Motor vehicle accidents are the second-most common causes of injury among New York residents, according to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Traffic accidents are responsible for causing more deaths and injuries leading to hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits than any other type of accident, except for slip and falls.
- Traffic Accident Injury Statistics in New York (Fast Facts)
- The 14 Most Common Car Crash Injuries in New York
- The 4 Major Types of Car Accidents in New York
- New York State Car Crash Law
- Car Crash Injury Settlements in New York
- What to Do if You’re Being Sued After a Car Accident in NY
Traffic Accident Injury Statistics in New York (Fast Facts)
An average of 1,908 New York residents die each year from fatal injuries caused by traffic accidents. This number includes:
- 292 Drivers and Passengers
- 312 Pedestrians
- 316 Unspecified Persons
- 141 Motorcyclists
- 36 Bicyclists
Satewide, an average of 12,093 New York residents are hospitalized due to traffic-related injuries each year, including:
- 6,207 Drivers and Passengers
- 3,027 Pedestrians
- 1,558 Motorcyclists
- 637 Bicyclists
- 561 Unspecified Persons
Emergency Department (ED) Visits
An average of 136,913 New York State Residents are treated and released from an emergency department each year due to traffic related injuries. This number of visitors is made up of:
- 106,612 Occupants
- 12,506 Pedestrians
- 8,455 Unspecified Persons
- 4,458 Motorcyclists
- 3,795 Bicyclists
*Data collected from the NYSDOH database
The 14 Most Common Car Crash Injuries in New York
- Back or Spine Injuries: The initial impact of a crash typically causes the body to jolt, causing severe strain and stress along the spine. This is why the most frequently-reported type of car crash injuries include torn back muscles and herniated discs.
- Neck Injuries / Whiplash: Whiplash in particular is one of the most common traffic-related accidents in New York, as the impact from a crash can cause the head to suddenly thrash and bend in different ways, causing ligaments and muscles to tear along the neck.
- Knee Injuries: It is common for drivers and front-side passengers to slam their knees into the dashboard, glove box, or steering wheel, causing severe injuries to the surrounding bones, ligaments and tendons, as well as the patella.
- Broken Bones: One of the most common, severe and long-term injuries sustained from car accidents in New York, broken bones can result from blunt force trauma, stress against the seatbelt, and from appendages being crushed between car components and/or the surrounding environment. Bones in the arms and legs are the most likely to break in a car accident, as they are the least likely to be properly protected by airbags and safety features in the event of a crash.
- Seat Belt Injuries: Seat belts are designed to protect you from fatal damage, but they can cause burns and bruises on the flesh of your torso in the event of a crash. While seat belt injuries can be severe, they are still extremely effective at preventing a wide variety of life-threatening injuries, and should be worn at all times.
- Hip Injuries: Hip injuries are a common result from accidents where victims are hit from the side, including t-bone accidents. These impacts cause the upper body to violently bend to one side, dislocating or rupturing areas surrounding the hip. Hip injuries can also result from head-on collisions where the victim’s weight shifts forward suddenly. This puts enormous strain on the lower portion of the seat belt that crosses your lap. While this keeps victims from flying through the windshield, the sudden pressure can cause severe hip injuries.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Eyes, mouth, skin and other soft tissue areas can be damaged by sharp debris, blunt force trauma, and/or burns in the events of an accident. Although not typically life-threatening, soft tissue injuries are among the most painful and long-term injuries obtained from traffic accidents in New York.
- Wrist Injuries: Wrist injuries commonly result from traffic accidents because they are often the closest parts of the body to the steering wheel airbag. When the steering wheel airbag inflates outwards, the sudden force can bend and twist the wrists in different directions, causing broken bones and/or torn muscles.
- Stomach Injuries: Most stomach injuries result from seat belt-related trauma. Such injuries can cause internal bleeding in the gut, and can take longer than other types of traffic-related injuries to detect. Pain from these can be delayed for days, to several weeks, so it’s always important to have your abdomen checked by a doctor after an accident—even if you cannot feel pain there at the moment.
- Delayed Pains or Soreness: Adrenaline can temporarily lead an individual to believe they are unharmed. Delayed pain can manifest anywhere in the body—most commonly in the head, chest, and stomach. These kinds of injuries can indicate internal hemorrhaging and other severe issues. If you feel any delayed pains after a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. What’s more, you can still be compensated for injuries detected by delayed pains, if they are directly caused by an accident.
- Nerve Damage: This occurs when deep tissues are affected by blunt force trauma during an accident. Nerves in these tissues can also be damaged by debris such as broken glass, or exposed components. Nerve damage can lead to partial or total loss of function in affected areas, either temporarily or permanently.
- Chest Pain: Chest pains are common indicators of a multitude of injuries following a car crash. Accident-related injuries causing chest pains include heart attacks, panic attacks, bruises on the rib cage or abdomen, broken ribs, or more. Similar to stomach injuries, chest pains can also arise days to weeks after an accident, depending on the type of injury causing the pain.
- Emotional Suffering: Emotional pain caused by traffic accidents can cause victims to become uncharacteristically fearful, angry and melancholy. Drastic mood swings, rapid changes in temperament and depression can also be indicators of traumatic brain injuries resulting from a prior car accident.
- Psychological Trauma: Psychological trauma is nearly universal among survivors of car accidents, and is not dependent on how severe a particular accident may be. All it takes is one minor accident to develop an association between driving and fear, pain, and sadness, which can develop into severe cases of mental trauma if not addressed by a professional.
The 4 Major Types of Car Accidents in New York
Different types of car accidents bring higher risks of certain injuries, and can determine who may or may not be at fault for the collision. Below are four major types of car crashes you might experience on the road.
*Based on data collected from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA).
The NHSA estimates that over 2 million rear-end collisions occur each year, making them one of the most common types of accidents in the nation.
A rear-end crash can result in several kinds of injuries, but victims are particularly vulnerable to neck or back injuries. Damage to the spine or temporary or permanent paralysis can also occur depending on the severity of the collision and whether the occupant was wearing their seat belt.
Typically, the driver who collided with the car ahead is held liable for causing the collision. In most cases, the driver in front will be eligible for compensation. However, if a car in front stops short out of aggression or spite, and doesn’t give the car behind enough space to stop in time, then blame for the resulting collision may shift.
T-bone crashes occur when the front of one car hits the side of another. These are most commonly caused by the impacting vehicle running a red light or stop sign, or by distracted driving. The driver who does not yield to the legal right of way, or makes an illegal break through an intersection will most likely be the one held accountable for the accident, although the blame may shift depending on the court’s interpretation of events.
In 2014, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated that about 25% of all traffic deaths in that year were caused by these types of collisions. Common injuries from t-bone crashes include whiplash, internal bleeding, spinal injuries, head injuries, and punctured ear drums.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Drunk driving accidents account for a high percentage of overall traffic accidents in New York. Official New York State government data reports that nearly 8,947 accidents were caused or contributed to by alcohol in 2018 alone.
Drunk driving accidents occur when one or more individuals are impaired by alcohol, and can’t pay attention to the road and other safety conditions. This can lead to several impact types, and is one of the leading causes of pedestrian injuries in New York.
New York State allows a blood alcohol percentage (BAC) of up to 0.18% while driving. For reference, one drink typically gives you a BAC of 0.20%. If authorities find you to have a BAC over 0.18%, not only are you highly likely to be held liable for any accident, but NYS DUI laws also require you to pay a minimum of $1,000 in fines (maximum $2,500 for a first DUI offense). Repercussions are likely to include a jail sentence for up to one year, and a one-year license revocation.
Late-night crashes can be particularly damaging when visibility is low, and awareness is naturally lesser than during the day. According to the New York State Traffic Safety Statistical Repository (TSSR), over 4,000 people fell asleep right before their accident, in 2018.
Drowsy driving is one of the most dangerous situations that drivers can put themselves and others in. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), driving while tired is just as—if not more—dangerous than driving while intoxicated, and similarly:
- Slows reaction times,
- Impairs ability to make good decisions,
- And lowers awareness of other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
If your driving is impaired due to tiredness for any reason, authorities can determine that you pose a danger to yourself and others on the road, and hold you accountable for any resulting crash. Even if there isn’t an accident, police officers are trained to notice impaired driving, and may arrest you after determining you are driving while drowsy.
If you are driving and you notice that you’re getting tired, pull over at the nearest stop and rest until you are awake enough to drive safely. Failing to do so can result in fatal consequences for yourself and others, for which you will be held accountable in a court of law.
New York State Car Crash Law
Understanding car crash laws in New York is critical if you want to build a successful case, and maximize your compensation for your injuries.
No-Fault Accidents / Collisions
New York is a no-fault car insurance state. This means that all individuals injured in a car accident must file a claim under their personal injury protection insurance to get compensation for financial losses or medical bills. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident.
This also means that you cannot normally sue someone for causing a car accident, unless you meet at least one of the following two New York State requirements:
1. You are considered “seriously injured” by New York State. You can press charges toward the individual responsible for your accident if you are considered by New York to be “seriously injured.” According to the New York Insurance Laws Section 5102(d), qualifying “serious injuries” include:
- Significant disfigurement
- A fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
A medically-determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature is also considered a “serious injury” by NYS if it “…prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”
2. The cost of your injuries exceed NY’s “no-fault threshold.” New York’s no-fault threshold is $50,000. If the expenses relating to your injury, pain and suffering exceed this amount, you can then step outside New York’s no-fault laws, and file a personal injury lawsuit. If you and your personal injury attorney can prove the other driver’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation.
Keep in mind that even if you aren’t determined to be “seriously injured” by New York state, you can still file a claim against the at-fault driver if your expenses exceed the no-fault threshold. Expenses covered by New York’s no-fault system include:
- All costs of medical treatment associated with the car accident, including psychiatric treatment and physical therapy
- Lost earnings up to $2,000 per month for up to 3 years
- Other expenses that are tied to the accident and your injuries, up to $25 per day, for up to one year after the accident
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in New York
New York’s statute of limitations for car accidents allows you to file a claim for up to three years following an accident. If you do not file a claim with a court in this time frame, your case will not be accepted. However, if an injury did not manifest until after the date of the original accident, the three-year statute of limitations will begin on the date that the injury is detected.
Pure Comparative Fault Rule in NY
By default, New York settles car accident disputes with a “pure comparative fault” rule, in which both parties typically share some of the blame for an accident. The jury for a case will calculate the total dollar amount of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages and the fault percentage that belongs to both parties.
In this case, if you’re in a car accident and the individual driving the other car is found to be 50% at fault, they will be responsible for 50% of your damages. The reverse can also be true; the other driver can also claim you were at fault, requiring you to pay a certain percentage of their damages.
For instances like these, it is always wise to have a specialized NY car accident lawyer to represent you in court, and persuade the jury that you are less at-fault for the crash than the opposing driver.
Car Crash Injury Settlements in New York
It’s common for car accident cases to be settled rather than go to trial in New York. While compensation is commonly offered insurance companies as a way to quickly settle accident cases outside of court, it is often wise to reject it.
The amounts of such offers are frequently many times smaller than the settlement amounts reached after finding legal representation, and negotiating compensation in court. Getting proper legal help is the first step every car accident survivor should take to avoid getting swindled by insurance companies, and maximize your compensation.
Typical Settlement Amounts for Car Accident Lawsuits in NY
However, cases that do go to trial—such as personal injury lawsuits—will include attorneys fighting for maximized compensation for the injured party. Expenses covered by these kinds of car accident lawsuits can include:
- The percentage of fault determined by court
- Finding evidence for fault and damages
- What insurance covers for both parties
- Car repair costs
- Medical bills in the past and future relating to your injury
- Abstract costs for pain and suffering, including mental or emotional trauma
- Lost wages from time away from work
In total, compensation can range from hundreds, to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the total calculated damages. To receive your maximum possible payout, you need to have skilled car crash representation working for you in and out of court.
If you would like to discuss the entire legal process involved in your case, call (855) 468-7626 for a free consultation with a New York car accident lawyer.
According to New York Law, you cannot bring a lawsuit toward another individual if you are not seriously injured because of the accident. Even if your car is totaled, you will not be able to receive compensation from them and must rely on your own insurance coverage to handle any costs.
However, if the total costs of managing your pain and suffering exceed $50,000, you can still file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. These expenses must relate directly to services acquired directly relating to your accident, including therapy for psychological or emotional trauma.
You can file a lawsuit for delayed injuries even if you have passed the normal limit established by the statute of limitations. However, you may need a skilled attorney to bring your case to court and prove that your injuries were caused by the past accident.
What to Do if You’re Being Sued After a Car Accident in NY
If you’re being sued after a car accident, you must get an effective defense attorney ASAP. New York car accident defense attorneys will be able to help you set up the strongest case possible to prove that you were at minimal fault for the accident. They can also help ensure that your payout to the at-fault driver is as small as possible, and/or prevent the case from reaching the payout stage entirely.
Car Crash Injury Attorneys in New York
The car accident attorneys Sobo & Sobo have decades of experience helping injured drivers maximize their settlement amounts, and get the justice they deserve. Call them at (855) 468-7626 for a free consultation, and ask them how they can ensure that you receive the compensation needed to move on and heal from the incident.