Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyers
Whenever someone gets behind the wheel of a car, that person has a duty to drive safely for the sake of the other people sharing the road with them. Unfortunately, many drivers choose to be careless, aggressive, or downright reckless — particularly in crowded, congested cities like Brooklyn. If you were hit by a car and were seriously injured as a result, or if someone you love passed away in an accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your losses. The Brooklyn car accident attorneys of Sullivan & Galleshaw may be able to help.
We have more than 16 years of experience representing accident victims and their families in a wide variety of wrongful death and personal injury cases and are committed to providing aggressive representation for our clients. We will guide you through each and every step of the legal process, help you understand and exercise your rights, and fight hard for the best outcome possible. Whether you were on foot, on your bicycle, or traveling by car when the accident occurred, we want to hear about what happened. To set up a free and confidential case evaluation, call our law offices today at (718) 593-4056.
Who is Liable for Car Accident Injuries in New York?
New York follows a no-fault auto insurance system. Under this no-fault system, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident — all injured drivers must file a claim with their insurer, hence the term “no-fault.” However, there are some exceptions to this rule. You may have the option to directly sue the driver who hit you if you meet New York’s standardized threshold for serious injuries.
Did the accident cause:
- A temporary injury which stopped you from participating in your normal daily activities for at least 90 days immediately following the accident?
- At least one bone fracture?
- Dismemberment, or accidental limb amputation?
- Significant disfigurement?
- Permanent damage to a limb or body system?
- Permanent organ damage?
- Permanently reduced organ or limb function?
- Significantly reduced physical function or body system function?
- The loss of a fetus?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you meet the threshold for serious injury and may be able to file a lawsuit against the person who struck you.
To learn more about the injuries caused by car accidents, call the injury lawyers of Sullivan & Galleshaw today to confidentially discuss your options.
Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
As mentioned above, only people whose injuries meet a certain severity standard can sue the person who caused the accident. Unfortunately, many auto accidents do produce very serious injuries, with some of the more common examples and medical effects including:
- Burns — Burns are among the most painful injuries to treat and recover from and can be physically as well as emotionally traumatic. Burns can cause permanent exterior disfigurement, sepsis, tetanus, shock, and hypothermia. Third degree burns require skin grafting and may take entire months to heal.
- Cuts and Lacerations – Cuts and deep lacerations can happen in a number of ways during a car accident. For example, vehicle windows often break during T-bone accidents, spreading glass and other debris across the interior of the vehicle. Once the window glass is shattered, they can cut the driver and passengers in the car or even result in deep puncture wounds under certain circumstances.
- SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) — When your spinal cord is injured, messages cannot travel effectively between the brain and the rest of the body. As a result, SCIs frequently result in partial to complete paralysis. While paraplegia and quadriplegia are the best known forms of paralysis, paralysis may also manifest as monoplegia (affecting one part of the body), or hemiplegia (affecting both arm and leg on one side of the body). The majority of paralysis patients never regain full mobility in the affected area.
- TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) — Brain injury is “traumatic” when it is caused by an external blow, such as slamming your head against a window or being struck in the head by a loose object flying through the car upon impact. The CDC ranks motor vehicle accidents as the third leading cause of TBI across all age groups, accounting for 14% of cases. The CDC also cites vehicular accidents as the number two cause of TBI-related deaths, accounting for just over one quarter of fatal cases.
- Whiplash – Whiplash often occurs due to rear-end or head-to-head vehicle collisions. When the sudden impact from a vehicle causes a vehicle occupant’s head and neck to swing forward rapidly and snap back into place, it is likely that a whiplash injury was experienced. Whiplash can cause a person to lose range of motion in their neck area and may even cause a person severe pain.
- Lost Limbs – Another frightening possibility is that a victim of a car accident loses a limb due to a serious accident. If a victim’s arm or leg is pinned against the vehicle after a car accident, this can likely lead to a situation where the limb must be amputated. Injuries that require amputation typically occur more frequently during car accidents with commercial vehicles like an 18-wheeler.
These and other serious injuries can result in long-term loss of income, physical pain, and overall loss of enjoyment in life. You may be able to claim compensation to help counterbalance these losses and negative effects.
Time Limit on Filing a Car Accident Claim in Brooklyn, New York
The short answer to this question is yes. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
Under New York law, the statute of limitations gives a plaintiff three years to file a claim from the date a car accident occurs. It’s important to understand that the statute of limitations is extremely rigid — and if it expires, you will not be able to advance your claim or collect any compensation as the court will bar your claim.
To avoid getting into this situation, you should contact an automotive accident attorney as soon as possible. This will also grant a longer period of time to conduct a detailed investigation into the matter, which could involve analyzing car parts, injuries, medical records, and driving records. Waiting too long to file your case can result in important evidence being lost or destroyed or even having the memories of your witnesses become unreliable. Additionally, if you need the compensation from your case to handle your expenses, waiting longer to pursue damages for your claim will not help you.
The purpose of the statute of limitations is to encourage plaintiffs to pursue their legal claims in a timely fashion. While coping with the aftermath of a serious car accident can be difficult, the court wants to ensure that the plaintiff has their day in court while also being fair to the defendant. Without the statute of limitations, a defendant could be looking over their shoulder for years in anticipation of a legal action that may never occur.
If the victim passed away and you are filing a wrongful death claim on their behalf, you have two years from the date of death — not the date of the accident — to file your claim. Wrongful death claims typically are brought by people that were close to the deceased victim, like a spouse or a child.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you were the victim of a car accident, the first action you should take is to secure medical attention for yourself and any other injured parties. Be sure also to contact law enforcement to investigate the scene of the accident and ask for a copy of the police report once their investigation is concluded. Do not avoid receiving medical treatment because you feel that you only suffered a mild injury. It is possible that you suffered an injury that may become aggravated as time passes.
After calling for emergency services, you should request information from the negligent driver that caused the accident. You should request the driver’s name, license, contact information, insurance carrier, and take down the make and model of their vehicle. If you were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you should also request the name of the driver’s employer.
It is also important to take photographs of the scene of the accident. Take photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident. Additionally, you should make a note of any adverse weather conditions that may have contributed to the accident. For example, if you were struck by a negligent driver when it was bright and sunny, this may be evidence that the driver was distracted.
If anyone observed the accident, you should approach these witnesses to determine whether they would provide you with a statement. While New York operates on a no-fault insurance system, a statement from a witness may greatly help if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Once you are finished at the scene of the accident, inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible.
Contact Our Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorneys to Handle Your Claim
If you or a family member was a victim of a serious car accident, contact an experienced Brooklyn personal injury attorney today. At Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP, our injury attorneys are dedicated to providing you with the unique legal representation you deserve to pursue your claim. Our firm has served residents of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and we would be honored to work with you. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact Sullivan & Galleshaw at (718) 593-4056.