Car accidents, unfortunately, happen frequently on Long Island. While some car accidents are truly accidental, negligence on the part of one party or another is usually to blame. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of car accidents on Long Island and what you can do if you are involved in one.
Distracted driving is the most common cause of traffic-related accidents nationwide.
According to the CDC, there are three main types of distracted driving:
- Cognitive — Distractions that cause a driver to take their mind off the task of driving.
- Manual — Any activity that causes drivers to take their hands off the wheel.
- Visual — Distractions that cause motorists to take their eyes off the road.
Some of the main driving distractions include:
- Adjusting the radio or a GPS device
- Eating and drinking
- Personal grooming & applying makeup
- Reaching for a fallen item
- Talking on the phone
- Turning around to talk to passengers
While there are many distractions inside a vehicle, drivers can also be distracted by things outside of the vehicle. A driver who takes their eyes off the road to look at a billboard or the scene of a car accident can easily cause a collision as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an average of 29 people die every day in drunk driving-related crashes. This translates to roughly one death every 50 minutes.
When a motorist gets behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs, they could experience impaired judgment and a delayed reaction time. Even some types of prescription drugs can make operating a vehicle unsafe. Driving while intoxicated increases the risk of a car accident and puts the driver and other motorists at risk for serious injuries.
Fatigue can produce similar effects to alcohol, including limited concentration and slowed response time. When a driver gets behind the wheel without being well-rested, they run the risk of dozing off, leading to terrible crashes. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving was responsible for 697 traffic-related deaths in 2019.
In 2019, speeding caused the deaths of 9,478 people, according to the NHTSA. The NHTSA also notes that speeding has contributed to about one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities over the last two decades. The faster a motorist travels, the more time and distance they need to slow down. If a driver is speeding and they suddenly encounter a road hazard such as another vehicle or a pedestrian, they may not have sufficient time or space to stop. Driving too fast in low visibility conditions such as hazardous weather can also contribute to accidents.
Reckless driving is a broad term that describes various careless driving behaviors.
Some common types of reckless driving include:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to obey traffic signage
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Passing on curves or when not allowed
- Passing stopped school buses
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Street racing
- Swerving in and out of traffic lanes
- Unsafe lane changes
New York state law defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle in a manner that endangers other motorists and interferes with “free and proper use” of highways. In New York, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $300 fine for a first offense.
Tailgating occurs when one vehicle follows another vehicle too closely. If the driver in front suddenly brakes, the tailgating driver could ram into the back of the vehicle in front of them. Following too closely is also a traffic offense in New York and could affect a motorist’s permanent driving record if cited for the violation.
Teen drivers have less experience behind the wheel than most adult drivers. As a result, teenagers are usually not prepared to take on the same level of driving responsibility as more experienced drivers. Teens can easily get distracted while driving (especially if they drive their friends around) and may not be as familiar with traffic laws.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,042 individuals were killed in accidents that involved a teen driver in 2019. Of the teen drivers who died in 2019, 45% were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
It is important for parents of teen drivers to ensure that their children are educated on the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and other reckless driving behaviors. The less knowledge and experience a driver has, the more likely they are to cause a terrible accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident on Long Island
If you were injured in a car accident on Long Island, you could pursue compensation for your injuries. New Yorkers are required to possess no-fault auto insurance, also known as personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical expenses and lost wages up to a person’s policy limits, regardless of who caused the accident.
If you were seriously injured in a car accident, you might be entitled to bring a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You could seek additional damages through a personal injury claim or lawsuit, including property damage and pain and suffering.
To protect your rights, there are several steps you should take after an accident:
- Call 911 and report the accident. Law enforcement will create an accident report containing pertinent information regarding the accident and may help strengthen your claim.
- Collect any necessary or helpful evidence regarding the crash. Take pictures of your injuries, damage to your car, and the accident scene as a whole, if possible. Talk to any bystanders who may have seen the accident occur and ask for their contact information.
- Seek prompt medical attention. Most insurance companies require you to be seen within three days. The longer you put off a medical evaluation, the more likely the insurance company will refuse liability. Many injuries aren’t immediately apparent in the direct aftermath of a crash. It’s important to have a medical professional officially document any injuries and set you up with a treatment plan.
- If required, report the accident to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV). If someone was injured or killed in the accident, you must report the crash within ten days. You are also required to report the accident to the DMV if there was over $1,000 in property damage.
Lastly, you should consult with an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer. Navigating the claims process on your own can be challenging. An accomplished attorney can handle every aspect of your case for you, including settlement negotiations, so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.
Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. Today
Were you seriously injured in a car accident on Long Island? Contact the Long Island car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. today to discuss your case and evaluate your options for financial relief.
We have the resources to determine what caused the accident, gather evidence to support your claim, and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to set up a free consultation by calling 855-TOP-FIRM or filling out our online contact form.