Driving on the many roadways of the Empire State in New York City can be hazardous, no matter the conditions. Even if you follow all the rules properly and pay attention, distracted driving could lead to an accident and potentially serious injuries. As such, distracted driving is a serious issue in the Big Apple and beyond.

If you’re injured in an accident due to another party’s distracted driving, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. This holds true despite New York being a no-fault state. Schwartzapfel Lawyers can assist with your claim as soon as you contact us at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation.

Don’t wait! Protect your financial future starting today. Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers and allow our elite team of trial attorneys to fight for you!

Distracted Driving Accidents in New York City

Although numerous laws exist to discourage negligent driving behaviors, distracted driving accidents are still all too common in the Tri-State area. For example, official NYPD data indicates that over 2,600 vehicles were involved in NYC auto accidents due to distracted driving.

Depending on its categorization, distracted driving is often cited by local police departments as the single most common cause of auto accidents.

Driving distractions frequently include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving while texting
  • Driving while speaking on the phone
  • Driving while conversing with another person (also called passenger distractions)
  • Driving while paying attention to a distraction outside the vehicle (also called pedestrian or bicyclist distractions)

Because distracted driving is so common, New York City motorists need to constantly pay attention and remain vigilant when on the road. Even when paying attention, however, they may be involved in distraction-related accidents.

For more on this, as well as your legal options if you or a loved one has been injured as a result of distracted driving in New York, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-516-342-2200.

Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous no matter one’s belief in their abilities, the type of distraction involved, or the length of the distraction.

In fact, the CDC indicates that sending a single text takes one’s eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s as long as it takes to traverse the distance of a football field!

The CDC further classifies distractions as falling into (3) different types:

  • Visual distractions, which involve a driver taking their eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions, which involve a driver taking their hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions, which involve a driver taking their mind off the task of driving

In 2019 alone, more than 3,100 people were killed and nearly 424,000 people were injured in crashes due to distracted driving. As you can see, this is no small problem. Moreover, even those drivers who drive safely and responsibly can be affected by accidents due to the inattention of other drivers.

Some of the more common causes of driving distractions include:

  • Texts, whether receivedor sent
  • Phone calls made using a hand-held cellular device
  • Games played on mobile devices
  • Photographs or videos, as they are taken, edited, watched, and/or sent
  • Eating or drinking while behind the wheel
  • Passenger negligence, such as causing a distraction to the driver
  • E-books, as read or scrolled through
  • Reaching for objects that have fallen behind or between seats
  • Changing clothes and/or performing other grooming tasks while driving

Bottom Line: Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road and from other cars can lead to a distracted driving accident.

Laws for Distracted Driving in NYC

New York’s government has long recognized the hazards inherent to distracted driving. Accordingly, many laws have been put into effect to minimize distracted driving-related incidence.

For example, using electronic devices like smartphones while driving is illegal. It’s specifically illegal to hold a mobile device while behind the wheel, whether you want to talk on the phone, send or compose messages, view images, or play games.

Therefore, any driver who isbehind the wheel and has a cell phone in their hand is in violation of New York City traffic laws. Moreover, New York has strict penalties for those caught breaking these laws, including:

  • A penalty between $50 and $200 for first-time offenders
  • A penalty between $50 and $250 for second-time offenders
  • A penalty between $50 and $450 for those who have a third or subsequent offense within 18 months of their first infraction

Additionally, violaters of New York cell phone laws receive five points on their driving record. If they build up enough points, they could have their license suspended or taken away entirely.

Injuries From Distracted Driving Accidents

The above penalties are so strict because distracted driving accidents can lead to serious bodily harm. Victims of motor vehicle accidents can sustain severe injuries, some of which can persist for months, years, or life.

Common injuries from auto accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord damage, which may lead to further nerve damage and/or paralysis
  • Head and neck injuries (e.g., whiplash)
  • Broken/fractured bones
  • Amputations
  • Severe cuts or lacerations
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Organ damage

Sadly, in many of cases, accident-related medical bills are exorbitant and can be difficult to pay alone. Victims of auto accidents may have no choice but to sue the at-fault party to stabilize their finances and/or pay for costly medical procedures.

Can You Secure Compensation?

In many cases, yes.

Knowledgeable attorneys such as Schwartzapfel Lawyers may be able to help you recover damages from the at-fault party in a distracted driving auto accident case, so, please, don’t wait. Contact us today at 1-516-342-2200 and speak with an experienced member of our team at no charge.

With a successful lawsuit, you could recover compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses to cover the cost of accident-related treatments
  • Lost income, if you had to take time off work to recover
  • Loss of ability or enjoyment, if your injuries were debilitating or otherwise paralyzing
  • Loss of companionship
  • Punitive damages
  • And more

New York is a no-fault car insurance state. That means, by default, you cannot sue another driver for a car accident. The intent behind the law is to minimize the number of frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits the courts have to go through. However, certain exceptions do exist.

For example, if your injuries are sufficiently debilitating or severe, you could be allowed to file a lawsuit against an especially negligent driver or other parties. Generally speaking, severe injuries are defined as those that result in long-lasting debilitation or loss of ability.

Well-qualified legal professionals can tell you whether you have grounds for a lawsuit or if you will likely be able to recover damages directly from the involved parties.

That said, you should note that there’s no guarantee when filing an auto accident lawsuit against a negligent party. As well, your total recovered damages can be affected by a number of factors.

Statute of Limitations for Distracted Driving Lawsuits

To recover damages, a victim of a distracted driving accident must file a lawsuit within (3)years of the accident’s date. The statute of limitations here is fairly strict and usually cannot be extended, regardless of circumstance.

This is yet another reason why it’s important to contact knowledgeable legal professionals sooner than later. The right distracted driving attorneys can evaluate your case, determine who is most likely to be found at fault, and help you choose the best legal course of action going forward.

Negligence in Distracted Driving Cases

Any successful distracted driving lawsuit relies on proving that the accused party was negligent in their behavior. Negligence as a legal term means that:

  • One individual or party had a duty of care to the other. This is generally easy to prove. When you drive on a New York City roadway, for instance, you have an inherent duty to drive carefully, as do the drivers relative to you.
  • An individual knowingly breached the duty of care to other people. For example, if you know that it’s illegal to drive while texting but text behind the wheel anyway, you are engaging in negligent behavior.
  • The offending individual’s breach of duty led to an accident.
  • The accident led to injuries sustained by the plaintiff or prosecution’s client.

You may think that proving negligence is straightforward, but it relies on gathering solid evidence to prove that behavior on behalf of another party. Examples of evidence that may be introduced in court include but are not limited to:

  • Medical notes, like analyses or opinions from your doctors
  • Traffic camera footage
  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Photos and video taken at the scene of the accident
  • And more

If you need to recover from your medical procedures or are otherwise unable to do so yourself, your lawyers can gather this evidence for you and present it compellingly to court.

To learn more at no charge, dial 1-516-342-2200 and speak with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers auto accident attorney now!

Pure Comparative Negligence

Even if you collect enough evidence to prove negligence on behalf of the at-fault party, you should know that many New York City motor accident cases involve analyses of pure comparative fault.

For example, if you and the other driver were both partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your medical bills. The right lawyer can help you determine whether you may be held partially at fault for the accident, which can minimize your ultimate damages.

Why You Need Experienced Attorneys on Your Side

Skilled legal professionals can provide many benefits to your case, such as:

  • Advising you throughout the legal process
  • Ensuring your lawsuit paperwork is filed on time
  • Gathering evidence on your behalf
  • Presenting evidence in court
  • Coaching you through the court process if you choose to testify
  • And so much more!

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

You should never have to go through an auto accident or personal injury lawsuit alone. With Schwartzapfel Lawyers on your side, you’ll have the tools to recover the compensation you need to recover from medical bills and other financial losses.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are unsure whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. Our legal professionals can provide counsel through every step of the process. Contact us today at 1-516-342-2200 for a free case evaluation!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You™™

July 2022 Motor Vehicle Collision Statistics| Police Department City of New York

Distracted Driving | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center

Cell phone use & texting | New York DMV

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