Car accidents are unfortunately a realistic aspect of life in New York City with hundreds of thousands of accidents occurring every year. While some accidents are preventable, many times negligent drivers cause these crashes.
Rear-end accidents are the most common type of automobile collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end car accidents account for about 29% of all car crashes in the U.S.
The personal injury attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine have been representing New York City car accident victims for more than 30 years. We believe victims should have a voice and our car accident lawyers do everything they can to ensure victims receive justice and fair compensation for their injuries and suffering. If you’ve been injured due to a rear-end car accident, call our law firm at 212-268-3222 or complete our online contact form.
A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle slams into another from behind. It can happen when stopped at a stop sign, traffic light, waiting to make a turn, or even when actively driving. The impact of being hit from behind by another motorist can be severe, especially if the car or truck was traveling at high speed. Other factors determining the severity of a rear-end collision include the size of the vehicles involved, car safety features, and whether vehicle occupants were wearing their seatbelts.
Rear-end collisions can happen in many ways. Distracted driving is at the top of the list of behaviors that lead to this type of crash. Distracted driving includes cellphone use, texting, web surfing, putting on makeup, eating, drinking, daydreaming, and adjusting the radio or climate controls. It also includes fatigue and emotional conditions (i.e. “road rage”). When drivers aren’t giving the road their full attention, it sets the conditions for a crash.
Other common causes include:
Impatient drivers often engage in tailgating when following slower cars and, if the front car has to abruptly stop, the rear driver often doesn’t have time to fully apply their brakes because they weren't traveling at a safe distance.
Drivers who are speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, or illegally passing cars can increase the risk of rear-ending another driver because they aren’t practicing safe driving.
Drivers who have consumed alcohol or used drugs are often impaired and use poor judgment when driving, this increases the risk of a rear-end collision.
These are some of the most common contributors to rear-end collisions. It is assumed the rear car driver is always at fault – and is true in most cases – but sometimes fault can be fully or partially placed on the other driver (i.e. a brake light may be out or they stop short unexpectedly). New York State defers to a pure comparative negligence rule which means both parties can be assigned a percentage of fault in any car accident.
Since New York State is also a no-fault insurance state, things can get tricky in the aftermath of a crash. Many accident claims are initially denied by insurance companies. A car accident attorney is your best ally when dealing with an insurance company because they can fight for insurance companies to pay what they should to car accident victims.
People who have suffered through a rear-end crash may not initially realize the severity of their injuries because symptoms may not be immediately apparent. Sometimes injuries initially seem minor, but the pain and symptoms can worsen over the days or weeks following the accident. Common injuries from rear-end crashes include:
After a rear-end crash, it’s always important to be examined by a healthcare professional so you can start treatment immediately. Additionally, any injuries, symptoms, or potential injuries can be documented in the event a condition worsens weeks after the accident occurs. It’s not uncommon for a doctor to be unable to fully diagnose a serious injury immediately. Follow-up visits are often involved to ensure car accident victims receive a correct diagnosis so they can begin proper medical treatment.
Rear-end crashes may initially seem like minor fender benders that might not even do much damage to a car, but this type of accident can still be costly and result in much pain and suffering to drivers or passengers. Car accident victims often find themselves left with serious injuries, lost wages, thousands of dollars in medical bills, and property damage, to name a few. While insurance will cover some damages, it may not be enough.
Liability in a rear-end crash isn’t always straightforward in New York State. A personal injury attorney can help determine fault and which driver was negligible or should be liable for the crash. Victims can sue other drivers for damages in New York City, but they have to meet a very specific injury threshold.
Many people who meet this threshold opt to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver because their own insurance doesn’t cover the extent of the damage they’ve suffered in an auto accident.
Determining fault in a rear-end accident will take some work. After dealing with New York State’s comparative negligence rule and no-fault insurance, if a victim meets the threshold to file a personal injury lawsuit, they’ll have to prove fault. It’s important to provide as much detail as possible, along with any forms of tangible proof, such as eyewitnesses, photos, proof of vehicle damage, and documentation of injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages. Clearly, you can’t go back in time, but the more evidence that can be obtained, the stronger a case will be.
Once documentation is pulled together, a personal injury lawyer can work to demonstrate the negligence of the other driver which led to the rear-end crash. The police report taken at the scene of the accident will be a primary piece of evidence against the at-fault driver.
In New York State, car accident victims have three years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury lawsuit. Once three years passes, the right to initiate a lawsuit is lost. This is outlined under New York’s Civil Practice Laws and Rules Section 214 and is very specific. There is one exception to this rule and that is if you make the connection between your car accident and injury at a later date, the three-year clock will start on that date. However, to obtain this, as the injured party, you have to have enough documentation to prove eligibility.
At Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm we take pride in our reputation as being the “Voice of the Injured.” For over 30 years, our attorneys have represented victims in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, and surrounding counties. Our NYC car accident attorneys have helped thousands of people move forward after suffering the effects of a rear-end or another type of car crash.
If you, or a loved one, suffered a car accident where another motor vehicle driver rear-ended your car, call us at 212-268-3222 or contact us online today for a free lawyer consultation. We’ll work hard to ensure you receive justice and fair compensation for your injuries and suffering.