Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, L.L.P.

Upstate New York Car Accident

Cars are the most commonly used medium of transportation in our world today. Consequently, there are a great number of risks associated with their usage. Failure to abide by traffic regulations, technical faults with cars and sometimes sheer bad luck can cause car accidents that can have profound impacts on the victim and his or her family. Victims of car accidents may sustain a number of physical injuries including, but not limited to, broken bones, amputations, brain damages, burns and internal bleeding.

In accordance with a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 37,261 motorists lost their lives in fatal traffic accidents around the country in 2008. In the case that an individual has sustained an injury in a car accident, he or she may be eligible for recoup compensation for the damages sustained. In the case the car accident proves to be fatal, the families of victims can recoup compensation through a wrongful death case. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our attorneys have been dealing with auto accident cases for over fifty years and are well experienced in the respective field. We understand the emotional and financial hardships that are caused by such accidents, and while we cannot alleviate the pain and suffering you, or your loved one, have undergone, we can attempt to ease the transition process by pursuing maximum compensation on behalf of you in Court. However, we understand that the lawsuit is not just about monetary compensation but also about resorting a sense of justice and accountability in society.

Causes of Upstate New York Car Accidents

Car accidents in upstate New York can result due to a multitude of factors. However, not every injury that results from a car accident presents grounds for a valid lawsuit. Individuals may have grounds for valid car accident lawsuit in the case that the injuries they sustained were due to any of the following factors:

  • Driver was inattentive behind the wheel
  • Driver was talking on the phone or texting while driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Failure to signal while changing lanes
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Failure to yield
  • Presence of roadways defects, such as poor design or negligent management
  • The vehicle had a manufacturing defect that caused the accident

While all of the aforementioned factors are the result of negligence, they do not necessarily present grounds for a valid lawsuit. In order to have a valid lawsuit, it must be proven that the negligence of the allegedly responsible party caused the accident in question. Irrespective of whether the driver acted negligently, if their negligent actions did not directly cause the accident, they cannot be held liable. Additionally, the sustained injuries must also have causes economic or monetary damages as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

The nature of the accident largely determines the extent of the injuries sustained by the victim. Small accidents can result in minor injuries such as bruises, lacerations, or broken bones. Major car accidents, however, can have life-long consequences for victims, such as brain damage or death. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our attorneys represent individuals who have sustained minor or major injuries resulting from car accidents, including, but not limited to:

  • Spinal cord damage
  • Amputations
  • Brain damage
  • Neck injuries
  • Burns
  • Severe head injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Wrongful death
New York Law Protects Car Accident Victims' Rights Even When a Driver Lacks Proper Insurance

In some cases where a car accident is the result of one individual's negligence, the negligent party does not have proper insurance. An uninsured motor vehicle is defined as one whose owner is (1) a financially irresponsible motorist and (2) is unknown and cannot be identified. Motorists are considered financially irresponsible when the owner, operator, or other person legally responsible for the operation of the motor vehicle failed to have a valid and collectible policy of bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance following an accident, which resulted in personal injury or death. In many instances, the owner of a vehicle that causes an accident is unknown and cannot be identified. Under these situations, the vehicle that caused the accident would be considered an uninsured vehicle. As a result, the uninsured motorist coverage of your car insurance policy would be triggered and available to compensate you for your injuries. Thus, even though you may not have caused the accident, and the offending vehicle may have violated the law by not having a valid insurance policy or fled the scene of the accident, you would still have a claim as against your own insurance company to collect compensation for your bodily injuries. Further, pursuant to New York law this uninsured insurance coverage is also available to all family members that reside in your household; anyone who is listed as a driver on your policy; and all occupants of your vehicle when an accident occurs. The uninsured and underinsured coverage can be purchased from the insurance company with limits that are equal to the amount of the liability or bodily injury coverage. For instance, if your policy has liability/bodily injury coverage in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, the uninsured and underinsured coverage can be purchased to have the same limits.

Underinsured or Supplementary Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage also provides critical protection to New Yorkers injured in an accident due to a negligent driver of an underinsured vehicle. An underinsured vehicle is one that carries an insurance policy with bodily injury liability limits that are not enough to compensate you for the serious injuries that you sustained in the accident. For example, someone suffering injuries and damages valued at $100,000, from an accident with a vehicle that is only covered by the New York statutory minimum coverage of $25,000, would only be able to recover $25,000 from the responsible party. Therefore, under this circumstance the offending vehicle is considered underinsured. Under New York law an injured person can make a claim for additional compensation against his own insurance carrier, or the carrier of the car he or she was in when the accident occurred pursuant to Underinsured or Supplementary Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage that exceed the limits of the offending vehicle or party. If there was an applicable insurance policy that provided Underinsured or Supplementary Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage, with limits up to $100,000, the injured person would then be entitled under the law to file a claim to make up the difference up to the limits of this coverage. That is, the injured person would be entitled to an additional $75,000 as further compensation for the bodily injuries sustained in the car accident. There are specific time limitations within which claims for Underinsured or Supplementary Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage, as against the insurance company, must be made. There are also specific insurance company requirements that have to be met and documents that have to be provided in order to have a valid claim. Therefore, in order to maximize the available compensation for your bodily injuries following a car accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible who will investigate and determine whether there is applicable and valid Underinsured or Supplementary Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage and, if so, timely file the appropriate claim forms and provide the necessary documents so as not to jeopardize any of your rights under New York law.

No-Fault Claims and Compensation for Auto Accident Victims

Every car insurance policy in New York State provides for a minimum of $50,000 in no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. In New York, the car insurance policy that covers the vehicle you are operating, or are a passenger in, provides the no-fault coverage in the event of an accident. Also, if you are a pedestrian injured in a car accident, the insurance policy of the car that struck you is obligated to provide you with no fault benefits, even if the other vehicle, or the pedestrian, was primarily or even 100% responsible for causing the accident. No-fault benefits include and provide all necessary medical expenses incurred, including hospital bills, any necessary surgeries, nursing care, dental procedures, ambulance trips, x-rays, prescriptions for medication and prosthetic devices. Benefits also include the cost of any psychiatric, physical therapy and occupational therapy and rehabilitation. No-fault benefits cover loss of earnings up to $2,000 per month, and all other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred up to $25 per day, for household help and for transportation to and from medical appointments. In order to be eligible for these benefits, an application must be signed and filed with the appropriate insurance company within thirty (30) days of the accident. A failure to timely file an application may well jeopardize your rights to these benefits. Therefore, it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible following your car accident to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to under the law.

New York State Requires Individuals to Purchase Liability/Bodily Injury Insurance to Protect Drivers, Passengers, Other Motorists, and Pedestrians in the Event of a Car Accident

Every car insurance policy, as mandated by New York law, provides minimum limits of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in liability or bodily injury coverage. These requirements mean that any one individual injured in an accident may collect no more than $25,000 from the insurance carrier of the owner or driver of the car that caused the accident. It also means that that the insurance carrier is only obligated to pay up to a total of $50,000 no matter how many people are injured in the accident and have suffered bodily injuries. New York car insurance policies must also provide for a minimum death benefit of $50,000 in the unfortunate event that someone is killed in a car accident. It should also be noted that New York's mandatory insurance amounts differ when it comes to for-hire transportation. Vehicles for hire, such as a yellow taxi cab, black car, limousine or other livery vehicles, that are licensed to operate in New York City, are required by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to be insured with liability/bodily injury limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

The aforementioned insurance requirements are merely the minimum insurance coverage amounts or limits for liability or bodily injury that New York law requires for privately owned or for-hire automobiles. Many vehicle owners in New York choose to insure their vehicle and themselves with significantly higher liability/bodily injury insurance coverage limits that would be available to compensate someone that is injured in a car accident. Also, most commercial, business and company owned vehicles have insurance policies with liability or bodily injury limits that far exceed the New York State minimums and often provide up to $1 million or more in coverage. As a result, it is extremely important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible who will investigate and determine the type and amount of liability/bodily injury coverage that may be available as compensation for your injuries.

Contact Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool Today

The complex and nuanced nature of car accident litigation requires that you retain the services of a skilled attorney. The attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool have been defending the rights of car accident victims for the last five decades. Our firm will handle all aspects of the legal proceedings including, but not limited to, pictures of the scene of the accident, interviewing witnesses, reviewing police and medical records and retaining expert victims to corroborate the claims. Our attorneys understand the hardships associated with undergoing such an accident. Thus, we pursue maximum compensation it Court to ensure that you receive the monetary assistance you require to transition through this extremely difficult period. Our attorneys have excelled at proving liability and have secured many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in auto cases.

In the case that you, or a loved one, have sustained an injury in car accident contact our New York law office at 212.406.1700 today in order to schedule a free consultation. We operate on a contingent fees basis; this means that no monetary compensation is required from you until and unless we are able to secure a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf.

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