Staten Island Car Accident Lawyers
Car accidents are a serious matter that could happen at any time. Some people are shocked when an accident occurs because they were very careful on the road. There are still others who make poor decisions and cause accidents across Staten Island every day.
The Staten Island car accident lawyers at Eaton & Torrenzano help clients who have been injured in a range of accidents and who face a variety of liability questions. We have experience working with injured families, passengers, drivers, and pedestrians on a wide range of cases, and we will ensure that every case is fully litigated. Drivers should reach out to us as soon as possible for help with any accident issue. We will review each case and ensure that clients understand their rights while seeking the greatest compensation possible. Our commitment to serving clients is what keeps us motivated every day, and our experience helps drivers tackle their cases.
Why Do Car Accidents Occur?
Car accidents occur for a variety of reasons. In the case of Staten Island, congestion and heavy traffic play a major part in accidents. Staten Island is a borough of New York City that is technically a New Jersey landmass. New Jersey is the most congested state in the country, and North Jersey makes up much of that congestion.
Moreover, New Jersey ranks 48th in America in terms of infrastructure and road construction. The roads are difficult to traverse, and people are traveling through Staten Island every day. The same drivers are coming up and down Route 1 and 278, as well as other highways every day as they access one of the most congested cities in the world. For the reasons listed above, car accidents often include the following:
Distracted driving. With so many people on the road, a distracted driver is more likely to hit another vehicle. Someone who is not paying attention could travel several hundred feet before realizing there is a problem. Tourists are often in the area, and they can get lost or distracted easily. Because of the relative congestion in the area, it is vitally important that drivers always stay alert. Using a phone while driving, whether making a call or texting, should always be avoided. If it is vital that a message be sent, the driver should pull over or use hands-free technology.
Rear-end crashes. It can be difficult for drivers to stop before a crash. Bumper-to-bumper traffic causes quite a few rear-end crashes, which can pile up into multi-vehicle crashes when many cars are involved. The island is so small that traffic can easily back up and rear-end crashes can become a daily occurrence. Drivers should also signal when they make lane changes and merge in traffic.
Drunk and impaired driving. So many people live in the area that it is difficult to avoid the errant driver who is clearly impaired or fully intoxicated. It is reported that 30 people a day are killed in drunk driving crashes in America, and drivers’ risk increases when they live and work in a crowded place, such as Staten Island. Ridesharing services can help intoxicated drivers get home when they have been partying.
Drowsy driving. Driving while drowsy is almost as bad as drunk driving, and it can happen quite often in a place where people have high-pressure jobs. People who are driving in and out of the city, speeding across Staten Island and North Jersey, and working long hours are more likely to be tired when they get behind the wheel irrespective of the time of day they are driving.
Speeding. Speeding is monitored throughout New York City boroughs, including Staten Island, by speed cameras. According to recent statistics, speeding is on the rise. As people are more nervous about work and global issues, they will speed as they try to get where they are going. The best way to stop accidents from occurring is to slow down. Because speeding is a factor in over one-fourth of all car crashes in America, it stands to reason that slowing down can protect drivers, passengers, and other people on the road.
Commonly Overlooked Car Accident Injuries
Drivers might be surprised by the problems they will have as they recover from a car accident. Drivers often do not realize that their injuries were caused by an accident. These drivers walked away from a car crash without any trouble, but the injuries they suffered will start to surface over time. Therefore, we recommend that anyone involved in a car accident should go to the hospital or see a doctor to be examined. Commonly overlooked car accident injuries and issues include the following:
Traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a range of problems after an accident. Not wearing a seat belt and striking the windshield in a crash can be a traumatic experience. A rollover crash and extreme whiplash can be related to head trauma. Airbags can be also quite traumatic because they explode when they deploy. TBIs have been linked to a lack of focus, inability to regulate one’s emotions, memory problems, depression or anxiety, a lack of balance, vertigo, or random dizziness. Chronic headaches or migraines might also start after the accident, and the driver should seek medical attention immediately because these problems can worsen.
Someone who has suffered a serious injury in a car crash may have to deal with these problems for the rest of their life, and that is why it is important that drivers are given the compensation they deserve to make their recovery as seamless as possible.
Chest contusions. Chest contusions can be caused when striking the steering wheel during the crash. Although a chest contusion may not cause a standard bruise, it can cause quite a lot of pain and discomfort. Someone who had a chest contusion will notice swelling in that area, as well as experience a hard time breathing. These victims might feel their heart beating because of the swelling, and it may be difficult for them to move normally. A chest contusion could be compounded by a broken rib or sternum, which may require physical therapy to make a full recovery.
Soft tissue damage. Soft tissue damage to tendons and ligaments is common in the legs after an accident because of the violent jolt that occurs when the car stops suddenly. At the same time, soft tissue damage can occur in the arms and hands. Someone who types or writes all day may feel tension, pressure, and pain as they attempt to complete their daily work. Soft tissue damage could make walking, sitting, running, and even sleeping difficult, as tendons and ligaments will remain swollen long after the accident. This sort of damage requires physical therapy that can be costly.
How is Liability Determined in a Car Accident Case?
Liability in a car accident case starts with a police report. It is important to note that the police are not required to conduct a full investigation at the time of the accident. Drivers need to find eyewitnesses who saw the crash, identify other drivers who can corroborate their stories, and take pictures of the accident scene to prove that their story is true.
Our lawyers will start with the police report, research the accident thoroughly, and work with experts when needed. The officer who wrote the report may be called into question if they did not complete the report properly, and eyewitnesses will be brought forward to prove that our clients did not cause their accidents.
If drivers are involved in multi-vehicle crashes, there are many levels of liability. First, a driver at the front of a multi-vehicle crash could have a claim against multiple insurance policies. The same could be said for anyone in the middle of a pileup. The driver who is found to be at-fault for the crash will bear the most liability. Moreover, drivers who were bounced around during an accident through no fault of their own may sue the guilty driver for damages. Our Staten Island car accident lawyers will determine who caused the crash, how liability should be spread among several vehicles, and guide injured drivers through the legal process.
Unique Car Driving Issues in Staten Island
Because Staten Island is a borough of New York City, drivers will encounter large trucks. There are also people going to the shore throughout the spring and summer, as well as tourists driving through the area who are not familiar with the area. Therefore, drivers in Staten Island need to be even more careful than they would normally be. Tourists are encouraged to use GPS navigation systems so that they do not get lost, but these drivers should use a hands-free system that keeps their eyes on the road.
At the same time, the standard of driving in North Jersey and New York is very intense. Drivers tend to move quickly, often do not signal, and speed because they are impatient. This style of driving can be intimidating for people who are just visiting the area, and it is dangerous for truck drivers who are passing through.
Staten Island is crowded as it is wedged between the busy cities of Elizabeth, Perth Amboy, and Bayonne in North Jersey and the rest of New York City. It is very difficult for people to avoid traffic in this area. Because many large highways cut through the island, there are no back roads or surface streets that can make a journey easier.
How can Truck Drivers Avoid Accidents?
Truck drivers who travel through Staten Island can take a few precautions. Driving through Staten Island is unlike driving through other major cities because the island is quite small. Truck drivers are bound by federal statutes to inspect their vehicles and take rest periods between their shifts. Because there were 401 truck accidents in Staten Island in 2018 alone, it is imperative that truck drivers be careful. Although this is the case, car drivers can contribute to large truck safety by following these rules:
- Never cut off or pump the brakes in front of a large truck. Large trucks have brakes that can overheat and fail easily. Trucks need longer distances to stop than cars.
- Pass large trucks on the left, and do not tailgate. When a driver cannot make an emergency stop, the car could be wedged underneath a large truck, causing severe injuries and even death.
- Look carefully and signal when changing lanes. An errant driver could hit a large truck or easily slide under it.
Drivers in the Staten Island area also have legal recourse if a large truck caused an accident. The truck driver could be held liable if they were not driving or inspecting their vehicle properly or the trucking company could be held liable for improper training, improper maintenance of the truck, or improper loading practices. Even the manufacturer can be held liable for using faulty parts.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is used to litigate injury and accident cases in New York. This means that the percentage of fault a driver bears will impact their total award. For example, a driver who is found to be 10 percent liable for a crash will only receive 90 percent of their total award because of their relative guilt where the accident is concerned. We investigate all cases to ensure that our clients are found to be completely innocent, and we will explain to our clients any issues we find as the case is handled.
Insurance companies use the same doctrine to determine how they pay claims. An insurance company may try to prevent a driver from receiving the payout they deserve. We will use our skills to fight for each client’s rights, ensure that they are compensated properly, and show that the other parties caused the accident.
What Should Drivers Tell Their Insurance Carriers?
When drivers are dealing with the aftermath of an accident, they need to contact their insurance companies to report the accident. A driver should follow the rules of their policy and make sure that they speak to an insurance agent. However, the report should be as simple as possible. When a driver calls their insurance company after an accident, they should report the following:
- An accident has occurred
- The police have been called
- The car will be taken in for repairs
- A claim will be filed
Some insurance companies use a concierge center to offer services. When arriving at the concierge center, the driver should do not give the insurance company any information about the accident. There is no need to file a claim at that time. Drivers may want to allow the insurance company to create an estimate for repairs and how the bill will be paid.
Victims should work with one of our Staten Island car accident lawyers to create the proper claim for an accident. We help clients file claims so that the insurance companies cannot deny coverage. If a driver has been denied coverage, we will step in to show that coverage should be provided. Insurance companies may send adjusters to speak to drivers about the damage done to their vehicles. Although an adjuster is supposed to ask drivers about the damage to the car and review the value of that damage, they will try to ask questions about the accident.
The adjuster could report back to the insurance company, cause the claim to be denied, or reduce the coverage based on how much they believe the driver is to blame for the accident. Our Staten Island car accident lawyers will review the case, show that the adjuster did not perform their duties properly, and fight the insurance company for coverage.
Should Drivers Collect Evidence After a Crash?
As mentioned, drivers should collect the following evidence from the scene of a car accident on Staten Island:
- Pictures and videos of the accident scene
- A copy of the accident report number along with the responding officer’s name, badge number, and precinct number
- Eyewitness accounts along with their contact information
- Pictures of construction crews, debris, and other obstacles in the road that could have caused the accident
- Medical bills after the accident
- Letters and phone calls from insurance companies and lawyers
This information can be used to show that drivers may have been harassed or tricked by a third party in the aftermath of a crash.
Why Drivers Should Never Settle for Less
Guilty drivers, their insurance companies, and their lawyers could reach out to our clients at any time. Someone who is confused by a lawyer or insurance company might say something that will nullify their claim or be used against them to lower their damage award. Because comparative negligence is used to litigate these cases, the lawyer or insurance company could claim that the injured driver is partly to blame for the crash. Clients should forward all calls, emails, and letters to our offices to be reviewed. We can speak with the stakeholders in the case, and we will ensure that they do not gather information that would be used to deny our clients coverage or the damages they deserve.
Drivers may be contacted by a lawyer who wants to settle the case as quickly as possible for a small amount of money. Because of this, drivers should not say or sign anything. We will help our injured clients recover the compensation they deserve. Drivers who are tricked into taking a small settlement should also reach out to us because the insurance company or third-party lawyer did not act in good faith.
Why Should I Seek Medical Care?
Drivers who have been injured in a crash should go to the hospital or the doctor as quickly as possible. Medical care after a crash might be extensive, and a settlement or judgement will pay for those damages. Drivers need to get treated before their injuries worsen, and they need to be checked out for internal injuries that are impossible to see.
An injury might seem like it is minor because the impact of the crash was not strong enough. These drivers, however, could continue to have progressive neck pain, experience back pain, and have a hard time working. Even a slow-moving crash that hits the side of a car could cause a broken rib that could perforate a lung. That is why drivers need to see a doctor.
We ask that drivers collect all their receipts and medical bills so that we can show how they have been affected by the crash. We do not want it to look suspicious if a driver waits months to go to the doctor, then experiences problems, and there is no record of previous medical care. Another lawyer or insurance company could claim that those injuries were not sustained in the crash.
What Happens if Someone Dies in a Crash?
When someone is killed in a car accident, their case will move to a wrongful death claim. This is another reason that drivers need to go to the hospital to be treated. If there are underlying injuries that could kill a driver, it is difficult to prove that those injuries occurred during the crash. When the wrongful death case is brought before the court, the court needs to see that the injuries or death were caused by the accident. There needs to be direct causation to prove a wrongful death claim. When we bring these lawsuits against a guilty driver or entity, we are requesting the following:
- Payment for final expenses
- Payment for outstanding medical bills
- Payment for earning potential that was lost when the driver or passenger was killed
In the state of New York, grieved families only have two years to file a wrongful death claim. Those claims should be brought to our offices as soon as possible so that we can begin an investigation. We will file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the dependent family members or heirs of the estate.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians need a personal injury attorney because representing oneself in court is not a good decision. The insurance company, guilty entity, or guilty driver will surely have a lawyer on their side, and our Staten Island car accident lawyers will stand with every client until the case is closed. Our lawyers are skilled negotiators who can work with the defendant to close the case quickly. We will present all the evidence that is needed to show that our clients deserve to be compensated, or we will go to trial prepared to argue the case before a judge and jury.
Staten Island Car Accident Lawyers at Eaton & Torrenzano Help Car Accident Victims Obtain Compensation
Anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Staten Island should reach out to the Staten Island car accident lawyers at Eaton & Torrenzano for help. Call us at 718-332-7766 or contact us online for a free consultation. We assist injured drivers and passengers every day. Located in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York, as well as Hillsborough, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Manhattan, Kings County, and Richmond County.