Although owning a car and driving daily is something that the majority of Americans do without a second thought, the fact is that it is extremely dangerous to be on the road. Every year in New York, around 1000 people are killed in car accidents. To make matters worse, many of these accidents could have been prevented.
Highway With A History
One sunny day, a 54-year-old driver and her sister-in-law who was 63-years old, were driving on a stretch of highway when suddenly an object in the road appeared. The driver swerved to avoid hitting it and lost control of her vehicle, which crossed over the grass median and into the oncoming traffic on the other side. Their car struck a tractor-trailer in a head-on collision.
While the driver of the tractor-trailer was unharmed, both of the women in the car were fatally injured. They each were survived by a husband and adult children.
Both of the surviving husbands filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging that if the state Department of Transportation had erected a barrier to divide the two sides of the highway that both women would have survived the accident.
The plaintiffs provided evidence that their loved ones were not the only ones to have sustained fatal injuries. Just nine months before, another crash under similar circumstances took place and a man and his 6-year-old daughter were killed when they were struck by a car that had crossed the median.
The defendant countered this is claimed that the driver was responsible for losing control and that because the median was 81-feet across, that provided an ample buffer zone in which a car may be able to come to a complete stop and avoid a collision entirely.
The case went to trial and after careful consideration, a jury found that the state was 85% at fault and the driver was 15% at fault. A total of $47 million was awarded to the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs Can Be Considered At Fault Too
In many cases, the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the accident which caused their injuries. This should never stop someone from considering legal action, however, due to the fact that New York is a pure comparative negligence state.
This means that even if a plaintiff is partially at fault, they are not prevented from pursuing legal action. However, any amount that they obtain will be reduced by the percentage of the accident that they were at fault for. If you are wondering if you might have been partially at fault, it is always a good idea to contact a car accident attorney who can review your case and explain your legal options.
How Soon Should I Contact An Attorney?
As soon as possible! This is particularly important in accidents were serious injuries were sustained or a death occurred. Not only does evidence disappear quickly but there is a statute of limitations, meaning that victims only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit after an accident has occurred.
Additionally, an attorney can assist you by speaking with all insurance companies on your behalf, something that most people dread even when they aren’t injured.
Will My Attorney Need A Police Report?
You should always call the police and make a report after an accident. This report can provide an attorney with information that is vital to your case, including the other driver’s name, insurance information, and any details that you, the other driver, or witnesses may have provided after the accident.
What Is My Case Worth?
That is the question our team is asked the most – and the most difficult to answer. In order to determine what your case may be worth, we need to review all of the evidence in your case, including the police report, witness statements, you or your loved one’s medical bills, and medical records. Only then can we provide an estimate as to how much each individual case may be worth.
During this review, we will also let you know if there are other legal ways through which you may be able to obtain compensation.