an attempt to combat speeding aggression and ensure a safe flow of traffic.
Following a vehicle in front at a close distance is not advisable and often results in minor to major fender benders. Maintaining a full car-length distance between vehicles is best to avoid rear-ending due to sudden stops and inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow and fog, which limit reaction time and unexpected braking.
Communicating with fellow motorists is imperative for communal safety. Many New York drivers disregard basic traffic laws such as signaling when turning or changing lanes. Using blinkers ensures other drivers are aware of your motives and have ample time to respond.
Maintain Your Vehicle
The best way to ensure your own safety and that of others is to keep your vehicle in great running condition. This means being up to date on inspections and routine maintenance like oil and tire changes. Ensure that you keep your vehicle up to date with the relevant car inspections and maintenance routine.
Despite taking all the aforementioned precautions, there is no guarantee that you will avoid being involved in a car accident.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney If You Have Been In An Accident
Technically speaking, anyone can file an injury claim against an insurance company without the assistance of an accident attorney, however it is recommended to consult with one, especially a personal injury attorney, when facing large insurance companies with outsize influence and their own professional legal team.
Your attorney has vast knowledge and experience with personal injury laws and will handle paperwork and procedures which are foreign to you. By representing yourself, you risk being at a huge disadvantage.
Because an insurance company’s lawyers are trained to reduce compensation and even deny the claim altogether,
Consider hiring an accident attorney if any of the following apply:
Auto Accident Injuries
Generally, the severity of personal injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents is measured by:
- Type of injury (or injuries) sustained
- Length of time it takes (or will take) for a victim to recover
- Cost of medical bills incurred
Long-Term or Permanently Disabling Injuries
In broad terms, a long-term injury is one that lasts a year or longer, while a permanent injury is characterized by permanent disability. These types of personal injuries seriously affect the ability to become and stay employed—not to mention quality of life.
Proving long-term and permanently disabling injuries can be tricky. An experienced personal injury attorney will consult with medical professionals his or her client has seen, and may even request their presence during any legal proceedings.
When an insurance company disputes its policyholder’s liability for an automobile accident, the company is stating that the policyholder is not at fault (or is claiming the policyholder does not have enough proof of fault) and, therefore, the insurance company is not responsible for paying for damages.
An accident attorney will assist in providing this proof and show that the other party was indeed at fault.
Refusal to Pay
Refusal to pay is when an insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer—or any offer at all. Don’t let insurance companies twist the law. Hiring a qualified New York injury attorney helps auto accident victims get the justice they deserve.