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New York Car Accident Lawyer

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Car accidents happen throughout the United States every day, but no two accidents are identical. Different types of car crashes can cause different types of car accident injuries. Injuries can also vary widely in how severe they are and how they affect a person’s health and future. Regardless of the type of accident you’ve experienced or the injuries you are now facing, it’s wise to talk to an experienced New York car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. At Zlotolow & Associates, we’re passionate about helping our injured clients fight for what’s theirs. Schedule a free consultation now to discuss your car accident injury claim.

Car Accident Lawyer | Fighting for Clients in Long Island, NYC, & throughout NYS

For over two decades, Scott Zlotolow and his team of New York personal injury attorneys have fought for the rights of clients injured in auto accidents. We know that even a “minor” car accident injury can leave you struggling to pay the bills, deal with car repairs, and take care of the dozens of other tasks your everyday life demands. While no-fault insurance may cover a portion of your medical bills, it likely won’t cover the entire cost of the damages you’ve incurred. That’s why we fight for the maximum compensation your case is worth. Don’t hesitate to turn to a seasoned New York auto accident lawyer from our firm for help today.

Common Factors that Contribute to Car Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gathers and analyzes car accident statistics nationwide. In a 2015 report, the NHTSA analyzed what it called the “critical reasons” for fatal car accidents — the primary cause or trigger of each accident. The NHTSA analyzed several categories of critical reasons, including human behavior, vehicle features, and factors in the environment.

The report found that the following factors are among the most common reasons that car accidents of all types take place:

  • Human error. The NHTSA identified the driver’s behavior as the “critical reason” behind 94 percent of fatal auto accidents attributed to human error. Inattention or inebriation leading to a failure to recognize a danger in time (such as noticing a light had changed to red or that the car ahead had stopped) was behind 41 percent of the accidents and was the single biggest reason a driver might cause a wreck. By contrast, passenger behavior accounted for only 2 percent of crashes involving human error, with people outside the vehicle accounting for the other 4 percent.
  • Vehicle problems. A problem with a tire or wheel was cited as the “critical cause” in 35 percent of the fatal motor vehicle accidents the NHTSA examined and attributed to vehicular issues. Brakes contributed to 22 percent of those types of wrecks, and steering or suspension problems accounted for 3 percent. Approximately 40 percent of the accidents were categorized as vehicle problems of “unknown” origin. Negligent maintenance or repairs, as well as hidden defects in factory or replacement parts, can cause vehicle problems that may trigger a crash.
  • Environmental causes. Roads made slippery by ice, water, or debris were the “critical reason” behind 50 percent of motor vehicle accidents attributed to environmental causes. Glare accounted for 17 percent, while an obstructed view accounted for 11 percent. Fog, rain, snow, problems with signs or signals, or poor road design were other critical reasons a crash might occur.

Different types of mistakes by drivers, different vehicle problems, and different environmental issues can all result in an accident. For instance, tailgating is a very common cause of rear-end accidents. However, some rear-end accidents result from slippery road surfaces, particularly when combined with speeding or tailgating. Rollover accidents, which are rare but often fatal, are more likely to occur when the road surface is slippery or when a driver has had to initiate emergency maneuvers to avoid being sideswiped or colliding with an object in the road.

Although drivers cannot control all of these factors, they can take some steps to keep themselves and their passengers as safe as possible. Regular use of seatbelts and keeping a vehicle in good repair is a good start.

When an accident does occur, victims should promptly see a doctor for any injuries and take detailed notes of what has happened. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer is also important for victims who need full and fair compensation to get their lives back on track.

Common Types of Car Accidents

The most common types of car crashes include:

Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. Rear-end crashes are extremely common in situations in which one driver is following too closely (tailgating) behind another and fails to stop in time to avoid hitting the car in the lead. Motorcyclists and bicyclists can also become the victims of rear-end crashes if a driver is not paying attention or fails to stop in time.

Whiplash, also known as neck strain or neck sprain, is one of the most common rear-end crash injuries. Injuries to the middle or lower back, concussions, severe bruising, and broken bones can also occur.

“T-Bone” Crashes

A “T-bone” crash occurs when one vehicle hits another at a perpendicular angle. These types of accidents most often occur at intersections, when one vehicle turns into the path of another or when a vehicle that should have stopped for turning traffic fails to do so.

Driver inattention or negligence is a top cause of these types of crashes, although in some cases they can result from problems with the brakes or steering. When a vehicle malfunction appears to be the cause, it is important to determine whether a hidden defect or negligent repair work contributed to the crash.

Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswiping occurs when a vehicle attempts to merge into traffic or to change lanes, but it fails to clear the front or back of another vehicle that is traveling in the same direction. When a driver does not check his or her blind spots carefully before merging or changing lanes, a sideswipe can more easily occur. Speeding and passing on the right also increase the risk that a car won’t be seen when other drivers check their blind spots, which might result in a sideswipe.

Sideswipes can be extremely dangerous ─ and fatal ─ when they involve a passenger vehicle or truck hitting a motorcyclist or bicyclist. They can also cause catastrophic injuries or death when the sideswipe forces a vehicle across the center line and into oncoming traffic, resulting in a head-on collision.

Single-Vehicle Crashes

Single-vehicle crashes are among the most common types of auto accidents. At first, a single-vehicle accident seems as if it must be the fault of the driver who crashed the vehicle. However, many drivers involved in a so-called “single-vehicle” accident did not cause the crash and could not have prevented it.

For instance, swerving to avoid a T-bone or sideswipe accident, being surprised by a tight curve that was negligently designed, or experiencing a sudden vehicle malfunction can all result in a single-vehicle crash, no matter how carefully the driver operated the vehicle.

Our firm also has experience handling personal injury claims on behalf of those who’ve been hurt in head-on crashes, distracted driving accidents, rear-end accidents, rollover accidents, and more.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Car crash injuries can turn your life upside-down in an instant. Even a relatively mild auto accident can result in injuries such as lacerations and whiplash. A more serious accident may result in broken bones, organ damage, or catastrophic brain or spinal cord injuries.

Due to the traumatic and sudden nature of crashes, many people who experience car accident injuries don’t realize how severely they’ve been injured at first. Injured victims may have insurance adjusters or others pressuring them to “shake it off,” keep working, or otherwise ignore or diminish the injuries — all of which can have a profoundly negative impact on the victim’s ability to collect full and fair compensation. This is why it is important to understand the various types of injuries a person can sustain, how long they take to set in, and the importance of retaining a seasoned car accident lawyer sooner, rather than later.

Head and Neck Injuries

Perhaps one of the most well-known car accident injuries is “whiplash,” a soft-tissue injury to the neck that occurs when the head moves forward and backward quickly due to sudden force, such as the force of being hit by another vehicle. Many rear-end car accident injuries include whiplash, as well as head injuries, or facial injuries.

In a 2009 study published in the journal International Emergency Nursing, researchers examined the case histories of 6,709 patients who were admitted to various hospitals with head and neck injuries after a car accident. The researchers found that 87.2 percent of the patients had “mild” injuries and that young adults ages 20-44 were most likely to suffer these types of injuries. However, the researchers found that no age group is immune to head and neck injuries.

Broken bones in the head and neck, muscle damage, and ruptured blood vessels or other structures in the head and neck may also occur during a motor vehicle accident, especially if a blow to the head or neck occurs. In some cases, injury to the brain or spinal cord may also occur.

Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are among the most complex car accident injuries. They can also be the most difficult to treat.

Perhaps the most well-known type of traumatic brain injury is concussion. Concussions are most often caused by a blow to the head. This may happen when the head hits an object like the dashboard or steering wheel, or when the head is hit by another object, such as flying debris. While severe concussions can cause permanent disability or death, even a mild concussion can cause lingering problems with mood, memory, attention, and thinking-related tasks you once found simple, like mental math or spelling basic words.

Spinal cord injuries occur when the nerve fibers inside the bones of the spine are damaged. A “complete” spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord is severed, results in paralysis below the site of the injury. An “incomplete” injury can result in loss of mobility or feeling in the area below the injury site. Both types of spinal cord injury can result in a lifelong need for medical care and support.

Broken Bones, Amputations, and Crush Injuries

The body of an adult human contains 206 bones, 640 muscles, miles of blood vessels, and plenty of soft tissue including fat and skin tissue. The role of the body’s major organs is to keep all of these items working at their best so that we can perform the thousands of actions that make up an ordinary day.

During a motor vehicle accident, tremendous force may be applied to your body. Broken bones, “crush” injuries that damage soft tissue, and even the amputation or loss of one or more body parts may occur during the accident. Amputation may also be required after an accident in order to prevent a crush injury from destroying the rest of your body.

All of these injuries impair your mobility as they heal, and they typically require ongoing care, including follow-up doctor’s appointments and physical therapy, in order to maximize healing. Some may even prevent you from working or engaging in other activities you once enjoyed. By hiring a seasoned car accident lawyer, you maximize your chances of getting the compensation you need to best move on with your life.

Organ Damage

The body has 12 organ “systems” that work together to take care of every function needed for life. These include the digestive system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system. While the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys are generally considered the five “vital” organs, dozens of other bodily organs, from the pituitary gland (located in the brain) to the pancreas (located in the abdomen) also play vital roles in our health – and may be injured by the extreme forces involved in a car crash.

Organ damage can have a devastating impact on your life and future health. If damage to a vital organ is severe, doctors may recommend an organ transplant. For vital organs, interventions to help the body function may be intensive and will certainly be life-altering. Treatment for damage to non-vital organs can be expensive and time-consuming as well.

Tracking Your Injuries After a Car Accident

One of the best things you can do after a car accident is to keep a journal documenting your car crash injuries. Why?

  • Your journal helps you remember which symptoms caught your attention at what time.
  • Your journal creates a timeline of your injuries after the accident.
  • Your journal helps you keep track of doctor’s appointments, medications, and other important tasks related to maximizing your healing process.

While your lawyer can give you additional tips for starting your journal, the sooner you begin making notes, the easier it will be to use your journal to improve your health and fight for the compensation you deserve. Here are some important sections to include:

  • Notes about the crash. Write down everything you remember about the crash. Include who was involved, when and where it happened, and anything else you remember. Draw a diagram of the crash scene and include photographs, if possible, to show where the vehicles were, how they moved, and what happened to them during the crash itself.
  • Descriptions of each of your injuries. Take photographs of your injuries. For each injury, write down how you felt right after the crash. Make a list of symptoms related to that injury as they appear. You can add to these lists if you develop new symptoms, or as your symptoms improve or worsen in response to treatment. These notes can help your doctors figure out the best course of treatment for you.
  • Notes from each medical appointment. Before you leave each medical appointment, take a moment to make some notes in your journal: the date and time, the name of the person you saw, what you told them, and what they said or recommended to you. You can also use this space as a “to-do” list. For instance, if your doctor prescribed a new medication, you can use the journal entry to remind yourself to stop at the pharmacy and pick up the medication.
  • A list of medication you were prescribed. Write down the effects, including side effects, of each medication. This list can help you and your doctor determine the best medications for your needs.
  • How you’re feeling between doctor’s appointments. This section should cover two topics: the symptoms you experience between appointments and your emotional responses to your injury and the ways it is affecting your life. Not only do these notes help establish how well treatment is working, but they can also be therapeutic — and they can help you show how you need additional care if you find that you are feeling “stuck.”

Share this journal with your doctor and with your New York City car accident lawyer. Your doctor may be able to provide more effective treatment with the help of the information in the journal. Your car accident lawyer will use your journal to help establish the many ways in which your injury affects your life, which helps your legal team build a case for the full amount of compensation you deserve.

Many people think of a car accident injury as a “one-and-done” event. Insurance companies may argue in favor of paying only the bills related to the moment of impact and your initial injuries. These perspectives are limited. They fail to take into account the ways in which a car accident injury is an ongoing life experience — one that may affect nearly everything you do.

Your journal provides this long-term perspective. It helps your lawyer argue for the compensation you will need in the future, not just right now. And it helps you see that, over time, things do change: Your injuries heal, your feelings come and go, and you have influence over your future path.

Choose a Car Accident Lawyer Who Will Fight for You

Attorney Scott Zlotolow and the team at Zlotolow & Associates have worked for more than two decades to protect our clients and secure the compensation they deserve. Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can take the burden off you so you can focus on your health and recovery. Our firm proudly serves clients in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and all of New York State. To learn more, contact our office today and schedule a free consultation.

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