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Car Accidents in New York City: Statistics & Lawsuit Settlements

Car Accident Settlements in NYC: Averages and Statistics

Auto injury settlements in New York City tend to be higher compared to neighboring areas due to its high cost of living. This resource offers recent settlement examples from auto accident lawsuits throughout the city, providing insight into potential outcomes based on different accident scenarios and factors. However, it’s important to understand that every injury case is unique, and individual circumstances greatly influence the resolution. The best way to get an accurate estimation of any injury settlement would be to discuss the specifics of a case with a dedicated car accident attorney in an initial consultation.

NYC Auto Accident Statistics

The New York City Open Data portal breaks down the city’s collision data borough by borough. It demonstrates which areas are higher risk for car accidents. Since January 2020, the number of motor vehicle collisions occurred in each borough are:

  • Brooklyn: 26,425
  • Queens: 21,447
  • Bronx: 14,821
  • Manhattan: 11,191
  • Staten Island: 2,493

Further, NYPD Traffic Statistics breaks down which types of accidents are most prevalent in each area. This information is important for understanding the complex range of settlement values since different accidents result in varying degrees of injury, ultimately having a direct impact on compensation. 

Overall, a few collision types represent the majority of those occurring in NYC, even though many go unreported and uncategorized. The main types of collisions that New Yorkers should be cautious of are:

  • Sideswipe collisions
  • Rear-end collisions
  • T-bone collisions

Sideswipe Accidents in NYC

The most reported collisions in New York City are side swipes. Sideswipes accidents often involve the sides of two or more cars colliding regardless of the direction they were traveling, but many occur when the cars are traveling in the same direction. Sideswipes can also be single-car accidents that collide with pedestrian or cyclist victims. The common causes are:

  • Failing to check lanes before merging
  • Operating large or wide vehicles without extra caution
  • Swerving to avoid a road hazard
  • Aggressively swerving in and out of lanes
  • Distracted driving

Sideswipe collisions occur more frequently than any other type of crashes in both the inner and outer lanes. Large vehicles such as tractor trailers are often involved: about 45% of all truck-related crashes are categorized as sideswipe collisions. One study found the truck at fault in over half of car-truck sideswipe collisions. 

Dangerous Areas for Sideswipe Collisions in NYC

Many sideswipe collisions occur where two lanes merge, such as when a two-lane road narrows to just one lane or when a ramp leads to a highway. Other dangerous locations for these accidents are anywhere cyclists are expected to share roadways without protected bike lanes. The following are examples of dangerous areas for this type of accident, particularly as a pedestrian or cyclist:

  • Neptune Avenue (Brooklyn): This road is short in length but has more deaths per mile than any other road in Brooklyn. There are two lanes in each direction, an unprotected bike lane and irregular/confusing markings. If possible, avoid this strip since congestion influences heavy, unorganized traffic prone to sideswipes. Most recent data shows there was just shy of 300 injuries within 5 years and 3 pedestrian deaths since 2007. 
  • Chrystie Street & Delancey Street (Manhattan): A huge design flaw of Chrystie Street is that it has a two-way bike lane with the lane closest to traffic riding against traffic flow. This intersection accommodates heavy car and bus travel to and from the Williamsburg Bridge. This is a dangerous combination for aggressive drivers who rush and swerve through traffic.
  • Castleton Avenue and Clove Road (Staten Island): With 3 reported injuries within 4 years, this intersection is one of Staten Island’s most dangerous. This intersection is particularly hazardous for cyclist and pedestrian sideswipe accidents. The street is painted to allow bicycles and cars to share lanes in either direction, the city decided to use Clove Road as a bike route. However, bicyclists are constantly at risk without a separated or protected bike lane and should avoid this roadway.

NYC Sideswipe Settlements

Since often occurring as a minor event when one vehicle sideswiped a parked vehicle, sideswipes aren’t always considered serious crashes. However, they can result in devastating injuries, especially to pedestrian and cyclist victims who lack the protection of being inside a vehicle. Victims of these accidents may suffer injuries ranging from tears and broken bones to brain or spinal cord injuries. 

Like all personal injuries, severity is a key factor in determining settlement value.  Some examples of actual and serious sideswipe injury settlements (not represented by Sobo & Sobo but in the public record) include:

  • $200,000 awarded to a 28-year-old victim who was hit on the side of her sedan by a box truck. She was stopped at a red light when the trust proceeded through the intersection. She sustained tears in her shoulder and required surgery.
  • $1,075,000 awarded to a 24-year-old victim who was a back seat passenger in a cab when the vehicle was sideswiped by a stretch limousine trying to make a turn. He suffered a herniated disc to his neck and required surgery.
  • $2,500,000 awarded to a driver who was sideswiped at the intersection of Hemlock street and Fulton Street in Brooklyn. The victim’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle trying to leave a parking space. The impact caused the plaintiff to strike his head against the window, sustaining herniated discs in his cervical and lumbar spine that required surgery and extensive physical therapy.

*These cases are intended to provide general figures for informational purposes and are not meant to guarantee the value of any case.

Rear-End Accidents in NYC

Often in the blink of an eye, rear-end accidents occur when one vehicle collides with the rear-end of the vehicle in front of it. On busy New York City streets, these types of accidents are a regular occurrence. Rear-end accidents aren’t always just small fender benders that cause little damage or injury; they can be extremely serious collisions that result in severe injury. Some leading causes of these collisions are:

  • Tailgating: Research shows that tailgating is a contributing factor in more than one third of all roadway accidents
  • Distracted and/or reckless driving
  • Driver fatigue or driver impairment
  • Inclement weather: Even the best of drivers in NYC know that severe weather conditions can greatly affect vehicle operation for the worst

The most common injuries associated with rear-end accidents are neck injuries, including whiplash. These types of injuries can lead to chronic, debilitating conditions that often necessitate continuous medical treatment. Several other injuries rear-end victims often sustain are: 

It takes no time at all for an unfocused driver to cause a collision that results in serious and lasting effects on others. 

Dangerous Areas for Rear End Collisions in NYC

On New York’s roads full of rushed, distracted drivers, rear-end accidents are inevitable. Stop-and-go traffic is a recipe for disaster when drivers let their attention drift away from the road, if even for a moment, causing a rear-end crash. Certain roadway designs and traffic conditions make some areas prone to these accidents, such as the following:

  • 58th Street and Roosevelt Avenue (Queens): This intersection experienced 12 injuries from 2014-2018, making it the 14th most dangerous intersection in the city. Traffic here is notoriously unpredictable due to motor vehicle flow from Woodside Avenue connecting with this intersection. 
  • White Plains Road (Bronx): This road is one of the Bronx’s most dangerous streets with more traffic deaths and severe injuries than 90% of the other streets in the borough. The Department of Transportation studied the street and found that between 48-68% of drivers were speeding (which is also the leading cause of fatal crashes in NYC). This concourse should be avoided whenever possible, as it’s known for backed-up traffic and horn-honking frustrated drivers, especially in the shopping districts and major highway intersections.

NYC Rear End Settlements

Even at low speeds, rear-end accidents can cause whiplash and soft tissue injuries. At high speeds, they can result in severe spinal cord and brain injuries, and unfortunately, wrongful death. They are typically the fault of the trailing driver. Past settlements achieved for rear-end accidents in NYC (not represented by Sobo & Sobo but in the public record) include:

  • $150,000 on behalf of a 54-year-old man who was rear-ended in the Bronx and sustained injuries to his neck, back, and right knee, which required surgery to repair. At trial, opposing lawyers argued that the injured knee predated the accident. Ultimately, the jury found his injuries directly related to the accident and awarded him with $100,000 for past pain and suffering and an additional $50,000 for future pain and suffering.
  • $250,000 awarded to a 55-year-old union worker who was rear-ended while transporting material on the Staten Island Expressway. The victim suffered a shoulder tear and was also compensation through the Worker’s Compensation Board
  • $1,000,000 on behalf of a 42-year-old driver who was rear-ended in Midtown, causing an aggravation of a pre-existing back condition that resulted in further surgery. 

*These cases are intended to provide general figures for informational purposes and are not meant to guarantee the value of any case.

There is no set average for specific types of accidents, but severity of injury and recovery time clearly play a key role in determining value. The best way to assess a value of any potential claim is to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who will fight for maximum compensation. 

T-Bone Accidents in NYC

T-bone accidents, or side impact accidents, are among the most serious car accidents that can occur. The sides of vehicles offer significantly less protection from impact than the front or rear of a car. This kind of accident occurs at intersections where lanes of traffic run perpendicular to one another and cross. In New York City, T-bone accidents mostly happen when one or more drivers ignore traffic signals or fail to yield the right of way.

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 96% of intersection crashes are caused by driver error. Common causes include:

  • Not adequately looking before turning
  • Turning with an obstructed view
  • Illegal maneuvers such as running a stop sign or red light
  • Misjudging the distance between vehicles or the speed of oncoming traffic

Dangerous Areas for T-Bone Collisions in NYC

As previously noted, New York City is a high-risk area for collision anywhere you go, just based on congestion and design alone. Particularly dangerous intersections include, but are not limited to:

  • Allen Street and E. Houston Street (Manhattan): From 2014-2018, 14 injuries occurred at this intersection. It is exceptionally dangerous and prone to T-bone collisions due to problematic visual obstructions. The long width of East Houston street combined with street trees and bus traffic that blocks views for drivers and cyclists are to blame for many T-bone accidents at this location.
  • Graham Avenue & Grand Street (Brooklyn): This intersection also saw more than a dozen injuries including one fatality between 2014 and 2018. It is a narrow, crowded, business-lined street where drivers must cautiously share the road with cyclists who go without a protected bike lane. Drivers likely lose sight from obstructions or other distractions, being that cyclists must aim to avoid double-parked cars and trucks. This confusing, chaotic intersection should be avoided whenever possible until safety improvements are made.

NYC T-Bone Settlements

Occupants on the side of the car that has been hit in a T-bone collision are very likely to suffer severe injuries, such as broken bones (specifically arms, hips, and legs) head injuries, and internal injuries. Sadly, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that side-impact crashes count for 25% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths. 

There is an inherent danger with T-bone crashes that affect compensation values. Each claim value depends on specific details from the case to determine compensation. Examples of settlements obtained on behalf of victims of T-bone accidents (not represented by Sobo & Sobo but in the public record) include:

  • $150, 000 for the next of kin of a victim who was hit from the side by a garbage truck, instantly killing him. The value was determined by insurance policy limits in a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • $1,490,000 for a 39-year-old man who while proceeding through an intersection was struck on his driver’s side by a school bus making a left turn in the Bronx. He sustained serious neck and back injuries that left him with life-long debilitations. 
  • $3,000,000 for a 30-year-old woman who was a passenger on an MTA bus that was struck by a New York City Emergency Services truck on Tomkins Avenue in Brooklyn. The victim was slammed into the seat in front of her and sustained tears to ligaments in her ankle, tendons in her shoulder (repaired by surgery), and herniated discs to her spine, which required spinal fusion surgery.

*These cases are intended to provide general figures for informational purposes and are not meant to guarantee the value of any case.

How much a car accident settlement will be is difficult to predict when injuries vary so widely. Ultimately, it’s necessary to have any case reviewed by a personal injury attorney to determine successful legal steps.

Get Legal Help for a New York City Car Accident

If you or someone you know has been injured in a NYC car accident, do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Sobo & Sobo. With decades of experience, Sobo & Sobo will thoroughly evaluate your case and work diligently to ensure you receive any and all compensation to which you are entitled. We work to answer questions in clear, comprehendible terms and make sure each victim is fully informed of his or her legal rights and options.

Call Sobo & Sobo today at 855-468-7626 or contact online to start fighting for your rights.