Albany Car Accident Lawyer

Table of Contents

    Car accidents are serious, dangerous, and scary events that happen far too frequently. It is statistically likely that, if you were involved in a car accident, it was caused by one driver’s negligent behavior behind the wheel, such as tailgating, not using turn signals, texting while driving, speeding, or driving under the influence.

    In these situations, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for causing the accident, but only if you can demonstrate that you suffered serious injury. Otherwise, you may be left having to make do with what you can get from your own insurance company. Our dedicated team can help you determine how your accident happened, who is responsible, and what your damages might be worth.

    Call our experienced car accident attorneys of The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to set up an appointment for an initial case evaluation at no cost to you to begin your claim.

    Do I Have a Legal Claim After a Car Accident in Albany?

    Legal claims after car accidents are often based on negligence. The other driver might not have intentionally caused you harm, but they can still be held responsible for their negligent behavior. Negligence is a legal concept encompassing 4 elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Our car accident lawyers must establish each element to be successful. If you cannot establish all 4 elements, you might not have a legal claim.

    The duty element refers to the defendant’s legal duty of care owed to the plaintiff. You might be wondering how the defendant, possibly a complete stranger, owes you a duty of care. Under the law, all drivers on the road have a legal obligation or duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances and obey the traffic code. This duty is owed to all other drivers on the road.

    The breach is something the defendant did or failed to do that violated their duty of care. In car accident cases, the breach is often a traffic violation of some kind. The violation need not be extreme or shocking to be considered a breach. For example, merely running a stop sign might be enough to cause a major accident.

    The element of causation is about how the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the accident. Simply showing that the defendant owed a duty and breached it is not enough to have a legal claim for damages. You need to show how the defendant’s breach is the direct and proximate cause of the accident. This can be tricky when other drivers are involved, and other people might have done something to cause the accident.

    The final element is your damages. This encompasses injuries, vehicle damage, bills, and losses you experienced as a result of the crash. Damages have to be real. They cannot be close calls or things that almost happened.

    Common Causes of Car Accidents in Albany

    Crashes occur for a variety of reasons. Across all of these causes, however, most are the result of human error. Negligent and reckless driving can put anyone on the road in serious danger. Below are some of the most common forms of driver fault in causing car accidents.


    Drivers are obligated by the New York traffic code to retain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them. This should be enough space to allow the driver to adjust course or stop if necessary. Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore this guidance, which is the cause of many rear-end collisions. In almost all cases of rear-end crashes, the driver of the rear vehicle is to blame.

    Failure to Use Turn Signals

    A driver’s failure to use turn signals or hazard lights is the exception that proves the rule of rear-end liability mentioned above. If a driver intends to turn, pull over, or stop, there is little way that drivers in the area will be able to tell without the use of turn lights. This is one of the few limited examples where the forward driver in a rear-end collision will be at fault.

    Distracted Driving

    All drivers must keep their eyes on the road at all times. Dangers on the road can arise in less than a second. A driver who takes their eyes off the road to text, read emails, or use their smartphone deprives themselves of the necessary time to react and avoid a dangerous collision. Not only is texting while driving a crime in Albany, but it is also evidence of fault for causing a car accident.


    Speed limits exist for a reason. They inform the driver who is unfamiliar with the area they are in how fast they can reasonably go while retaining the ability to react to turns or changes in traffic patterns. A driver that travels above the speed limit reduces their reaction time and amplifies the potential harm that an accident could cause.


    Albany gets a substantial amount of inclement weather every year. However, just because the roads are icy does not mean every driver has an excuse. It is every driver’s responsibility to adjust their driving practices when operating during inclement weather conditions or while there are hazardous road conditions that could hinder braking ability or cause hydroplaning.

    Drunk Driving

    Though it may be apparent that a driver who is intoxicated while on the road is nearly always the at-fault party in causing an accident, it still bears mentioning, as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is the leading cause of fatal accidents above any other negligent driving practice throughout the country. If the other driver caused your accident while drunk or high behind the wheel, you could seek additional punitive damages, which might not be available in other cases.

    Determining if You Can Sue for an Albany Car Accident

    The first step in identifying your path to recovery is determining who was at fault for causing the accident and why. But before you proceed directly to filing a lawsuit, you should take note of New York’s no-fault insurance laws.

    Essentially, New York makes a car accident injury victim’s own insurance coverage their primary and exclusive method of recourse for obtaining compensation after an accident. In other words, most accident injury victims must go through their own insurer rather than filing a lawsuit, even if another driver was to blame.

    However, this does not apply if the victim suffered “serious” injuries in the accident. Every injury is different, but New York provides particular laws about what situations meet the threshold to step outside the no-fault insurance period.

    Generally, a serious injury will partially or fully disable a victim for at least 90 days. This 90-day period must occur within the 180 days immediately following the accident. Many common examples of injuries that will be considered “serious” include significant disfigurements, loss of limb or bodily function, and limitations to bodily systems, among other significant losses.

    We recommend that you reach out to a car accident attorney to assess whether the injuries you sustained open the door to filing a lawsuit, as this can be a much better path to recovery. While recovering compensation from an insurance claim is generally easier (as you do not have to prove fault), you are bound by your insurance policy’s coverage limits.

    If successful in an insurance claim, you still will not be able to recover on any theories other than medical expenses and lost income, even though there are many other ways that your injuries could affect you.

    When You Must Submit Your Case for a Car Accident in Albany

    If you have a legal claim for damages after an accident, you have a limited time to meet with a lawyer and prepare your case. The statute of limitations that sets the deadline for personal injury cases in New York, including those for car accidents, is found under C.V.P. Law § 214. Under this law, you have 3 years from the date of the collision to file your case in court.

    On the one hand, 3 years probably sounds like a long time to get your case ready. On the other hand, there is a lot to consider and work through before your case can be filed, and time is shorter than you might think. Naturally, you might want some time to recover from your injuries and consider your legal options before pursuing a case. As described above, many injured plaintiffs go through the insurance process first and then begin a lawsuit.

    Once you are ready to begin preparing your case, our car accident lawyers need to comb through the various details and evidence of the accident. This takes time. It is not unusual for plaintiffs and their lawyers to spend months preparing the case before even drafting the initial complaint.

    If the deadline to file your case has passed, you might be unable to bring the claim at all. Unless very special exceptions allow you to toll the statute of limitations and extend the deadline, you could be out of luck. Speak to our team about this, and we can help you figure out if you have more time or if you can look into other options for compensation.

    Damages Recoverable in Albany Car Accident Cases

    If you end up taking your car accident to court, you must talk to your lawyer about the extent of your damages. Your damages should accurately reflect the pain, severity, and cost of your injuries. While some damages are more obvious and tend to take focus (e.g., large medical bills), there might be numerous other smaller damages that are easy to overlook but add up to substantial compensation.

    Among your larger damages are likely your hospital expenses and damage to your car. Medical bills are infamous for being costly. Even people who go to the emergency room for common ailments like minor fractures or lacerations might walk out with bills worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If your injuries from the accident required more extensive care, your bills might be completely off the charts.

    Vehicle damage is also very expensive to deal with. For some, the repairs take months to complete and cost thousands of dollars. For others, their car is totally wrecked, and a new vehicle is their only option. If they can get a new vehicle – insurance might help – they might still be left with high costs and insurance deductibles. If they cannot afford a new vehicle, they must go without.

    Where Do I Find Evidence for My Car Accident Case in Albany?

    Evidence to support your case should be obtained as soon as possible. If we do not move quickly, evidence might be lost, and proving your claims in court might be much harder. An excellent place to start is the scene of the crash. If your accident happened several weeks or even only days ago, the scene has probably been cleared away, and much physical evidence is likely gone. However, if you took photos and videos at the accident scene right after the crash, those recordings might contain very important details we can use as evidence.

    We should also scan the area around the crash for security and traffic cameras. Video footage of the collision as it happened in real time is often regarded as extremely persuasive.

    We can also talk to people who saw the accident happen. Drivers and passengers in other vehicles might have watched the accident unfold and can testify about what happened. If they saw the defendant driving recklessly or otherwise cause the accident, their testimony may be crucial to your case.

    Learn More About Your Albany Car Accident Recovery During Your First Call to The Carrion Law Firm

    When you call The Carrion Law Firm at (347) 658-1226, our dedicated car accident lawyers can provide you with a free case assessment for your first call.