What is the Impact of Speeding on Car Accident Claims in New York?
Car accidents can happen for many reasons, but one of the main reasons that car accidents happen across the country is because of speeding drivers. Speeding is a dangerous activity, and for that reason, every state has speed limits and penalties for driving over the speed limit. When you are involved in a car accident lawsuit where one or more drivers disregard the speed limit is at issue, speeding becomes an important pillar of the case for both the plaintiff and the defendant.
Speeding will have different impacts on a car accident lawsuit depending on whether the plaintiff or the defendant was speeding. If the plaintiff was speeding, the defendant may try and use that to either vindicate themselves from fault or diminish the damages they should award to the plaintiff. On the other hand, if the plaintiff is alleging that the defendant was speeding, they will have to show evidence supporting that claim to help prove the defendant’s liability.
For a free analysis of your claim, call our New York car accident lawyers from the Carrion Law Firm at the number (718) 841-0083.
The Impact of Speeding on a New York Car Accident Claim
Speeding can have varying effects on a New York car accident claim. Those effects will depend on the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your particular case. For example, our Staten Island car accident lawyers will need to employ different legal strategies for if the other driver was speeding as opposed to if you were speeding. We’ll go into some of the different impacts speeding could have on your car accident claim below.
If the Plaintiff Was Speeding
If you were the one speeding when your car accident happened, that fact could be used by the defense to hurt your case, even if the defendant is ultimately found responsible for the accident. New York uses a system called “comparative negligence.” What this means is that if the court finds that you were partially negligent and that contributed to your accident happening in some way, the defense can ask for your damages to be reduced by a certain amount. For example, if you were going over the speed limit but the defendant ran a red light and t-boned your vehicle, the defendant could argue that your speeding made the accident happen to some extent. Damages are reduced based on the percentage of fault. For example, if you were 30% at fault for the accident, you would get 30% less damages. If a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, they cannot recover any damages.
If the Defendant was Speeding
If you are alleging that the defendant was speeding and that their speeding helped cause your accident, you need to prove it in court. Just like with any factor that you can point to as contributing to a car accident, you need to show evidence that it happened. This could be through eyewitness testimony, readings potentially stored within the car’s systems, a readout from a police officer’s radar gun, or, ideally, all of the above.
If Both Parties were Speeding
If both parties were speeding, then both the plaintiff and the defendant will need to prove that the adverse party was speeding. It is up to the jury to examine any evidence presented and come to reasonable conclusions. If both parties were speeding, the likely outcome is that the defendant is held liable, but your damages will be reduced because you were speeding, too.
Speeding in New York Car Accident Insurance Claims
The courtroom is not the only place where speeding may have an impact on your situation. If you are negotiating with either your insurance company or the company of the driver responsible for the accident, speeding can play a role in how the insurance company treats your claim.
Dealing with Your Own Insurance Company
For most car accidents in New York, your own insurance will have your back and work with you to provide some coverage. However, it is important to note that insurance companies do not necessarily enjoy paying out their policies, so they will try and exculpate themselves from having to pay if you give them a reason. Therefore, it is important to be careful when interacting with your insurance company after an accident in which you were speeding or, ideally, have our Manhattan car accident lawyers interact with them on your behalf.
Additionally, your insurance costs are likely to go up if you are speeding.
Dealing with Other Insurance Companies
If you are dealing with other insurance companies after you were speeding, you need to be even more on guard. Unlike your own insurance company, with whom you have signed an agreement, other insurance companies want to avoid providing coverage for your injuries at all costs. Their job is to cover their policyholders, not you.
In New York, your insurance will automatically cover your injuries. However, things are different if you become “seriously injured.” If you meet the definition of “serious injuries,” you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance for damages not covered by your own insurance. This or a lawsuit is also the only way to get pain and suffering damages.
Talking to another insurance company can lead to some problems. For example, if you inform someone else’s insurance company that you were speeding, they may initially deny coverage. This can happen even if the defendant will ultimately be found liable in court, and can be problematic for plaintiffs because it delays the process of getting much-needed compensation to deal with their injuries and recovery.
Again, it is advisable to have our lawyers talk to insurance companies instead of doing so yourself.
Have a Chat with Our New York Car Accident Lawyers
The Carrion Law Firm’s Hempstead car accident lawyers are ready to give free case analyses when you call us at (718) 841-0083.