Rochester Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are a leading cause of personal injury every year, and Rochester is no exception. Aggressive driving, tailgating, texting, weather, and drunk driving are common culprits, and you could find yourself dealing with a serious condition that requires costly treatment and a long recovery period.
To help you handle this process, you should be aware of all of your legal options. While New York’s no-fault rules limit many victims to making an insurance claim, some serious injuries permit the victim to sue the at-fault party.
To find out more about your options during a free first-time case assessment, reach out to the experienced Rochester car accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm by calling our office line at (718) 841-0083 today.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Rochester
Drivers in Rochester are used to seeing all sorts of behavior behind the wheel from their fellow motorists. Below are some of the situations that frequently may lead to car accidents and lawsuits.
Drivers who become impatient or frustrated behind the wheel may run traffic lights, engage in erratic lane changes without signaling, and take other risky actions that can make the roads and highways more dangerous for everyone. This is particularly relevant in high-traffic areas, which usually get worse during rush hour.
Speed limits exist for a reason. Drivers must be traveling at an appropriate rate of speed to account for turns and stops. Not only does a speeding driver increase the chances of an accident, but they also elevate the likelihood of substantial injury that might result from a collision. If a driver was traveling above the applicable speed limit at the time of the accident, this is a good sign that they are at fault for causing the crash and consequential harms.
Drivers who let their focus drift put others in harm’s way. The most common culprit for distracting a driver is the smartphone. Though drivers know it is wrong and irresponsible, many still choose to text or post on social media while behind the wheel. Texting while driving is illegal in New York. More importantly for you, it creates liability for the distracted driver if they cause an accident as a result.
It is naturally harder to drive when inclement weather causes slick driving surfaces and decreases visibility. However, just because weather conditions played a role in the accident does not mean that all drivers are free of liability. Drivers in Rochester are responsible for making adjustments to their driving behavior to account for how these weather conditions might affect their ability to safely operate their vehicle.
Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous causes of fatal accidents in the State of New York and the country as a whole. As such, drivers who engage in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will almost assuredly be liable for any accident in which they are involved.
No-Fault Car Accident Insurance Rules in Rochester
The State of New York follows a unique rule about how car accident victims can recover for their injuries sustained in accidents. Unlike the many states that use an at-fault system, New York uses a no-fault system, which does not necessarily assign blame to any party for causing an accident initially. This makes it easier for car accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries. However, the tradeoff is that the victim must go through their own insurance company to get this compensation, even if another driver’s negligence was to blame.
This rule does have an exception, however. If the injuries you sustained in the accident meet the threshold of being considered “serious” in New York, you can step outside the exclusive remedy of your own insurance coverage by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
New York Insurance Law § 5102 (d) lays out the definition of what types of injuries will be considered sufficiently “serious” for the victim to pursue money damages in court, rather than simply through a claim filed with an insurance carrier. The traditional criterion for determining whether a car accident injury meets the threshold is where the condition prevents the injured person from performing the material acts of their customary daily activities. This must last for at least 90 days of the 180 days immediately following the accident.
Common examples of “serious” injuries under New York law include dismemberment, disfigurement, bone fractures, miscarriage, or loss of the use of any limb, organ, or bodily system. A car accident that results in death is also grounds for a lawsuit, but this is usually pursued through a wrongful death lawsuit, which is a different type of action than a personal injury lawsuit.
When to Contact a Rochester Car Accident Attorney
If you were recently involved in a car accident and sustained injuries that you believe entitle you to compensation, you should look to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You should not worry about getting representation before having your injuries tended to by a medical professional. However, once you are out of immediate danger, you can benefit from the services of a Rochester car accident lawyer early on in the process.
This starts with communicating with the insurance company, a potentially problematic undertaking that could result in you making statements against your own interest or accepting an unfair settlement offer. Your attorney can also present you with your options of filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit and provide you with estimates of how much you stand to recover.
In any case, you should contact your Rochester car accident lawyer well in advance of the statutory deadline for filing. Under New York’s statute of limitations, car accident injury plaintiffs only have three years from the date of the accident to file their formal complaint in the appropriate court. By enlisting the help of an attorney early on, you minimize the chances that your recovery could be challenged by such procedural deadlines.
Get Seasoned Legal Advice on Your Rochester Car Accident Injuries from The Carrion Law Firm
When you call the dedicated Rochester car accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm at our offices today at (718) 841-0083, you can get a free initial case assessment.