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Car Accidents

Albany Car Accident Attorneys

The risk of being involved in a car accident is greater than ever today. With all the trucks and delivery vehicles on the road, smartphone driver distraction, speeding, and other dangerous driving behaviors, you may not be able to avoid a crash, even when you are driving carefully. Turn to experienced Albany car accident attorneys for help if you have been hurt through someone else’s negligence.

How Many Car Accidents Happen in New York and Albany County?

For a recent 15-year period, the following traffic crash statistics are reported by the State of New York. On average, per year, there were:

  • 6,207 hospitalizations for motor vehicle traffic crash injuries
  • 106,6512 emergency room visits
  • 292 deaths among vehicle occupants

Motor vehicle crashes are the fourth leading cause of injury-related death and the third leading cause of injury-related hospitalization in Albany County. New York state government reports that over a recent three-year period in Albany County, traffic crashes caused 14 deaths, 152 hospitalizations, and 1,907 emergency room visits per year.

What Are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents Today?

Traffic crashes have many causes, including road hazards and mechanical failure. However, most car accidents today involve some type of driver negligence. Common causes include:

  • Drunk driving: Every day in the U.S., approximately 32 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes – one every 45 minutes -- according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 11,654 people died in traffic accidents involving drunk drivers.
  • Drugged driving: Drug-impaired driving is a growing factor in traffic crashes, as stated by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Although there is a decreasing trend of alcohol use by drivers, more weekend nighttime drivers are testing positive for marijuana use, according to a recent NHTSA survey.
  • Distracted driving: With the increased use of smartphones in the last decade, distracted driving has become a greater danger. Drivers should have their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their attention on operating the vehicle. Use of electronic devices while driving requires all three types of attention – visual, manual, and cognitive.
  • Fatigued driving: Driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving under the influence, as stated by the National Safety Council (NSC). Going more than 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% in terms of operating a motor vehicle. The risk of a crash is three times greater for fatigued drivers.
  • Aggressive driving: Reckless or aggressive driving puts others on the roadway at risk. This type of dangerous driving behavior may involve excessive speeding, unsafe lane changes, tailgating, failure to yield the right-of-way, and disregarding traffic signs and signals.

What are the Common Types of Accidents?

A car accident occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, a pedestrian, an object, or even animals, resulting in damage, injury, or sometimes death. In New York, like elsewhere, several common types of car accidents occur:

Rear-end collisions: These happen when a car hits the vehicle in front of it. In New York, they often occur due to tailgating or sudden stops in heavy traffic.

Intersection accidents: These occur at intersections when one or more vehicles fail to yield the right of way, run a red light or stop sign, or make improper turns.

Side-impact collisions (T-bone accidents): These occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, often at intersections or when one driver fails to yield.

Single-car accidents: These involve only one vehicle and can happen due to various reasons such as hitting an object on the road, losing control, or sliding off the road due to weather conditions.

Head-on collisions: These are among the most severe accidents, involving two vehicles colliding front-to-front. They often result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Multiple vehicle pile-ups: These occur on highways and involve multiple vehicles colliding with each other in a chain reaction. They can happen due to poor weather conditions, low visibility, or driver negligence.

Pedestrian or cyclist accidents: In urban areas like New York City, accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists and vehicles are unfortunately common due to heavy foot and bike traffic.

Is New York a No-Fault Accident State?

In New York's no-fault insurance system, after a car accident, drivers turn to their own insurance companies for coverage of medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses, regardless of who caused the accident. This system aims to streamline the compensation process and avoid lengthy legal battles for minor claims.

Each driver's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, a part of their own car insurance, is responsible for covering their medical expenses and certain other losses up to a predetermined limit, typically around $50,000. This coverage applies regardless of fault, allowing individuals to quickly access necessary medical treatment without waiting for fault determinations or lawsuits.

However, there's a threshold for serious injuries in New York. If a person's injuries exceed a certain level of severity defined by the state's insurance regulations, they have the right to step outside the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for additional compensation.

These severe injuries might include:

Significant Disfigurement: Severe scarring, burns, or other forms of disfigurement that significantly alter a person's appearance and may lead to emotional distress and social stigma.

Bone Fractures: Severe fractures that cause substantial impairment, restrict mobility, or require extensive medical treatment such as surgery, implantation of hardware, or prolonged rehabilitation.

Significant Limitation of Use: Injuries causing substantial limitations on the ability to use a body function or system, impairing mobility, dexterity, or bodily functions. For instance, severe nerve damage or injuries leading to significant impairment or loss of function in limbs or bodily systems.

Permanent Loss of Use: Injuries that result in permanent loss or impairment of a body part or function, impacting a person's ability to perform daily activities or work.

Significant Limitation of a Bodily Function or System: Injuries that significantly limit the functioning of a body system, such as the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, or other major systems, affecting overall health and well-being.

Non-permanent Injury of a Permanent Nature: Severe injuries that may not be permanent but are expected to cause substantial impairment or limitations for a considerable duration, affecting a person's quality of life and ability to carry out daily activities.

These types of injuries are evaluated based on medical documentation, expert opinions, and the impact they have on an individual's life. By meeting this threshold, the injured party can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages that go beyond what the no-fault coverage provides. This allows individuals with severe injuries to seek adequate compensation beyond the limitations of the no-fault system.

It's important to note that navigating these thresholds and legal complexities often requires the assistance of an experienced attorney specializing in personal injury cases. Our legal team at Horn Wright, LLP can assess the situation, determine if the injuries meet the criteria to step outside the no-fault system, and guide individuals through the process of pursuing further compensation from the at-fault party.

Do You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

After a serious car accident that was someone else’s fault, your best chance of recovering full compensation for your losses is to have an experienced personal injury attorney handling your claim. Insurance companies are in business for profit and mainly interested in their own bottom line. The goal of their representatives is to minimize their payout or deny your claim altogether. Our Albany car accident lawyers can:

  • Investigate your accident to determine fault and liability
  • Secure evidence to support your claim
  • Build a strong case based on the facts
  • Assess the full extent of your damages – past, present, and future
  • Negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Go to trial for the compensation you deserve if necessary

At Horn Wright, LLP, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to maximize your recovery after a serious car accident. Work with a law firm that puts you first. Contact us to schedule a free case review at (518) 520-4667.

What Sets Us Apart From The Rest?

Horn Wright, LLP is here to help you get the results you need with a team you can trust.

  • Client-Focused Approach
    We’re a client-centered, results-oriented firm. When you work with us, you can have confidence we’ll put your best interests at the forefront of your case – it’s that simple.
  • Creative & Innovative Solutions

    No two cases are the same, and neither are their solutions. Our attorneys provide creative points of view to yield exemplary results.

  • Experienced Attorneys

    We have a team of trusted and respected attorneys to ensure your case is matched with the best attorney possible.

  • Driven By Justice

    The core of our legal practice is our commitment to obtaining justice for those who have been wronged and need a powerful voice.