Car accidents can have many different causes, yet speeding is consistently one of the major reasons for serious and fatal collisions. Indeed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is a factor in about one-third of all deadly motor vehicle crashes. When a motorist is speeding, she or he is at “greater potential for loss of vehicle control,” according to the NHTSA, in addition to “increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries.” If you were injured in a speeding-related accident, one of our Rochester car accident lawyers can help you to seek the compensation you deserve.
Speeding-Related Collisions Are Rising During the Pandemic
Speeding-related motor vehicle crashes are increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, according to a recent article in Forbes, drivers are engaging in excessive speeding and other extremely risky behaviors. Accordingly, even though there are fewer vehicles on the roads since more people are working from home and avoiding crowds, the rate of motor vehicle fatalities has actually increased. Analysts report that traffic on the roads has dropped by about 16 percent, excessive speeding has increased by as much as 15 percent, and fatalities have risen by 30 percent.
You Should Be Eligible for Personal Injury Protection Coverage
What should you do if you are harmed in a speeding-related crash? In upstate New York, your first option for seeking compensation is filing an insurance claim through your personal injury protection coverage (PIP). Since New York is a no-fault state, you will file a claim through your own insurer, but you should have a lawyer on your side who can help to negotiate a fair settlement.
If you need to file a lawsuit to seek additional compensation, you need to work with a lawyer to prove that your injuries meet the serious injury threshold.
To File a Lawsuit, You Will Need to Meet the Serious Injury Threshold
Even in serious motor vehicle collisions when the driver was extremely reckless, the injury victim still must be able to show that she or he has suffered “serious injuries” according to New York law in order to be eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. To be clear, even in situations where the driver is traveling at a speed of greater than 20 or 30 miles beyond the posted speed limit—a situation that has become more common during the pandemic, as we noted above—that reckless driving and utter disregard for the safety of others is not on its own enough to file a lawsuit. You will still need to work with an experienced Rochester car accident lawyer to show that your injuries meet the requirements under New York Insurance Law § 5104.
What is a “serious injury” according to New York law? The statute defines a serious injury as, among others, a personal injury that results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a non-permanent injury that prevents the individual from performing all of their customary daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury.
Comparative Fault Could Lessen Your Recovery
If you are able to show that the speeding driver caused serious injury, you need to know that comparative fault could still affect your total recovery. Under New York’s comparative fault law, a plaintiff who is injured in a speeding-related car accident is still eligible to recover damages despite his or her fault. However, the overall damages award will be diminished by the plaintiff’s own portion of the fault.
You should never assume that you will have your damages award reduced simply because the at-fault driver raises the issue of comparative fault when a car accident lawyer can gather evidence to refute those comparative fault allegations.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Rochester
You should always have an aggressive Rochester car accident attorney on your side when you are seeking compensation after a speeding-related accident. These collisions often result in catastrophic and fatal injuries, and it will be critical to have a lawyer on your side who can prove to the insurance company that you deserve compensation and, if necessary, can hold the at-fault driver accountable through a lawsuit. Contact King Law to learn more about the services we provide to clients in Rochester and throughout upstate New York. Call (585) 270-8882.