Are you Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer in NYC?


If you or a loved were involved in a car accident in New York City, you could be eligible for compensation. Dial (212) 943-1090 for a complimentary consultation with a NYC car accident attorney at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf.

New York City Car Accident Lawyers

Our Attorneys have a vast experience in helping victims of auto accident and their families getting fully compensated for the injuries and financial loss they suffered. They have obtained some of the highest verdicts and settlement in NY State and New York City.

Our Personal Injury Law Firm is based in Manhattan and handles car accident cases in New York City including Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island as well as New York metro and NY State.

Forbes LogoRecently our partner Diana Carnemolla was selected by Forbes for their "Best Car Accident Lawyers in NYC 2023" ranking. Forbes was especially impressed by a recent $85 million verdict that she and Howard Hershenhorn obtained for a plaintiff who suffered catastrophic injury in a motor vehicle accident in Manhattan.

How Much Does a New York Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

A consultation with a top car accident lawyer in NYC to discuss your case is usually free. Our lawyers handle auto accident cases on a contingent fee basis. A contingent basis means that our attorneys do not charge by consultation but will take a percentage on the amount recovered. This amount is usually one third of the net recovery after disbursement. This means that the cost of a car accident lawyer varies based on the amount recovered.

How to Choose the Best Car Accident Lawyer in New York City?

Car accident lawyer at New YorkWhen searching for the best car accident lawyer for your case, it is crucial to choose an attorney with extensive experience in preparing and trying car accident cases. Many lawyers claim to be "trial attorneys," but have never actually stepped foot in a courtroom. They prioritize settling cases rather than taking them to trial. It is crucial that the defendant's insurance company recognizes your attorney's willingness to go to trial. Without this knowledge, they are unlikely to offer a settlement that reflects the full value of your case. By choosing our firm, you can be confident that the defendant's insurance company will be aware of our attorneys' reputation for taking cases to trial when an adequate settlement offer is not provided.

At our personal injury law firm, we have a long-standing tradition of exceptional trial advocacy, stemming from a lineage of renowned lawyers. Our attorneys come from a distinguished line of famous legal professionals, including Anthony Gair and his father, Harry Gair, who have been instrumental in training new attorneys in top-tier trial advocacy.This rich heritage and wealth of experience have shaped our firm's ethos of trial excellence. With our team of experienced attorneys, who continue the legacy of these renowned lawyers, you can trust that your case will be handled with the utmost expertise and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome through trial advocacy.

Among the most recent cases, our crash lawyers obtained some of the highest auto accident verdicts in NY State:

  • Howard Hershenhorn and Diana Carnemolla obtained a $85 million verdict for a man who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident
  • Ben Ruboinowitz and Peter Saghir obtained a $71 million verdict for a young woman who suffered a spinal injury in a car accident and a $41.5 million verdict for a worker who was fatally struck by a street sweeper.
These three verdicts are also the first, second and third highest verdicts obtained in New York State yearly for all personal injury cases and the first, fourth, and fifth verdicts obtained in New York State yearly for all categories of law. Another car accident case for which our accident lawyers obtained $5 million for a student who was struck by a van was also listed among the 2017 New York's Top Verdicts.

The top car accidents attorneys at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman, and Mackauf have all tried multi-million dollar cases and have a reputation for refusing to settle cases unless an adequate sum is offered which will fully compensate the plaintiff for the injuries and financial loss suffered.

When Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should consult a lawyer. Never give a statement, either oral or written, to a representative of the defendants' insurance company. They are not trying to help you. Oral statements will be recorded and used against you as will written statements, should the case proceed to trial. The first thing you should do is contact an experienced car accident lawyer. If only damage to the car is involved you may very well not need a lawyer and may be able to resolve the damage to your car on your own.

The New York car accident lawyer at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershhenhorn, Steigman and Mackauf specialize in:

How Will I Be Compensated in a Car Accident Case?

The car accident attorneys at our firm have helped thousands of families that are suffering from serious injuries as a result of auto accidents. We retain expert accountants, financial analysts and economists because every car accident case has its own set of associated costs, including pain and suffering, lost wages, the cost of care and many other monetary costs.

In order to accurately assess what these costs will be for the remainder of a victim's life, we use financial professionals to derive fair resolutions for injury victims.

Do Car Accidents Always Result in Litigation in New York?

Accidents involving motor vehicles are among the most common causes of serious injury and death in the United States each year. Despite the advancements in technology and significant safety improvements in cars and in the design of roads, automobile accidents remain quite common. In fact, car accident claims and lawsuits are probably the most common type of civil tort case filed by attorneys today. It is important to note that not every car accident will result in litigation. Where nobody is injured or the injuries are not considered serious, the No-Fault laws of New York will generally govern any bodily injury claims and restrict recovery. Conversely, the more serious the injury that results from a car accident, the more likely it is that a successful recovery can be obtained.

Automobile accidents are a class of tort cases which derive, for the most part, from the basic tort principles of negligence. Negligence is generally defined as the lack of ordinary care. It is a failure to use that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would have used under the same circumstances. It may arise from doing an act that a reasonably prudent person would not have done under the same circumstances, or, from failing to do an act that a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same circumstances.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Accidents Requiring Litigation in NY? Driver Error or Driver Negligence

In the context of automobile accidents, negligence can arise under many situations. The most common cause of automobile accidents is driver error. The common driver errors seen in auto litigation are: failure to yield the right of way, following too closely, driving at an excessive rate of speed, driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence, and disregard of traffic control devices.

Distractions to Vehicle Driver

These are not the only causes of auto accidents, however in our modern world, distractions to a motor vehicle driver have become an increasing cause of accidents. Common distractions include: car driver uses a cellular phone, car driver attempts to read, car driver puts on makeup, car driver changes the radio station, and numerous other distractions both inside and outside of the vehicle.

Failure to Properly Service and Maintain a Car, Truck, or Bus

Another significant area of automobile litigation, often seen in a commercial vehicle setting, involves the failure to properly service and maintain the vehicle.

This failure is being seen more frequently in automobile litigation every day. Typically, they will involve the breakdown of a part of the car, truck, or bus due to the failure of the owner or a service company to properly maintain and service the car, truck or bus.

The results of this failure are, quite often, catastrophic. For example, the simple failure to properly lubricate the bearings (a standard maintenance item) on a car or commercial vehicle, such a truck can result in an entire wheel assembly becoming disengaged from the vehicle while driving.

Road Defect or Negligent Design of the Roadway

A special class of automobile accidents involves factors external to the driver or the vehicle. These are generally known as roadway defect cases. They can involve the design of the roadway itself wherein a: poorly designed roadway, means of controlling traffic can cause or contribute to an accident, construction or debris can cause or contribute to an accident and negligent design and maintenance of the roadway.

Product Liability or Auto Manufacturing Defect

Automobile accident litigation may involve a unique class of litigation known as products liability. In the automobile context, these claims involve a defect in a given motor vehicle which caused the accident and resulting injuries. These defects can include tire blowout, brake failure and mechanical failure.

Often, a design or manufacturing defect will not cause the actual accident, but cause the injuries sustained in the accident to be far worse. Well-known examples of this include the following design defects:

  • SUV more susceptible to rolling over in an accident
  • Gas tank more likely to ignite in a collision
  • Manufacturing defect which causes a seatbelt to fail
  • Failure of an airbag to deploy properly

Frequently, the responsibility for an automobile accident does not rest with one single party. In fact, there can be multiple factors which caused or contributed to a car accident. Among the most common contributing factor to a motor vehicle accident is the conduct of the injured person himself/herself- the plaintiff. In those situations, rather than deny the plaintiff in a car accident case any recovery, a jury is permitted to compare and apportion the negligence of the plaintiff against that of the defendant and adjust its damage award to the plaintiff according to the degree of comparative negligence of the plaintiff. Thus, if a jury finds the plaintiff 25% responsible for an accident, the jury can reduce the plaintiff's recovery by 25%. Under some situations, a jury can find that an injured party is 100% responsible for a motor vehicle accident. If that is the case, the injured party will not be entitled to a recovery, no matter how badly injured he/she is. It is also important to note that, in some jurisdictions (i.e. New Jersey), a plaintiff who is found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident is not entitled to recovery at all. This is not the law in New York, however.

What Happens if the at-Fault Driver Doesn't Have Sufficient Insurance Coverage to Compensate the Victims?

It is an unfortunate reality in the world today that the negligent operator of a car may not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate the victim of his negligence. Under certain circumstances, the victim of an automobile accident may be entitled to make a claim under his/her own automobile insurance policy. This is often known as UM/SUM coverage. It typically arises under two circumstances:

  1. The negligent driver has no insurance
  2. The negligent driver has minimal insurance

Unique, technical laws exist which govern the ability of an injured person to recover under these situations where a negligent driver has either no insurance or minimal insurance. Where the negligent driver is uninsured, it is often difficult for a person who is injured in a car accident to obtain appropriate compensation. If the injured party carries what is known as "uninsured motorist coverage" through their own automobile insurance policy, they may have a source of compensation in the event that the other driver fails to carry insurance or cannot be identified (i.e. a hit and run accident). More commonly, the offending driver is under-insured and carries inadequate insurance coverage, often at the minimum level required by state law. Many states have very low insurance requirements, which unfortunately means that some of the worst drivers on the road carry inadequate coverage due to the high cost of insurance which results from their bad driving records. Under the laws of certain states, a person may be able to protect themselves in the event that they are in an accident caused by somebody who carries inadequate coverage by purchasing additional coverage through their own insurance company. If they are injured through the fault of an underinsured motorist, they may be able to obtain recovery through their own insurance policy.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in New York to File an Automobile Accident?

There are laws that prescribe the time limits within which a person injured in an automobile accident must take certain steps to protect their legal rights or forever be prevented from proper and adequate compensation. In New York, the time in which to bring a lawsuit for injuries in an auto accident is 3 years from the date of the accident. Further, a person may be entitled to have their medical expenses and loss of earnings resulting from a car accident paid for by the applicable No-Fault Insurance policy. In order to obtain insurance coverage through the No-Fault system, certain information and forms must be provided to the proper No-Fault Insurance provider within a limited time-period following a motor vehicle accident. In New York the period to file for No-Fault benefits is 30 days from the date of the accident. The failure to provide all the required information within the specific time limits may cause the denial of an injured person's right to payment of necessary medical expenses and loss of earnings. The failure to bring a lawsuit within the statute of limitations will prevent any recovery regardless of the merits of the case.

Should I Choose a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?

Choosing a lawyer solely based on proximity might not always be the best idea, especially in a state as diverse and geographically large as New York. Here are some reasons why:

  • Expertise and Specialization: Law firms based in Manhattan often specialize in specific areas of law and may have more experience handling cases similar to yours. They may have a deeper understanding of the laws, regulations, and precedents relevant to your car accident injury case compared to a local attorney who may have a more general practice.
  • Resources and Infrastructure: Law firms in major cities typically have more resources at their disposal, including access to expert witnesses, advanced technology for case management, and a larger support staff. This can be crucial for complex crash cases where extensive research, documentation, and analysis are required.
  • Track Record and Reputation: Top Manhattan Car Accident Attorneys often have a more established track record and a reputation for successful outcomes. This can be beneficial when negotiating settlements or litigating in court, as opposing parties and judges may be more familiar with and respect attorneys from well-known firms.
  • Network and Connections: Lawyers in larger cities often have a broader network of professional connections than a lawyer for car accidents near you, including relationships with judges, other attorneys, and legal experts. This network can be valuable in advocating for your case and accessing additional resources when needed.
  • Access to Specialized Medical Care: In cases involving serious car accident injuries, A Manhattan based personal injury law firm may have connections with top medical specialists and rehabilitation facilities, which can be crucial for ensuring that you receive the best possible medical care and documentation to support your case.

However, it's essential to balance these considerations with practical factors such as communication preferences, travel logistics, and comfort level with your attorney. While a lawyer's location can impact their resources and expertise, it's equally important to choose someone you trust and feel comfortable working with, regardless of their physical location.

What Are Some of the Most Notable Results Obtained by Our Manhattan Personal Injury Law Firm?

Our top car accident attorneys have achieved settlements and verdicts that are among the largest in New York and New Jersey. Some of our notable results include:

  • $85,000,000 jury verdict for a man who suffered catastrophic injury after being struck by a vehicle in Manhattan
  • Record setting $71,000,000 verdict for a young woman who suffered a broken back in an Upstate New York car accident. This verdict is one of the highest ever in the US for this type of injury.
  • $28,000,000 for a 21-year-old passenger of a SUV that crashed into a tree.The young man was paralyzed as a result of the crash.
  • $27,500,000 verdict for a pedestrian struck by a bus. The pedestrian suffered the loss of her leg. This is the largest verdict for such an injury in New York State history.
  • $26,000,000 settlement for the family of a 35 year old woman who was a pedestrian struck and killed by a truck on 6th Ave in Manhattan. This is believed to be the largest settlement in the history of New York for the wrongful death of one individual.
  • $12,500,000 verdict on behalf of a pedestrian who suffered degloving injuries to her leg and buttocks after being struck by a bus.
  • $10,750,000 settlement against a Japanese shipping company for negligence in maintaining their tractor trailer allowing the rear wheels to break off striking a pedestrian and causing severe burns and mild brain damage.
  • $10,000,000 settlement in an automobile accident for a woman rendered blind as a result of being struck by a drunk driver.
  • $10,000,000 settlement in Nassau County for a woman who suffered severe injuries to her legs as a result of the negligence of a bus driver.
  • $7,950,000 for the estate of a limousine passenger,  holding the limousine company accountable for their negligent hiring practices that resulted in a tragic and preventable accident
  • $7,5000,000 settlement for the family of a woman killed by a vehicle making a left turn
  • $7,125,000 verdict for a man who suffered serious injury when he was struck by a car at an improperly marked New York City roadway construction project.
  • $7,000,000 settlement for a 68 year old man who was struck by a Town of Parsipanny bus that turned into him while he was crossing the street. The judge stated that he believes this was the highest settlement ever in any case he has handled in the last 20 years in Morris County N.J.
  • $6,100,000 for a woman who sustained severe head injuries as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle backing up in Manhattan.
  • $6,000,000 settlement for the family of a Westchester County man who was killed in an automobile accident when a drunk driver struck a stopped police car resulting in an explosion and fire.
  • $5,500,000 settlement on behalf of a bicyclist struck by a police car which was pursuing him.
  • $5,400,000 settlement in a Monroe County medical malpractice case on behalf of an infant who suffered brain damage as a result of the doctor's failure to perform a timely caesarian section.
  • $5,000,000 settlement for a woman in an automobile accident injured by a drunk driver. She also suffered partial paralysis as a result of the negligence of her treating physicians.
  • $5,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death case in which a father was killed in an auto accident.
  • $5,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death case in which a bar permitted a man to continue to drink alcoholic beverages before he started driving. That man then drove his car while drunk, killing a father of two children.
  • $5,000,000 recovery in New York County for the widow of a physician struck and killed by an N.Y.P.D. tow truck while he was riding his bike on the Green Way on the West Side when the truck made a right turn on to the path and crashed into him. The decedent was not wearing a helmet.
  • $4,800,000 verdict for the wrongful death of an 8 year old child killed as the result of the negligence of a truck driver.
  • $4,000,000 verdict for a woman who was injured in an auto accident when a car crossed into her lane of travel. Her seven year old daughter was killed in the accident, and she suffered a fractured leg.
  • $3,500,000 for the death of an elderly man struck by a motor vehicle in mid-down Manhattan.
  • $3,250,000 settlement on behalf of a man injured when struck by a van in front of Bloomingdale's. The injuries included multiple leg fractures and a bladder injury.
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a woman who suffered significant leg injuries when thrown from a boat after an engine exploded.
  • $2,750,000 verdict for a man who suffered injuries when a car crossed into his lane of traffic. The City of New York was held 80% responsible (affirmed on appeal) for failing to have erected jersey barriers to prevent crossover accidents.
  • $2,600,000 recovery in an automobile accident case for the death of a man struck by a car while sitting in a restaurant when the car crashed through the window.
  • $2,600,000 settlement on behalf of a pedestrian who suffered leg injuries after being struck by a New York City Transit Authority bus.
  • $2,300,000 settlement for a young man injured as a result of negligent placement of a LILCO power line contributing to an auto accident. The man suffered head and leg injuries.
  • $2,200,000 for a woman who suffered an eye injury in an auto accident.
  • $2,250,000 settlement for man suffering significant leg injuries when struck by a car.
  • $2,050,000 recovery in a New York car accident case for a pedestrian who suffered spinal injury and surgery.
  • $2,050,000 verdict for a man who was struck by a transit authority bus while riding his bicycle. He suffered pelvic injuries and urethral injuries.
  • $1,900,000 settlement for a woman who suffered loss of her spleen and psychological trauma following an automobile accident.
  • $1,850,000 recovery for a car passenger involved in a roll-over collision in Nassau County. The victim was not wearing a seat belt.
  • $1,565,000 for a football coach who suffered an elbow injury in a motor vehicle accident and had to undergo surgery.
  • $1,500,000 settlement in an automobile accident case for a woman who sustained serious injuries to her hand in Suffolk County when her vehicle was rear-ended by an asphalt truck whose brakes failed due to the company's failure to maintain them properly.
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a woman injured in an auto accident who suffered jaw and elbow injuries.
  • $1,500,000 for the family of two elderly parents who were fatally ran over in Queens, NYC.
  • $1,450,000settlement for a car passenger severely injured by another car that did not respect a stop sign
  • $,1,350,00settlement on behalf of a 27 year old teacher killed by by a vehicle making a left turn
  • $,1300,000settlement on behalf of a 73 year old woman killed by a vehicle that jumped the curb downtown Manhattan
  • $1,250,000settlement for a man killed by a left turning vehicle in New Jersey
  • $1,250,000 recovery for a man in an automobile accident case who suffered leg fractures when struck by a car while riding his motorcycle.
  • $1,250,000 settlement for a woman who suffered significant leg injuries in a car accident.
  • $1,200,000 settlement in an automobile accident case on behalf of a Staten Island motorcyclist who sustained serious foot injuries when he was struck by a vehicle making an unsafe left-hand turn.
  • $1,200,000 verdict for a man who suffered a herniated cervical disc when an adolescent dropped a pumpkin from an overpass onto the Long Island Expressway striking the windshield of is car.
  • $1,200,000 verdict for a woman who, while riding her bicycle, suffered a lower back injury (herniated disc) after being struck by a car.
Publications & Lectures on Crashes Litigation

In addition to successfully representing plaintiffs in a variety of vehicle accident matters, the NYC personal injury attorneys at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf are sought out by the legal community for their expertise--our lawyers have written articles in the areas of car, truck, bus, and all types of automobile accident cases and have lectured throughout the country. Below are a sample of publications from and lectures and seminars in which our lawyers have been involved:

  • Basics of Handling an Auto Accident Case, New York State Bar Association, Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, Spring 2012
  • 2011 "Motor Vehicle Accident Litigation: The Road Less Travelled", New York State Bar Association
  • 2011 "Motor Vehicle Accident Litigation-The Road Less Travelled": Summary Judgment for The Plaintiff, Fall 2011
  • "Auto Claims and Trials: Winning, Defending and Understanding Coverage", Lorman Education Services, Spring 2008
  • "Auto Insurance: Uninsured, Underinsured and Accident Litigation", Lorman Education Services, Spring 2007º
  • "What They Continue to do Wrong: The Mistakes Repeatedly Made by Plaintiffs' and Defendants' Counsel", Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation, American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Scottsdale, Arizona, Spring 2007
  • "Automobile Litigation: Update and Strategies", New York State Bar Association, Spring 2006
  • "Update on Trucking Litigation and Claims", New York State Bar Association., 2006
  • Publications
    • "Intake of the Plaintiff’s Case," Basics of Handling an Auto Accident Case, New York State Bar Association, Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, Spring 2012
    • "Summary Judgment for the Plaintiff in Auto Accident Cases," Basics of Handling an Auto Accident Case, New York State Bar Association, Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, Spring 2012
    • "Motorcycle and Bike Accidents," 2011 Motor Vehicle Accident Litigation – The Road Less Travelled, New York State Bar Association, Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, Fall 2011
    • "Evaluating Damages Related to Automobile Accident Claims and Selecting the Right Experts", New York State Bar Association, Automobile Litigation: Update and Strategies, Spring 2006
    • "Joint and Several Liability and the Interplay of CPLR Art. 16-Motor Vehicle Accidents," New York State Bar Association, 1998
How many people are killed and injured in auto accidents in New York City, according to the latest statistics?

In 2023, New York City witnessed 237 traffic-related fatalities according to data obtained from the NYPD, a figure slightly lower than the counts observed in preceding years, yet alarmingly consistent with the numbers since the inception of the Vision Zero initiative a decade ago

Despite efforts to reduce traffic deaths, the total number of fatalities in 2023 mirrors the statistics from 2015, just two years following the program's launch. However, the distribution of these fatalities among different categories of road users has shifted significantly. In 2015, pedestrians were most of the victims, with 128 deaths, compared to 59 drivers. Fast forward to 2023, the city saw its lowest number of pedestrian fatalities since Vision Zero began, with 89 deaths. Conversely, driver fatalities have surged to 86, nearly matching the pedestrian count, and cyclist deaths have reached an unprecedented high of 26.

This shift in fatality demographics underscores evolving challenges in urban traffic safety. The spike in driver fatalities during the pandemic, attributed to increased speeding on less congested streets, has troublingly persisted even as the city's roads have become busier. The rise in cyclist fatalities is particularly concerning and highlights the urgent need for improved cycling infrastructure. Despite a city mandate to construct 250 miles of protected bike lanes by 2026, progress has been lackluster, with only 35 of the required 50 miles completed in 2023. This shortfall has drawn criticism from safety advocates, who argue that the city's failure to adequately expand protected lanes endangers cyclists and hampers efforts to create a safer, more navigable urban environment for all road users.

A graph of traffic fatalities in New York City by category of road users over the last 10 years In 2023, New York City observed a distinct pattern in road safety, with traffic-related injuries remaining below pre-pandemic levels, despite a return to earlier fatality rates seen at the launch of the Vision Zero initiative

The city reported 52,647 traffic injuries, a slight increase from 50,217 in 2022, including 21,553 motorists, 15,525 passengers, 4,639 cyclists, and 8,500 pedestrians.

The NYPD's new policy of not dispatching officers to minor car accidents since COVID-19 is a potential factor in the reduced number of car accident injuries reported yearly since 2020. This situation has several key implications for how injuries from car accidents are documented and perceived, impacting both the official statistics and the broader understanding of road safety:

  1. Reduced Reporting of Injuries
    • Delayed Injury Recognition: Victims of minor car accidents might not immediately realize they are injured. Injuries such as whiplash or concussions can take hours or even days to manifest symptoms. Without a police report filed at the time of the accident, these injuries may be underreported or not linked to the accident when they become apparent.
    • Reluctance to Report Minor Injuries: Individuals involved in minor accidents might be less inclined to report their injuries, especially if there is no official documentation of the accident itself. This could be due to perceived hassles in dealing with insurance without a police report, or simply not recognizing the significance of minor injuries until later.
  2. Impact on Accident and Injury Data
    • Skewed Statistics: The policy shift could lead to an artificial decrease in reported traffic-related injuries. Since only more severe accidents that warrant a police response are documented, the overall data might suggest an improvement in road safety that doesn't fully capture the reality of minor, yet still significant, accidents.
    • Data for Road Safety Initiatives: Road safety initiatives, including those under the Vision Zero banner, rely on comprehensive data to target interventions and measure success. The underreporting of accidents and injuries can hamper these efforts, leading to misallocation of resources or overlooking areas that could benefit from safety improvements.
  3. Considerations for Public Health and Safety
    • Public Health Concerns: The underreporting of minor accidents and their associated injuries might also have broader public health implications. Without adequate data on these incidents, health services may not be able to accurately assess or address the impacts of traffic-related injuries on the community.
    • Awareness and Education: There's a need for increased public awareness and education about the importance of self-reporting accidents and injuries. This includes informing the public about how and why to report minor accidents, even if the police do not attend the scene and the significance of seeking medical attention for injuries that might not be immediately apparent.

Given these considerations, it's essential for city and law enforcement officials, as well as public health and road safety advocates, to find alternative ways to encourage and facilitate the reporting of minor accidents and injuries. This might involve creating more accessible and user-friendly online reporting systems, public education campaigns about the importance of documenting even minor accidents and injuries, and reassurances about how this information can be used to improve overall road safety and public health outcomes.

Addressing the gap in data caused by the new policy requires a multi-faceted approach that considers the needs and behaviors of the driving public, the operational priorities of the police, and the overarching goals of road safety and public health initiatives.

A chart of auto accident injuries in New York City by category of road users for the last 10 years In 2023, the number of drivers who lost their lives in traffic incidents reached 86, marking a deviation from the declining trend initiated by the Vision Zero campaign in 2014

Vision Zero's introduction had a notable impact, reducing driver fatalities to below 80 immediately after its implementation, a threshold that remained unbreached until 2020. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 led to a surge in driver fatalities, climbing to 90 that year and further escalating to a peak of 98 in 2021. During this period, reduced road activity paradoxically paved the way for more reckless behaviors, notably speeding, contributing to the rise in fatalities. Although 2022 witnessed a hopeful decline to 71 fatalities, suggesting a potential return to the downward trend, the increase to 86 fatalities in 2023 challenges the notion of a swift return to pre-pandemic "normalcy" in road safety.

A graph of motor vehicle operator deaths in NYC accidents during the third quarter In 2023, New York City witnessed 22,950 motorists sustaining injuries in motor vehicle accidents, a slight increase from the 21,553 injuries reported in the previous year

While last year's figures represent a marginal rise from those of the year before, they still fall beneath the long-term trend and are notably lower than the injury counts recorded before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduction in road activity during and after the pandemic likely contributed to the fewer injuries observed. Moreover, as discussed above, the New York Police Department's policy change in April 2020, which ceased responses to minor accidents, could have influenced the lower reported injury numbers. This policy shift might also suggest a shift in the nature of injuries reported, potentially indicating that while fewer in number, the injuries may have been more severe.

A graph of Motorist injured in a vehicle accident in New York City by year with trendline Despite experiencing a notable decline from the previous year, the number of motor vehicle passenger fatalities has reached its second-highest mark in the past decade

Up until 2020, the de Blasio administration had effectively maintained annual passenger fatalities below 30, achieving a historic low of 8 in 2018. However, a dramatic increase occurred from 2021 onwards, peaking at a record 52 fatalities in 2022. Notably, 2022 marked the first year of leadership under the Eric Adams administration in New York City, with Ydanis Rodriguez serving as the DOT Commissioner and Edward A. Caban as the NYPD Commissioner.

A graph of passengers killed in a vehicle accident in NYC by year with trendline In 2023, New York City witnessed an escalation in the number of passengers injured in auto accidents, with the figures reaching 16,264, up from 15,525 the previous year

This uptick marks the highest recorded number of passenger injuries in the city's accidents since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a significant increase highlights a concerning trend in road safety and passenger protection within the city's bustling streets.

Contrastingly, on a global scale, the statistics about passenger injuries in auto accidents present a more optimistic outlook, showing a marked decrease in such incidents since the COVID-19 crisis began. This reduction can be attributed to several factors, including the diminished overall activity and vehicular movement in many cities during and after the pandemic. The enforced lockdowns and resulting change of habits with more people working from home, reduced road traffic, thereby lowering the chances of auto accidents and subsequent passenger injuries.

Another pivotal factor contributing to the observed decrease in reported passenger injuries globally is a shift in the operational protocols of law enforcement agencies, exemplified by the New York Police Department's (NYPD) revised approach to minor auto accidents. Therefore, the number of recorded incidents and injuries has ostensibly decreased, given that many minor, non-injurious accidents are now underreported.

A graph of passenger injured in a vehicle accident in NYC by year with trendline Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents in New York City, significantly outpacing other factors

In 2023, 27,203 collisions were attributed to drivers not paying attention to the road. The second most common cause is “following too closely”, which resulted in 7,245 car accidents, making it three to four times less frequent than incidents caused by distraction. The third leading cause of crashes is the “failure to yield the right-of-way”, a major contributor to pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Last year, 6,947 accidents occurred because drivers failed to yield, affecting numerous lives. It's important to note that the NYPD only documents and responds to accidents that result in injuries or fatalities, underscoring the severe impact of these incidents.

Graph of human factors involved in NYC crashes 2023

The personal injury attorneys at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf advocate for our clients' full financial recovery through detailed, meticulous preparation for trial. If you have been injured in a car accident, please contact our firm to discuss your case.

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the results achieved in any given case depend upon the exact facts and circumstances of that case. Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf cannot guarantee a specific result in any legal matter. Any testimonial or case result listed on this site is based on an actual legal case and represents the results achieved in that particular case, and does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction of the outcome of any other legal matter.

Client Reviews
"Very compassionate, very efficient and top rate! If you want a team of good lawyers that will not only work hard to win your case but knows how to listen and feel for you as a victim of medical malpractice, this firm is your only choice." [Extract] D.F.
"Everyone I communicated with at this firm made me feel like I was part of their family. My needs, feelings, and concerns were carefully considered and given the needed attention. My counselors were available whenever I needed them and became my personal friends. They came highly recommended and lived up to their reputation. I would recommend them to any of my friends without hesitation. This firm gives attorneys a "good name". Clients matter here. They made me feel like I mattered as a person, that I was valued, and not just a possible source of income for the firm. They earned their fees, and you will find that they will also earn your trust." N.W.
"My husband was in a coma with very little chances to survive, due to a car accident. The compassion and professionalism that they showed myself and my family during such a difficult time combined with an incredible willingness to get the best results for us have shown us that we had made the absolute best choice. They not only fought extremely hard for what proved to be a very difficult case, but they also emotionally helped us through this incredible ordeal and have been a caring advocate for our family and our case. They got us the best results we could have expected given the circumstances and didn't give up when things got more challenging." [Extract] V.P.
"August 2020, my mother was in a horrific car accident. I contacted Gair Gair Conason to handle my mother's case. Everyone at the firm who helped us with the case did such a fantastic job with being so efficient. We could not have been more satisfied with the services we received." [Extract] K.C.