Types of New York City Car Accidents
Serious car accidents occur in a variety of situations in New York City. Car crashes may occur at busy intersections, in rush-hour bumper-to-bumper traffic, in work zones and on freeways. They can also take place on side streets and in parking lots and parking garages and at pedestrian crosswalks.
New York City has 56,000 accidents in a typical year, including 45,000 personal injury accidents, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. More than 20 percent of NY auto accidents occurred in New York City, which includes Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
Some of the most common types of traffic accidents include:
- Side-impact collisions commonly occur at intersections. A vehicle is struck in the side or broadsided by another vehicle traveling on a cross street. The side of a vehicle is damaged by the front of an oncoming vehicle. The vehicle occupants on the side of the vehicle that is hit typically suffer the worst injuries.
- Sideswipe collisions often occur in congested traffic when vehicles touch sides. If both cars are moving in the same direction and the drivers maintain control of the vehicles, the damage may be minimal. However, these types of collisions can still result in serious physical injuries.
- Rear-end collision refers to a crash where the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle. They are one of the most frequently occurring types of accidents. They are responsible for the large number of injuries and fatalities every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As a general rule, the driver of the vehicle that strikes the other vehicle is usually at fault in the accident and may be negligent.
- Head-on accidents often cause serious injuries. While modern cars are designed for the passenger safety cage to remain intact, head-on collisions are more likely to be fatal than other types of accidents. A vehicle crossing the center line is a common cause of head-on collisions.
- Multi-vehicle accidents are common in traffic-congested urban areas, particularly on freeways and highways where motorists travel at higher speeds. These are sometimes called “chain reaction accidents.”
- Rollover accidents occur when a vehicle flips over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents may be caused by uneven pavement or taking a sharp turn at high speed. Any vehicle can roll over, but some vehicles – such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and 18-wheelers – are more likely to tip because they have higher centers of gravity.
Contact a New York City Car Accident Lawyer
The legal team of David Resnick & Associates, P.C., understands the impact a serious car accident can have on you and your family. We work hard to see that you obtain the resources you need to recover fully if you’ve been injured by the carelessness of another driver.
If you need a NYC accident lawyer, or you’re unclear whether your situation requires legal representation by an experienced attorney, contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C., online or call us at 212-279-2000.
- Head-On Accidents
Head-on collisions can produce deadly results, especially in a metropolitan area like New York City. Approximately 29 percent of all head-on collisions are fatal, which shows the extreme danger associated with this type of accident. Victims of head-on collisions who survive the accident often face long recoveries from serious injuries. Tragically, almost all head-on accidents are caused by someone’s carelessness or recklessness.
Head-on collisions are almost always avoidable. Most accidents of this type occur because of driver misjudgment, recklessness or carelessness. Whether the driver underestimates the speed of an oncoming car or simply doesn’t see it until the last second, negligence is most often to blame.
Driver errors that can set the stage for a head-on car wreck include:
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Excessive speed
- Fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel
- Improper passing, including passing on a double yellow line
- Taking a corner too fast
- Turning left immediately in front of an approaching car or truck
- Making a right turn that is too wide
- Failure to follow the markings on the road
- Overcorrection when an outer wheel drops off the road’s edge
- Swerving to avoid animals, obstacles or debris
- Tire blowouts.
- Common Injuries from Head-On Car Accidents
Head-on collisions are particularly dangerous because of the combined speed of both vehicles. For instance, if two cars are traveling toward each other at 35 mph, the resulting force will actually be 70 mph on impact. The potential for severe injuries is much higher in accidents of this sort.
Some of the most common injuries from head-on collisions include:
- Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car crashes in New York City. Four out of every 10 accidents involve rear-end collisions caused by tailgating or following too closely, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Every year, 2.5 million rear-end crashes occur in the United States because of careless driving. In almost all rear-end accidents, the driver of the car that was struck was not to blame. Instead, it is usually the fault of the driver of the car that struck the vehicle ahead of it.
- Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents in New York City
Rear-end collisions usually happen when the lead car slows down or stops and the vehicle behind it does not have enough time to stop before hitting the back of the car in front. In these types of situations, the driver who rear ends the first car is usually assigned blame for the crash.
Common factors in rear-end collisions include:
- Tailgating – It’s essential to maintain a safe distance behind the car in front of you to allow enough reaction time in case of a sudden stop. Following too closely, also called “tailgating,” frequently results in rear-end collisions.
- Distracted driving – Motorists who focus on other diversions instead of the road in front of them are more likely to be involved in a rear-end collision. Some of the most dangerous distractions include texting, cell phones, navigation systems and other electronics.
- Speed – The faster you drive, the less time you have to react to stopped or slow traffic in front of you. Drivers should increase their following distance at higher speeds and leave more room. Speeders who are exceeding the speed limit are more likely to have a rear-end crash with vehicles in front of them that are traveling at the posted speed or stopped in traffic.
- Impaired driving – Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs compromises a driver’s judgment, alertness and reaction time. This puts other motorists at an increased risk for a rear-end collision.
- Hazardous conditions – Bad weather such as snow, fog, ice and rain can limit visibility and increase stopping distances. Motorists should slow down and leave more room behind the car ahead. Failure to do so can result in a rear-end accident.
- Vehicle defects – Faulty brakes or bald tires can make a vehicle harder to stop, increasing the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
New York law presumes negligence on the part of the driver of the vehicle that hit the rear of the lead car. However, there are some very narrow circumstances in which this presumption can be rebutted. For example, the driver of the lead car could be at fault if that driver “cut off” the car behind and then jammed on the brakes for no reason.
- Injuries Caused By Rear-End Car Accidents
Even low-speed rear-end collisions can result in severe physical injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck and back strain
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash or disc damage
- Ankle and knee injuries
- Facial and head injuries from airbag deployment
- Nerve damage
Injuries that may seem minor at first can worsen very quickly. It’s very important to seek medical help after a rear-end collision. You should tell your doctor exactly how the accident happened and discuss any symptoms, even if they seem minor to you at the time.
- Side-Impact Collisions
Often the result of running a red light or a stop sign, side-impact collisions are common occurrences on the streets of New York City. Side-impact collisions, also called “T-bone accidents,” account for approximately 8,500 deaths in the United States each year. In a single recent year, New York City experienced 261 traffic fatalities with an estimated 65 of them caused by side-impact crashes. These types of accidents are particularly dangerous because the force of the impact centers on a part of the car that offers very little structural protection.
There are many circumstances that can contribute to side-impact collisions. These include:
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Running a red light
- Pulling out in front of traffic
- Making a left turn immediately in front of oncoming vehicles
- Failure to yield
- Erratic or sudden lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Driving too fast.
Side-impact, T-bone or broadside accidents occur mostly at intersections or when one vehicle pulls into the path of oncoming traffic. The driver and passengers are extremely vulnerable to suffering from serious injuries if they are in the vehicle that is hit broadside. This is because many vehicles aren’t equipped with strong side-impact protection.
Motorists in head-on and rear-end collisions have several feet of steel, an engine and a bumper between them and the oncoming vehicle. The only barrier in a side-impact collision is a few inches of door and window glass. Over the last decade, auto manufacturers have made some improvements to protect passengers in side-impact crashes. The best defense currently offered by the automotive industry is side-curtain airbags. Since 2009, this new technology has been standard on most cars and trucks.
Reinforcing door beams is another way to reduce fatalities and injuries in side-impact car accidents. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) estimates that these beams have prevented almost 500 deaths and 4,500 nonfatal hospitalizations per year. However, there are still many older cars on the road that lack either side-curtain airbags or reinforced door beams.
- Common Injuries from Side-Impact Car Accidents
People who are hurt in side-impact crashes can suffer a wide range of serious physical injuries. Some of the conditions include:
- Head or traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck injuries or whiplash
- Crush injuries
- Internal injuries
- Shoulder, joint, muscle and bone injuries
- Torso and chest injuries
- Pelvic fractures
New York’s no-fault accident laws allow accident victims to bring a claim for personal injury against the responsible driver if the injuries are serious enough. Because many people who are hurt in T-bone accidents suffer serious injuries, these types of cases often lead to a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or to a lawsuit.
A seriously injured victim of a broadside accident may be entitled to compensation for all related medical costs, for any missed work time, for any future lost earnings, for pain and suffering and for any emotional distress suffered as a result of the accident. If the side-impact accident caused a death, then the family members of the victim could have a wrongful death claim. This can result in compensation for loss of companionship as well as for lost financial support.
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents
New York car accidents come in all shapes, sizes and severities Throughout the State of New York, there were over 300,000 car accidents reported in a single recent year, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV). Put another way, there were an average of 842 car crashes in New York every day that year.
The NYSDMV categorizes car accidents as a single-vehicle accident, a two-car accident or a multi-vehicle accident, meaning that three or more vehicles were involved in the collision. Statistics tell us that 21,617 car accidents were classified as multi-vehicle accidents, representing 7 percent of all car crashes in New York. Multi-vehicle, or chain-reaction, accidents caused 77 fatal injuries and another 13,424 non-fatal injuries that year.
Some of the more common types of chain reaction-accidents include:
- Rear-end accidents – These are what most people envision when they imagine a chain-reaction accident. One vehicle typically rear-ends another vehicle, which in turn rear-ends the vehicle in front of it, and so on. These multi-vehicle collisions often occur at a stoplight or in heavy traffic and usually involve a driver who was following too closely or was distracted.
- Head-on accidents – This type of multi-vehicle collision may occur when a vehicle drives the wrong way on a one-way street or crosses over the center line on a freeway. The initial collision then causes secondary collisions, turning it into a multi-vehicle crash.
- T-bone accidents – These typically occur at an intersection when one vehicle fails to yield the right of way and hits another vehicle traveling perpendicular to it. The force of the impact can send the vehicles spinning into other cars.
The causes of a New York City multi-vehicle accident are numerous. Some of the common causes include:
- Distracted driving – A driver who is distracted by a cell phone, a passenger in the vehicle, or anything else that takes his or her eyes off the roadway could easily fail to stop at an intersection, drift over the center line or fail to yield the right of way, causing a chain-reaction accident.
- Drowsy driving – A driver who nods off behind the wheel runs a very high risk of drifting across the center line and into oncoming traffic.
- Impaired driving – Drunk driving continues to be a leading cause of multi-vehicle accidents. An impaired driver often fails to recognize an upcoming red light or stop sign, for example.
- Weather conditions – Rain, ice or snow often cause a driver to misjudge how much room is needed to come to a stop for traffic. Weather conditions are a leading factor in chain-reaction collisions.
- Speed and reckless driving – Tailgating or improper passing can easily lead to a head-on or rear-end multi-vehicle accident. Speeding, or driving too fast for conditions, can also cause a multi-vehicle accident by creating an overall hazardous situation for everyone on the roadway.
- Fault and Compensation in a Multi-Vehicle Collision
No-fault insurance benefits may be available in many multi-vehicle accidents in New York. In order for a victim to be entitled to additional compensation beyond what is available under no-fault insurance coverage, the victim must first show that another party was negligent, or at fault, in the accident.
In some accidents, proving negligence is rather simple. However, in a multi-vehicle accident, determining negligence can often be a significant hurdle to recovery for the victims. Even when it is clear who initially caused the multi-vehicle accident, as in the case of a rear-end chain reaction accident, it can become complicated when trying to determine which party is responsible for what percentage of the total fault in the accident. It is crucial to have an experienced New York City accident attorney on your side when dealing with these complex issues.
- Single-Vehicle Car Accidents
Head-on collisions and deadly multi-vehicle pileups are every motorist’s worst nightmares. But single-vehicle crashes kill more people each year than any other type of vehicle accident.
They happen when we least expect it. A deer runs into the road and the driver strikes it or swerves dangerously to avoid it. A driver’s attention is distracted by texting and the car drifts from its lane into a median divider or guardrail. A sleepy driver nods off behind the wheel and smashes into a tree.
Passengers who are injured in a single-vehicle accident – or the family of passengers who are killed – may have a right to file a single-vehicle accident lawsuit for financial compensation from the driver who caused the crash.
Each year, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in New York and across the country. Many of the traffic fatalities – close to half, according to NHTSA – occurred in single-vehicle wrecks.
Single-vehicle accidents fall into two broad categories:
- Run-off-road crashes. These occur when a vehicle leaves its travel lane and drifts onto the shoulder, median, roadside, parking lane or highway separator and hits a natural or artificial object, for example, a tree, light pole, building or ditch. Around 70 percent of all fatal single-vehicle crashes are run-off-road crashes.
- On-road crashes. These occur when a vehicle remains on the road after the crash. It might involve a rollover or a collision with a pedestrian, bicyclist, train, animal, fallen tree, rocks or other debris on the roadway. On-road crashes account for 30 percent of all fatal single-vehicle wrecks.
Young drivers ages 15 to 24 are more likely to be involved in single-car crashes than older drivers. Drivers who are drinking, sleepy, talking on cell phones or under the influence of illegal or prescribed drugs are also more like to run off the road.
Among all passenger vehicles (cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs), passenger cars are more likely to be involved in a fatal single-vehicle crash than other vehicle types.
- Passenger Deaths in Single-Vehicle Crashes
Vehicles with two or more passengers, known as “high-occupancy vehicles,” are more likely to be involved in single-vehicle crashes than vehicles with a lone driver.
Factors that cause or contribute to single-car collisions are:
- Excessive speed
- Rural roads
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
- Distracted driving (texting, cell phone use)
- Reckless driving
- Inclement weather conditions (rain, sleet, snow fog, smoke, blowing sand, dust)
- Poor roadway drainage
- Nighttime driving and reduced visibility
- Narrow lanes and shoulders
- Sharp or dangerous curves.
Some New York single-car crashes occur because the automobile is mechanically unsafe or defective. Other times, the negligence of another person or entity caused or contributed to the accident.
New York State has a “no-fault” insurance law. Provisions of the no-fault law might apply to a single-vehicle accident. An experienced New York single-vehicle accident attorney will be able to navigate the insurance maze and help you get maximum financial compensation.
If you’ve been injured in any sort of car accident in New York, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable NYC car accident attorney to protect your rights. The compassionate lawyers at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., are experienced at handling a wide variety of auto accident claims and lawsuits.
At David Resnick & Associates, P.C., we offer a free initial evaluation of your claim. Rest assured that our attorneys will negotiate a prompt, fair and just settlement or fight aggressively to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available under the law. Call 212-279-2000 today or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.