New York Car Accident Lawyer
Getting into a car accident can ruin your day. Getting seriously injured in a car accident can completely change your life.
New York is the fourth most populated state in the nation behind Florida, Texas, and California, so it’s no surprise that it has some of the most congested roads as well. New York City alone is home to a little over eight million people, with statistics showing that an automobile seriously injures or kills a citizen every two hours.
The typical process after a car accident is to file a claim with your insurance company. Most policies have limits, though, and they may not go far enough to cover all your expenses. The insurance company may deny your claim or try to say you were at fault for the accident. At that point, you’ll need help to recover your damages.
At Chaffin Luhana, our mission is to help restore car accident victims to wholeness in the New York area. When we take on your case, we put our decades of national experience to work fighting for you.
Car Accidents in New York
In 2021, there were 1,099 fatal crashes in the state of New York, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They resulted in 1,157 deaths, including 293 pedestrian deaths.
According to the New York State Department of Health, on average, three New Yorkers die every day due to a traffic-related crash. Between 2020 and 2021, traffic fatalities increased, with fatal crashes up 13 percent in the first half of 2021.
In New York City, there were over 100,000 total car accidents in 2022. A total of 37,848 of those involved an injury or fatality. The largest number of fatalities (35 percent) took place in Brooklyn, while Staten Island had the fewest serious or fatal accidents.
In 2014, New York City adopted the Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries on New York City streets by 2024. In 2022, the city experienced a decline in traffic fatalities for the first time since 2019. Lawmakers credited speed cameras and intersection improvements for the change.
Despite the improvements, there were still 255 total traffic fatalities on New York City streets in 2022, a 23.8 percent higher number than the 206 recorded in 2018.
When to Hire a New York Car Accident Lawyer
New York is a no-fault state. That means that insured drivers are generally covered for damages by their own insurance companies regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident.
If you’re in a car accident in New York, then, you must first file a claim with your own insurance company. Many times, that will be enough for you to recover damages.
But sometimes your losses may exceed the amount of coverage you have on your insurance policy. If that happens, a New York car accident lawyer can help. The insurance company may also refuse to pay out your claim. If the company is stalling or trying to minimize your settlement, a skilled lawyer can help you negotiate with them.
When an accident causes you to suffer severe injuries or causes extensive property damage, you will likely need to pursue other avenues of recovery. Particularly if the other party was at fault for the accident, or if there were multiple parties involved, a New York car accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the law to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you discover any of the following, you owe it to yourself to speak with a New York car accident attorney.
- Your insurance company offers you less than you require in a settlement
- Your insurance claim is denied
- You will need surgery or ongoing medical treatment
- You can’t return to work
- The daily tasks of life are proving much more difficult because of your injuries
- The other driver was clearly at fault
How to Choose the Right New York Car Accident Lawyer
There are a lot of New York car accident attorneys. It can feel overwhelming to try to choose the one that will be best suited to deal with your particular type of case. Follow these steps when making your selection.
Do Your Research
Begin by asking friends and family for recommendations, but then do your research. Start with an online search for a New York City or New York state car accident attorney. Look for those attorneys who specialize in representing plaintiffs in car accident cases. Motor vehicle lawsuits can be complex, so look for a law firm with a lot of experience and a track record of good results.
Check the firm’s online reviews and look to see if the lawyers are members of respected organizations such as the American Bar Association. Finally, make sure the lawyers have trial experience. Your case may not go to trial, but you want someone who has experience in court if such a step becomes necessary.
Schedule an Initial Consultation
In your search, narrow down your list to the top five or so New York lawyers or law firms. Then call each one and schedule an initial consultation. Most law firms (including Chaffin Luhana) will provide a free initial meeting where you can ask questions and determine whether a) you have a case and b) you want to move forward with that firm.
During that initial meeting, ask the attorney about their general experience, their history with cases like yours, how they handle fees, and who would be working on your case. Get to know the lawyer and their staff. Find out if the firm has additional resources to help secure expert witnesses and appropriately investigate your case.
Trust Your Gut
After meeting with the New York attorneys on your list, decide which one inspires the most confidence when it comes to resolving your case.
Why Choose Our New York Car Accident Lawyers
At Chaffin Luhana, we focus only on plaintiffs like you who have been injured and need help obtaining fair compensation. We have the experience and the resources you need and pride ourselves on providing regular and helpful communication.
Our hard-working team includes former federal and state prosecutors, former state and federal judicial law clerks, former large defense firm attorneys, court-appointed leaders in the national Plaintiffs’ bar, and social workers—a team with unique and in-depth experience to guide you through your case.
As national leaders in the plaintiffs’ bar, we have extensive experience that is nationally recognized. To date, partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana have been involved in recovering over $1 billion for their clients so far. The firm itself has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for individually injured plaintiffs.
Finally, we believe in giving back to our communities. With a mission of “Doing Good by Doing Right™,” we have donated a substantial portion of the firm’s revenues—hundreds of thousands of dollars to date—to charitable causes and issues that impact our clients and local communities. The Chaffin Luhana Foundation has also funded scientific research, donated to dozens of charities, and given away numerous college scholarships.
What Our Clients Have to Say About Chaffin Luhana
Below is a small sampling of the testimonials we have received from our clients:
Over $4 Million Recovery
“I was very pleased with the representation that I received for my case. I had a positive experience with this firm and I would recommend your firm to my family and friends.”
– Judy R., Product Liability Injury Client
Nearly $3 Million Recovery
“I would tell prospective client[s of your firm] to be patient – trust your lawyers, trust that they know what they are doing, even though it is hard for people not in the business to understand all the legal wording and details.”
– Duane B, Product Liability Injury Client
Automobile Accident Victim
“They treat you like family. I was even sent a sympathy card when my mother passed, which was totally unexpected.”
– Debra S., Personal Injury Client
Automobile Accident Victim
“[Chaffin Luhana] definitely delivered. The previous firm told me they couldn’t help me. My mom saw the commercial and she said try someone else. I called you and within four months you had it all resolved.”
– Carley H., Personal Injury Client
Find more testimonials here.
Types of New York Car Accident Cases Handled
A car accident may seem pretty straightforward: one car crashes into another. But when it comes to seeking damages for your losses, the process that you and your lawyer follow may be different depending on what type of accident you were in.
Traffic experts and insurance companies use different categories to help them identify specific issues in a car accident. The following categories are the most common. Chaffin Luhana has extensive experience dealing with each one.
Drunk Driving Accidents
More than 30 percent of motor vehicle crashes in New York State involve alcohol, according to government data. The share of traffic fatalities in NYC related to driving while intoxicated (DWI) has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2021, 43 traffic deaths were directly tied to DWI, a 60 percent increase over the prior 3-year average of 27 fatalities.
If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, our New York drunk driving crash attorneys at Chaffin Luhana can help. We will thoroughly investigate the accident, uncovering all the important details needed to help you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Distracted Driving Accidents
In 2001, New York became the first state in the nation to ban hand-held cell phone use while driving. Further legislation in 2009 prohibited texting while driving.
Yet distracted driving is still a big problem in New York. Between 2017 and 2021, it was the ninth-worst state for distracted driving in the nation, with 12 percent of all fatal crashes involving a distracted driver.
If you were in an accident where another driver’s distracted driving was involved, contact a well-qualified New York car accident attorney. They can make sure that all evidence is uncovered that may prove your case, helping increase the odds that you’ll be compensated fairly.
Head-On Collision Accidents
Head-on collision accidents are extremely dangerous and often result in some of the worst injuries. These accidents occur when vehicles driving in opposite directions crash front-to-front. If a single car drives straight into a stationary object, such as a telephone pole, that’s also considered a head-on collision.
The most common causes of head-on collisions include distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, failing to yield, and speeding.
Injuries from a head-on collision may include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and burns that lead to disfigurement. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in 2019, frontal impacts like these accounted for 57 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.
If you are involved in an accident like this, it’s wise to get legal help right away. Your losses are likely to be substantial due to the severity of the injuries.
In 2021, rollover accidents caused a total of 7,640 passenger vehicle deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A rollover crash occurs if the vehicle tips onto its side or roof at any time during the crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted in a report on rollover crashes that they are more likely to result in fatalities than other types of crashes. Consumer Reports notes that rollovers account for only about 3 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, yet are responsible for about 30 percent of all car accident fatalities.
Many SUVs have been recalled because of rollover risks. Your car accident attorney can look for evidence of manufacturer negligence if your vehicle was involved in a rollover, as well as any other evidence that will support your case.
In 2018, over a third of Americans (36 percent) used a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Though most rides end safely, accidents can happen. Between 2017 and 2018, Uber reported 107 total fatalities across 97 fatal crashes.
Accidents with ride-sharing vehicles such as Uber and Lyft can be more complex than other accidents. That’s because it’s not always clear-cut who is to blame or with whom you should file a claim.
Typically, you would file a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier. But if the driver was working for the company at the time, the insurance company may seek to defer costs to that company. The situation can get complicated quickly.
Chaffin Luhana has the experience needed to navigate these types of complicated cases and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
About 300 pedestrians are killed and 15,000 injured each year in the state of New York, according to the New York Department of Health. More than 3,000 pedestrians are admitted to the hospital annually. The Governors Highway Safety Association blames these injuries and deaths on speeding, distracted driving, and roads that prioritize car drivers.
New York’s Vision Zero program recorded a drop in pedestrian deaths in 2022, with data showing a decrease in fatalities of 6.3 percent over those that occurred in 2019. Still, there were 118 pedestrian deaths that year in New York City alone.
Improved infrastructure and safe driving enforcement can help keep pedestrians safe. The New York City Department of Transportation’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan designates priority corridors, intersections, and areas, and “outlines a comprehensive plan for each borough in order to guide Vision Zero street safety improvement work.”
If you were injured in a car-pedestrian accident, our car accident attorneys will investigate the location of the accident, examine evidence from the vehicle itself, and gather information about the driver to help support your case.
In 2021, there were 5,788 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. That was a 17-percent increase from 2020.
Seventy-two percent of people killed in these crashes were occupants of other vehicles. On average nationwide, 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes were large trucks. In New York, they made up 8.1 percent.
Large trucks weigh a lot more than passenger cars and trucks. In a crash, they can cause significant and life-changing damage. They’re also more likely than passenger vehicles to be involved in fatal multivehicle traffic crashes. Chaffin Luhana’s attorneys have aggressively advocated for years on behalf of trucking accident victims to ensure they are appropriately compensated for their injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that on average, between 2010 and 2020, intercity buses accounted for 11 percent, and school buses and transit buses for 38 percent and 35 percent respectively, of all buses involved in fatal crashes nationwide.
According to Forbes Advisor, in 2022, around 4 percent of collisions in New York City involved a bus, totaling 3,615 accidents.
Like truck accidents, bus accidents can be devastating because of their large weight. The attorneys at Chaffin Luhana understand the importance of investigating each case to find out whether the company was properly maintaining its buses, whether it did its due diligence in hiring its drivers, and whether it may have been pushing drivers beyond reasonable expectations.
Motorcycle accidents have increased recently. According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, fatal motorcycle crashes in New York were up 50 percent in 2021 compared to 2019. Data shows that 198 fatal crashes killed 204 people, with motorcycle crashes representing over 18 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in New York.
Motorcycles leave riders highly vulnerable to injury in an accident with an automobile. They are 28 times more likely to lose their lives in a crash with an automobile than other motorists on the road. They’re also four times as likely to sustain an injury in a collision.
According to a study by the National Transportation Safety Board, 64 percent of crashes involving motorcycles were caused by errors or failures on the part of the other driver. Getting a car accident attorney on your side can help make sure you receive the compensation you need as you work to recover.
Types of Serious Injuries Sustained in a New York Car Accident
Serious injuries that may result from a car accident include the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Broken Bones
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Foot and Ankle Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
- Wrist and Hand Injuries
- Crush Injuries
- Internal Injuries and Bleeding
- Disfiguring Facial Injuries and Scars
- Limb Loss and Amputations
- Burn Injuries
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you get a lawyer for a car accident in New York?
If any of the following is true for you, you will be more likely to obtain the compensation you deserve if you hire a car accident attorney:
- The accident involved more than two parties, including other drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians
- At least one person was seriously injured
- You’re having trouble getting a fair settlement from the insurance company
- Your insurance company denies your claim
- Your medical expenses have exceeded the amount covered by your insurance policy
- Your accident resulted in extensive property damage
- Your bills are piling up and you can’t return to work
- You need to bring your case to court
What is the average car accident settlement in New York?
New York’s at-fault law requires insurance companies to pay accident victims up to $50,000 for economic and medical losses. There is no requirement to pay for pain and suffering damages. Permanent injury cases may be able to recover more.
If you hire a car accident attorney, he or she can help make sure you recover all your damages. Though each case is different, a car accident settlement may range from $25,000 to $250,000 or more. Factors affecting the amount include the severity of the injuries and property damage, the number of parties involved, and what caused the accident.
Is NY a no-fault state for car accidents?
Yes. New York is a no-fault state. That means that insured drivers are generally reimbursed for their losses by their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. If you were severely injured and your expenses exhaust your insurance policy limits, a New York car accident attorney may be able to help you find compensation from other sources.
How long does it take for a car accident lawsuit to settle in New York?
Every case is different, so there is no standard timeline for settling a car accident case. The process typically takes a few weeks to a few months for less complicated cases. If there were multiple parties involved or if you’re having difficulties with the insurance company, it may take up to a year or more.
What is the statute of limitations for a car accident in New York?
In New York, the statute of limitations for a personal injury action—such as one involving a car accident—is three years. The date begins on the date of the accident.
There are some exceptions to this rule:
- Municipalities: If your case involves a municipality, you have less time. For cases involving the City of New York, you have 90 days to file a Notice of Claim.
- Wrongful death: If you or a loved one died in a car accident, you have only two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit.
- Minors: If the injured party is a child, the child has three years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
What to do after a serious accident?
The actions you take immediately after a car accident can have a large impact on your claim if you decide to file one later. Thus, it’s best to follow these recommendations:
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Call 911 if needed. Later, be sure to have yourself checked out by a doctor, even if you feel fine. It will be good to have a record of this visit if you need it.
Call the police. They can help with any injured parties and will create an official report of the accident, which you will need later if you decide to file a car accident lawsuit.
Gather Contact Information
Gather contact and insurance information from the other parties involved in the accident. Then gather contact information from any witnesses.
Take photos if you’re able. Document what happened at the scene. Include pictures of all vehicles and license plates, the road surface, injuries you and your passengers suffered, debris from the accident, and traffic signs.
Don’t Post on Social Media
Anything you post on social media can be used to reduce or deny your compensation by your insurance company. Other liable parties may also try to use it to prove you were at fault or that your injuries are not as bad as you claim.
What not to say after a NYC accident?
To protect yourself and your ability to recover damages, avoid saying any of the following after a car accident:
- I’m sorry: This can be construed as you admitting fault.
- I didn’t see you: This may be true, but avoid saying it as again, it can diminish your ability to recover damages.
- I’m fine: After an accident, you are likely to have a lot of adrenaline pumping through your system. It helps mask any injuries. But whiplash, spinal injuries, and others can show up later, so don’t discuss this topic with anyone else at the accident site. You can say, “I’m not sure. I need to see my doctor.”
- Let’s settle this ourselves: New York law requires any auto accident that involves more than $1,000 of apparent damage to be reported to the police or the DMV. If you settle with the other driver(s) at the scene, you may lose your chance to pursue a formal claim down the road.
How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance?
In New York, you have 30 days from the date of the accident to report it to your insurance company. If you don’t, the insurance company has grounds to deny your claim.
What if I was partly at fault for the accident?
New York is a “pure comparative negligence” state. That means that a victim can recover for any portion of the damages for which they were not at fault.
If you were more than 50% responsible for the accident, for example, you can still recover 50 percent of your damages. If you were 90 percent responsible, you can still recover 10 percent of your damages.
There may be a dispute over fault in your case. A New York car accident attorney can present your side in the best light to improve your chances of receiving the compensation you need.
What types of damages will a car accident settlement cover?
In general, there are three major types of damages:
- Compensatory: These are the most common and the most easily identifiable damages. They are paid to “compensate” you for losses like medical expenses, lost wages, and property replacement.
- General: These cannot be readily tied to a dollar amount. They include pain and suffering, a shortened life expectancy, and mental anguish.
- Punitive: These are awarded for the sole purpose of punishing the defendant for their conduct.
Settlements consist of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses: You can expect to be compensated for any medical expenses for which you have proof. If you have to have more surgeries, treatments, therapies, and prescriptions in the future, the insurance company or court may offer compensation for these as well.
- Lost wages: If you missed work because of your injuries, you may be compensated for lost wages. If you can’t return to your job in the future, your future lost wages may also be recoverable.
- Potential earnings: Similar to lost wages, this is a figure representing what you would have earned had not the accident taken place.
- Property damage: These damages would help pay to restore or replace your vehicle. If you had other property in the car that was damaged, such as a computer or cell phone, those costs may also be figured into this award.
- Out-of-pocket expenses relating to the accident: If you have to travel to your medical appointments, you may be able to be reimbursed for mileage, parking fees, rental car fees, and the like. Childcare, cleaning help, personal assistance, and other household services may also be recoverable if you can prove that you were unable to perform these activities while recovering.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering: This refers to any physical pain and discomfort that you suffered during and after the accident. It may include emotional or psychological suffering as well, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Loss of consortium: This is a legal term used to describe the loss of a partner or spouse’s physical companionship, including a sexual relationship. If you or a passenger in your vehicle was injured in such a way that it affects your relationship, you could be eligible for these damages.
- Loss of enjoyment: If you find that your injuries make it more difficult to enjoy the activities you once enjoyed, or if you can no longer take part in your day-to-day activities, you may be entitled to compensation for these losses.
How do I know if I have a claim worth pursuing?
Your car accident attorney can help you figure out the total amount of your damages. They will look at things like the seriousness of your injuries, how those injuries are affecting your life, and the evidence available to show that other parties or entities were liable.
You owe it to yourself to get advice from your lawyer. Sometimes, what may seem to be a minor injury to you—such as a backache—could develop into a worse problem down the road. If it affects your ability to do your job, you could be looking at lost wages in the future or even the necessity of finding a different job.
An experienced New York car accident lawyer understands how these things work, and can advise you on the best course of action to take to be sure that you can properly recover from this accident.
What if the accident was all my fault?
New York’s no-fault law allows you to recover damages from your insurance company even if you were at fault for the accident. If your policy limits do not cover your expenses, talk to your car accident attorney. It could be that you share fault in the accident with another party and you could recover a percentage of your losses in a car accident lawsuit.
Your Trusted Car Accident Lawyer in New York
The car accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana serve the New York City and New York State area. We are passionate advocates for plaintiffs who have suffered injuries in car accidents and stand ready to help you pursue compensation to the fullest extent allowed under New York law.
Call us today at (888) 480-1123.