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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

An Overview of Negligence in Car Accidents: When You May Be Held Liable

January 29, 2021 in

Millions of car accidents occur each year in the U.S. as a result of negligence, meaning one or more drivers behaved in such a careless manner behind the wheel that it led to a crash. One of the biggest causes of motor vehicle accidents is a lack of awareness of one’s surroundings and a lack of caution for surrounding drivers or pedestrians. If an injury were to result from said carelessness, this driver would likely be held liable. Here, the skilled auto accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. discuss negligence in car accident lawsuits as well as the imposed responsibilities of a vehicle driver when behind the wheel.


Negligence in Car Accident Claims


If an individual behaves in a thoughtless or careless manner behind the wheel, resulting in harm or injury to another, they have acted out of negligence. Negligent behavior includes running a red light, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, operating the vehicle in an aggressive manner (i.e. excessively speeding or cutting off other vehicles), and even failing to turn your headlights on when driving at night. Negligence is a common cause of car accidents. If one is not careful when behind the wheel, they may ultimately be held liable for those injuries suffered by another if they did in fact cause a “serious injury” as defined by New York State Insurance Law 5102(d).


Elements of Negligence


The injured party, or plaintiff, must prove that the defendant was negligent in event of the accident. There are several elements of a negligence claim that the plaintiff must prove in the case of a car accident claim. First, the law places a duty on a driver to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonable manner. Second, the plaintiff and their legal counsel must demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty of care. The driver’s behavior will be compared to that of a reasonably sensible driver to determine whether or not they acted negligently. Third, the plaintiff must be able to confirm the injuries that resulted from the defendant’s conduct. Finally, it must be confirmed that the plaintiff suffered a “serious injury” as defined by New York State Insurance Law 5102(d),which includes death,  dismemberment,  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;  or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which 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.


Duties While Behind The Wheel


As a driver, the law requires you to exhibit reasonable care and caution when behind the wheel. Some specific requirements imposed by the law include driving at a reasonable speed, remaining vigilant of your surroundings, maintaining control of your vehicle, yielding to traffic control devices and properly maintaining your vehicle. If a driver were to violate one of these laws imposed by the state, this may cause a “presumption” of negligence to arise, meaning that the defendant must prove that they were not negligent in the case of the accident.


Seeking Help From a New York City Car Accident Lawyer


Car accidents in New York City can range from minor to detrimental. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in New York where the other driver was at fault, do not hesitate to contact our team of automotive accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. Call (212)-732-9000 or contact us here to schedule a free consultation.

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