Bronx Motor Vehicle Accidents Lawyer
For 2019, 22,838 motor vehicle accidents in The Bronx caused 9,505 personal injuries and 25 deaths. Most of these crashes involved property damage only, and where an injury was involved, mostly these cases were classified as minor. Nevertheless, nearly 1,500 of those injuries were considered to be moderate to serious injuries.
New York’s no-fault system can take care of those with property damage or only minor injuries, but in the case of a serious injury, the $50,000 limit of basic no-fault coverage is not nearly enough to cover the doctor and hospital bills and loss of income that follows, and it doesn’t address at all so-called non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or compensation for the emotional toll of scarring, disfigurement, amputation or paralysis.
In these severe cases, injury victims can move beyond the no-fault limits and sue the at-fault driver directly for damages caused by the driver’s negligence. Michael Gunzburg, P.C. takes on serious injury cases arising out of motor vehicle accidents in The Bronx. Our firm is dedicated to providing outstanding personal service and achieving the best results for our clients. We have a history of obtaining verdicts and settlements in excess of a million dollars for clients injured in car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, bicycle and bus accidents in The Bronx and throughout New York City. If you or a loved one experienced a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident in The Bronx, call our office for a free consultation to discuss your claim.
Can I Recover Compensation From a Negligent Driver if I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt?
Bronx Car Crashes and the New York Seat Belt Defense
Seatbelt usage has been required in New York since 1984 when New York became the first state in the nation to pass a mandatory seat belt law. Failing to wear a seatbelt is a primary offense in New York, meaning the police can pull you over and ticket you for not wearing a seatbelt without needing any other reason to stop you first.
The most recent data show that seat belt usage in New York is at an all-time high of 93%. Even so, when seatbelts aren’t worn, the results can be disastrous. Statistics show that about a third of front-seat occupants who were killed in New York car crashes were unrestrained, rising to 37% of fatal crash victims when both the front and back seats are included. Of course, this data also shows that in the vast majority of fatal crashes, the victims were in fact wearing their seat belts but died anyway. Anyhow, as of November 1, 2020, New York law now requires all passengers 16 and up to wear seat belts, regardless of whether they are sitting in the front or back seat.
Even people who regularly buckle up might not have had their seat belt on at the time of a crash. Perhaps you were only going for a short trip, dashing in and out of a convenience store. Perhaps you were stuck in stop-and-go traffic and took off the seat belt to stretch for a second or reach something in the back seat. If you were unfortunate enough to get rear-ended at that particular moment, can you still recover compensation from the driver who hit you? The answer depends on a number of factors.
New York is among a minority of states that allow negligent defendants to raise “the seat belt defense.” In New York, you can still recover damages from the negligent driver who hit you if you weren’t wearing your seat belt, but you can’t recover compensation for any amount of damages that would not have occurred had you been belted.
There is no one formula or percentage reduction in recovery based on the fact you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Instead, the other side will have to prove that you would not have been injured had you been restrained. This is a complicated question to answer. The insurance companies want to rely on data gained from crash safety tests, but these tests are conducted under controlled conditions with crash test dummies of a certain size. They don’t necessarily reflect your height, weight and body type. They also don’t match your position in the seat, how far forward or back the seat was positioned in the car, the angle and speed at which you were hit, and other factors. Crash tests can’t account for all the dynamic factors that go into a collision. While the other side might make unfair arguments about your injuries, we take the time to investigate the crash, understand what happened, and document how and why your injuries occurred. We’ll fight to see that you get all the compensation you need and deserve and are not unfairly penalized for not wearing a seat belt when that fact didn’t contribute to your specific injuries.
Dedicated and Successful Bronx Car Accident Lawyer
Michael Gunzburg, P.C., has the knowledge, skills and experience needed to get results in a Bronx car crash injury case. We combine those qualities with a fierce determination to do the best we can for our clients who need and deserve a fair amount of compensation after they’ve been harmed by the negligence of a drunk, distracted, reckless or just plain negligent driver. If you’ve been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in The Bronx, call Michael Gunzburg, P.C. to discuss your needs and claim for compensation.