Born and Raised in Flatbush, Choose Us for Your Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyer
The last thing you want to think about when you suffer injuries in a Brooklyn car accident is hiring a lawyer. Your only concern is your health and well-being. But the choice of a lawyer is important. The right Brooklyn car accident lawyer can help you resolve insurance issues and provide answers to your questions about the legal process.
Attorney Brian J. O’Connor was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and knows that the borough is home to some of the most dangerous roads and intersections in New York City, including Flatbush Avenue and Tillary Street, Atlantic Avenue, and Bedford Avenue, and Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Brooklyn due to someone else’s negligence, give us a call today, and let us help you recover everything you deserve. In addition to your injuries, you may be overwhelmed with medical appointments, insurance company phone calls, and filling out paperwork. Our accident attorneys will take on the burden of dealing with the insurance company and medical billing departments so that you can focus on your recovery.
Automobile Accident Cases We Handle in Brooklyn
We help injured New Yorkers who have suffered injuries due to the carelessness of others in all of the following types of accidents:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Uber or Lyft accidents
- Taxi accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Your ability to recover maximum compensation for your injuries depends on your understanding of your legal rights after an accident. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we pride ourselves in educating injured New Yorkers about their specific type of accident so that they can make informed decisions. Contact us today at 718-948-3500 and let us help you understand your rights. All initial consultations with a Brooklyn car accident lawyer are free.
Brooklyn Car Accident Statistics
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are about three million people injured in auto accidents every year with more than 100 deaths per day. A review of recent data provided by the New York City Police Department indicates that there were 8,126 motor vehicle collisions in New York City in December 2022 with more than 2,600 collisions in Brooklyn alone.
A breakdown of the vehicle collision in Brooklyn for December 2022 is as follows:
Brooklyn Vehicle Collisions for December 2022
Injury or fatal collisions
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Brooklyn
Many car accidents in Brooklyn are caused by speeding or distracted driving on roads like the Belt Parkway, Gowanus Expressway as well as local streets, including Kings Highway, Ocean Parkway, Avenue U, and 4th Avenue. Car accidents happen for various reasons. Human error is the source of many accidents.
In fact, human error causes 94% of all car accidents.
According to the most recent Motor Vehicle Collision Report from the New York City Police Department, the following factors were the most common contributing causes to vehicle accidents and injuries in December 2022 in Brooklyn:
- Driver inattention/distraction
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Following too closely
- Passing too closely
- Unsafe speed
- Backing up unsafely
- Improper passing or lane usage
- Disregarded traffic controls
- Alcohol involvement
- Turning improperly
- Driver inexperience
- Unsafe lane change
- Aggressive driving/road rage
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident in Brooklyn, it is important to get the information you need early so that you can protect your rights before the insurance company attempts to take advantage of your situation.
A Brooklyn car accident lawyer at The O’Connor Law Firm can help you deal with the insurance company and fight to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us today at 718-948-3500 and we will gladly answer your questions or schedule a free case evaluation by filling out our contact form below.
Steps to Take After a Brooklyn Car Accident
Whether you have suffered injuries on some of Brooklyn’s most dangerous roads like Jay Street or Atlantic Avenue, or you were injured on a side street or alley, you deserve justice. To help you get there, you should follow these steps after a car crash in Brooklyn.
Even if the accident or your injuries were minor, calling 911 sends the police to the scene. The police will speak with witnesses and with both drivers. They will compile their information in a police report. This report may not assign fault, but it will help your legal representative hold the negligent party responsible for your accident and injuries.
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
If your injuries are severe, calling 911 will allow emergency medical personnel the opportunity to evaluate you. They may determine that you need additional care and will take you to the hospital. Even after your initial review, see your regular doctor. No one knows you better and they will be able to help you chart a course for recovery. Additionally, their notes about how your injuries have affected your life will also be helpful in your personal injury claim.
TAKE PICTURES AND SPEAK WITH WITNESSES
We all carry our phones with us wherever we go. Make sure you use that technology to take pictures and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, as well as any damage to the vehicles involved. You also want to speak with witnesses. Many witnesses will not wait around for the police to arrive, so you at least want to get their contact information. Your legal team will want to speak with any witnesses to your accident, as they can often shed light on important facts about the seconds leading up to your crash.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Over time, you will not remember every obstacle and hurdle you faced on your road to recovery. But this is important information and can help show what you had to endure to get back to your regular life. These details may be able to increase the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries.
How Do I Win My Brooklyn Car Crash Case?
Personal injury lawsuits – including car accident cases – are usually based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. Negligence is a legal term that is usually defined as the failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the vast majority of motor vehicle accidents are caused by driver error. This typically takes the form of negligence, such as speeding, driving too fast for conditions, or failure to yield. If someone else’s negligence causes your auto accident, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against them.
To demonstrate negligence, you will have to prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- Duty: the at-fault driver (defendant) owed you a duty to use reasonable care.
- Breach: the defendant breached or violated that duty in some way.
- Causation: this violation was the but-for or proximate cause of your accident (i.e., but for the defendant running a red light, the accident would not have occurred).
- Damages: you (the plaintiff) suffered losses as a result.
In many cases, negligence is relatively straightforward. For example, if another vehicle rear-ends you, then it may be fairly easy to establish that they were at fault for the accident. However, there are many situations where proving negligence is not so simple.
This often occurs in multi-vehicle accidents, where it may be hard to pinpoint exactly whose negligence caused the pile-up. In other cases, you may have to prove that an accident was caused by poor road maintenance in a claim against a government entity responsible for maintaining the road.
There may also be times when the injury victim is partially at fault for the crash. Fortunately, New York follows the rule of comparative negligence. Under this law, you can still seek financial compensation from another driver even if you were somewhat to blame for the crash. Your total recovery will then be reduced by the percentage that you were found to be at fault for the accident.
Finally, some car accidents cannot be chalked up to mere carelessness. If a person acts intentionally or recklessly, then can be held accountable for any damages that they cause. For example, if a person gets behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs and causes a drunk driving accident, they will be responsible for the crash. In this situation, they may even be liable for additional damages – known as punitive damages – that are designed to punish them for their wrongful conduct.
In order to win a Brooklyn car crash case, it is not enough to simply prove duty, breach, and causation. An injury victim in a car crash case must also prove damages.
Under New York’s “serious injury” threshold law, not every injury qualifies for compensation. In fact, you could lose a car crash case if your injury fails to satisfy the definition of a “serious injury” under the law. If you’ve been injured in a Brooklyn car accident you should contact an experienced Brooklyn car accident lawyer at The O’Connor Law Firm to determine whether your injuries qualify as a serious injury. We can explain the law to you and help you understand how to prove a serious injury to give you the best chance to win your Brooklyn car crash case.
What is New York Serious Injury Threshold Law?
In order to win a Brooklyn car accident case, you must prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries and that those injuries are serious as defined by New York Insurance Law 5102(d). The law details the type and severity of injuries that are considered “serious” enough to qualify for compensation. Some injuries are temporary or minor and do not qualify under the law. In contrast, a “serious injury” is defined as a personal injury that results in:
- Significant disfigurement;
- A fracture;
- Loss of a fetus;
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system;
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
- A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system; or a
- Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment
As you can see, while some of these “injuries” may be easy to understand, others appear vague and confusing leaving injury victims with more questions than answers. An experienced Brooklyn car accident lawyer at The O’Connor Law Firm can explain the nuances of this law and apply it to your injuries as many soft tissue injuries, including herniated discs, may or may not satisfy the threshold law. Call us today at 718-948-3500 and schedule a free case review.
The Car Accident Lawsuit Process
If you were involved in a collision, you may be curious about what your rights are – and what will happen if you decide to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. As an initial matter, it is important that you do not give a statement to their insurance adjuster or sign any paperwork until after you have had a chance to talk to a Brooklyn car accident attorney. The insurance company is not looking out for your best interests, and anything that you say or do could be used to undermine your claim.
Most car accident cases start with a free initial consultation with a personal injury law firm. During this appointment, you’ll get a chance to tell your story. The attorney will listen to you, and then offer you legal advice on your rights and options for filing a claim.
If you decide to hire a law firm, they will get started right away with an investigation. This may include requesting an accident report from the police, locating and interviewing witnesses, speaking with expert witnesses, analyzing medical records, and reviewing photos and videos of the accident scene. At the same time, they will perform legal research to support your claim.
At this point, your lawyer will draft a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This letter will explain the facts of the case, the legal reason why the insured is responsible for the accident, and then make a demand for compensation (damages). In most cases, the insurance company will respond to the demand letter with a counteroffer. This begins the negotiation process.
The vast majority of car accident cases are resolved via settlement – sometimes without ever filing a formal lawsuit. In other words, while it is possible, it is unlikely that you will have to go to trial if you file a car accident claim. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, then your attorney may advise you that it is necessary to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that you will have to go to court. Instead, it is an opportunity for the parties to continue negotiations while they prepare for trial. Having a skilled Brooklyn car accident attorney can often increase the likelihood that your case will settle because the insurance company will know that your lawyer is ready, willing, and able to take the case to trial – and win.
After the lawsuit has been filed and served on the defendant, they will have an opportunity to submit an answer. At this point, the pre-trial process begins. During this phase, the parties will file legal motions with the court. They will also engage in discovery, which is an exchange of information between the parties.
Discovery can take several different forms, including depositions, requests for production, requests for admissions, and interrogatories (questions). Your attorney will respond to written discovery requests, with your input, and will prepare you to testify in a deposition if necessary. They will also send discovery requests of their own to the defense.
During discovery, the parties often learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. This can also push the case closer to settlement. A seasoned Brooklyn car accident lawyer will use this time to build the strongest possible case for compensation.
Negotiations will typically continue up until the eve of the trial. In the rare event that a settlement cannot be achieved, then the case will go to trial. In court, your attorney will make arguments, introduce evidence, and question witnesses before asking the jury to return a verdict in your favor.
After the jury issues a verdict, there may be an opportunity for one or both sides to file an appeal. Your attorney can advise you of the rules regarding appeals in New York. If you were successful at trial and the defendant does not file an appeal, then you will receive a settlement check.
From start to finish, the process may take as little as a few months or more than a year. Generally, if the case goes to trial, it will take at least a year to resolve. Throughout the process, your attorney will keep you updated on the progress and consult with you about settlement offers. Working with an experienced lawyer is often the key to getting a top-dollar settlement as quickly as possible after filing a claim.
New York’s No-Fault Law
New York is a no-fault insurance state. This means that even if someone else caused your accident, your insurance company may cover your expenses.
However, it is common that serious car accidents result in medical expenses vastly exceeding your own policy limits. But that does not mean you are out of luck. In order to get every dollar you deserve from the negligent driver, you will need to speak to an experienced Brooklyn car accident injury lawyer right away.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Lawyer for My Brooklyn Car Accident Case?
Personal injury law firms handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and you only pay an attorney’s fee if they recover money for you. If you receive a settlement or win at trial, then your attorney will be paid a percentage of your total recovery in accordance with your contingency fee agreement.
Contingency fees make it possible for anyone to afford a Brooklyn car accident lawyer – even if you don’t have lots of extra cash on hand. You can learn more about your rights and your options during a free initial consultation about your claim. Reach out to The O’Connor Law Firm today to schedule a case evaluation.
What Happens If I Was in an Accident with a Hit and Run Driver?
If you were injured in a Brooklyn hit and run accident, you may obtain no-fault benefits through your own car insurance policy. If you suffered serious injuries as a result of a hit and run driver you may also be entitled to compensation for noneconomic loss such as pain and suffering. New York requires all car insurance policies to include uninsured motorist coverage (UM), and also offer underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).
These UM/UIM riders are a way that you can get compensation from your own insurance company if you are in a car accident with a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses. It can be used in hit-and-run accidents because the unknown driver is treated like an uninsured motorist.
If you do not own a car but a family member you live with owns a vehicle, you may file a hit and run UM claim under their car insurance policy.
If you are a pedestrian injured by a hit and run driver or an uninsured driver you can still receive no-fault benefits and potentially recover for bodily injuries through New York’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
In order to qualify for MVAIC coverage, you must satisfy very strict requirements and deadlines, including proving physical contact with an uninsured vehicle and reporting the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident. Additional requirements and filing deadlines can be found at the MVAIC website.
Although you file this type of claim with your own insurance company or MVAIC, it is still important to hire a Brooklyn car accident lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to deny claims – even from their own insureds. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, call The O’Connor Law Firm and get the help you need.
How a Brooklyn Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident in Brooklyn, you may soon face obstacles in addition to the physical pain and recovery process as financial difficulties often arise from being out of work as a result of your injuries. With experience in helping car accident victims like you, we may look to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
It’s important to remember that most of your expenses may come in the future. So do not think that all you need is to cover the medical bills sitting on your kitchen table. You may need much, much more than that.
A skilled Brooklyn car accident lawyer can help you achieve your goal of getting back to your regular life. We are ready to be the legal advocate you deserve. Contact us today at 718-948-3500 today and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.
Why Choose The O’Connor Law Firm for Your Brooklyn Car Accident Case
The accident lawyer you choose can make a difference in your Brooklyn car accident claim. Not all lawyers are created equal. Furthermore, not all lawyers have the resources to take on complex personal injury claims. You deserve a lawyer at your side who has proven experience helping other car accident injury victims recover every dollar they deserve.
We will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine all responsible parties and obtain all necessary evidence. Our work often involves hiring private investigators and accident reconstruction experts to assist in preparing your case for trial. We believe in keeping you informed every step of the way and make sure all your questions are answered in a timely fashion.
At The O’Connor Law Firm, all we do is personal injury law. With over 20 years of experience focused entirely on helping injury victims recover, we are the compassionate and aggressive personal injury legal representation you deserve. Our client reviews illustrate how we believe clients should be treated and our verdicts and settlements are examples of our success. Call us today or fill out our contact form below and let us show you how we can help you get your life back on track.