Sharing the road with approximately 4,520,000 other registered vehicles in the New York City greater metropolitan region can sometimes be stressful and frustrating. However, when frustration turns to aggression, people can get hurt. In New York City, aggressive driving was a factor in 59 of 8,541 traffic accidents occurring between January and July 2022, potentially contributing to some of the 4,693 injuries and 35 fatalities from traffic accidents during those seven months.
Was another driver’s aggression a contributing factor in a traffic accident that led to injuries for you or a loved one? If so, you have the potential to pursue compensation through a personal injury legal claim. A Melville, N.Y., aggressive driving accident lawyer from Cellino Law assists you through the process, helping you understand the law and providing legal counsel and support every step.
What Are the Relevant Laws in an Aggressive Driving Accident Case?
Several New York Statutes are relevant in an aggressive driving accident. The first of these is a law that may provide evidence of liability, while the remaining impact your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit and the outcome of your claim.
Reckless Driving Statute
Aggressive driving is all too common on U.S. roadways. In 2019, an American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety survey found that 80% of drivers admitted to aggressive driving behaviors during the previous 30 days. Aggressive driving is a broad category of behaviors defined more by intent than specific actions.
New York’s reckless driving section of the Vehicle and Traffic laws may come into play for aggressive driving. The law is for reckless driving and refers to any action that creates an unreasonable interference in others’ use of the road or unreasonably endangers others. Examples of aggressive driving that may also fall within the legal parameters of reckless driving are:
- Excessive speeding
- Intentionally slamming on the brakes without just cause
- Cutting another driver off
- Weaving in and out between other vehicles
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor that results in criminal charges and penalties, potentially including jail time. If another party is charged with reckless driving in the accident that caused your injuries, it provides you with a critical piece of evidence in your case.
Personal Injury Protection
As a no-fault car insurance state, New York motorists carry personal injury protection coverage on their auto insurance policies. The only exception to the requirement is for motorcycle drivers. The law stipulates motorists must file claims for accident injuries with their own insurers regardless of fault.
PIP coverage pays for medical and rehabilitation expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary. It also covers the lesser of 80% or $2,000 per month in lost wages for three months. Most motorists have policies that meet the $50,000 minimum coverage limits for PIP insurance. If your injuries and lost wages exceed these limits, you can file a legal suit to pursue compensation.
Serious Injury Threshold
Exceeding policy limits is not the only allowance for the right to pursue a legal claim for damages in an aggressive driving accident. New York permits accident victims to file a lawsuit if their injuries meet the criteria for a serious injury. If your injuries meet one of the following, you can submit a legal claim:
- Broken bones
- Disfigurement or dismemberment
- Permanent loss of function of a body part, organ or system
- Significant limitation in use of body part, function, organ or system
- Disability lasting 90 days or longer
A Melville, N.Y., aggressive driving accident attorney can help determine if you meet the personal injury threshold.
Another permissible reason for pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is if you sustained injuries that result in non-economic damages. These harms often have long-lasting repercussions but don’t have a direct monetary cost. Though money does not provide healing from these injuries, it can help you get the support you need and ease the burdens non-economic damages caused. Examples of non-economic injuries include:
- Emotional trauma or severe mental distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of relationship quality
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Insurance policies do not provide compensation for non-economic damages. To obtain a settlement that includes these losses, you must file a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal Injury Claim Statute of Limitations
Recovering from serious injuries can be a long and challenging journey. It is understandable if you don’t feel you have the emotional or mental capacity to pursue a legal claim. A Melville, N.Y., aggressive driving accident lawyer handles the bulk of the process, leaving you to focus on healing. You can’t afford to wait too long or continue to engage in ultimately fruitless arguments with the insurance company.
Like every state, New York imposes a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations are deadlines established within the law for taking legal actions. This state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years. If you fail to file on time, you lose your opportunity to pursue a lawsuit. In all likelihood, you would be relegated to accepting the insurance company’s decision, which means it might deny your claim altogether.
Pure Comparative Fault Rule
Even if the other party received a reckless driving conviction, you do not have a given right to total compensation for your losses. You and the defense or the court may settle on a damage award, but the law requires consideration of your liability in determining what percentage of the accident was your fault.
Your portion of blame impacts how much of the damages you ultimately receive, and there is a direct relationship between the two. If you are 25% at fault, you receive 75% of the awarded damages. Fortunately, even if you are more than half at fault, you are still entitled to compensation. A Melville, N.Y., aggressive driving accident lawyer may improve your potential for more favorable outcomes.
How Does a Melville, N.Y., Aggressive Driving Accident Lawyer Help?
Aggressive driving accident lawyers provide plaintiffs with the support they need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Before beginning the process, Cellino Law attorneys provide a thorough, no-risk case review. We assess the facts in your case to determine if it has legal merit for a lawsuit. We don’t want you to pursue a lengthy legal process if it isn’t likely to result in an outcome that makes it worth your while.
We also think you deserve a clear picture of the challenges you might face if you opt to move forward with the lawsuit. If you retain our services, we proceed with the following steps in pursuit of a fair settlement:
- Compiling evidence of your injuries and the other party’s liability
- Constructing your case from the evidence
- Filing your petition to sue
- Communicating with the other side
- Engaging in the negotiation process
- Representing you should your case go to trial
Your attorney also provides legal advice throughout the process and stands up for your rights as a victim of an aggressive driving accident.
How Do You Get Started With a Melville, NY, Aggressive Driving Accident Lawyer?
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by another party’s aggressive driving, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible before filing a claim with your insurance company. Cellino Law attorneys are here for you. We understand how important it is for you to get your life back on track. Contact us right away to schedule a free case evaluation.