Thousands of people each year get injured in various types of accidents. Not all are grounds for legal action, of course, but if the injuries are the result of another person’s conduct, that might be cause for legal action. If you’ve been in an accident and are wondering if you have a case worth pursuing, you should consult a lawyer who has previously handled similar cases. They can study the specifics of your case and can recommend what your next steps should be.
Legal Definition of Personal Injury
Legally speaking, personal injury refers to the injury that happens to an individual’s body, mind, or emotions as a consequence of another individual’s negligence, wrongful acts, or carelessness. Under personal injury law (or Tort Law), a civil lawsuit can be filed in court by the injured person to seek legal remedy to cover any losses that they incurred as a result of the injury. (1)
Personal injury laws in New York state were enacted to protect people who were injured physically or emotionally. With these laws in place, they’d have legal recourse to get remuneration for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, burial costs, and other compensation that may be awarded to the victim. In some cases, compensation is based upon the behavior of the other person or entity involved in the mishap. (2)
To be sure, insurance companies, including yours and the other party’s, have their own personal injury lawyers. Remember though, that those lawyers represent their clients, which are the insurance companies. If you want someone to represent you, you’ll need to hire a Personal Injury Law Firm to look out for your interest.
Here’s a list of some of the most common causes of personal injury in New York:
Common causes of personal injuries in New York
Injuries sustained in accidents can range from minor to severe and can include permanent disability or even death. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years for personal injury claimants. They have three years starting from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against those accountable for the accident. If a death occurred as a result of the accident, the next of kin or family member is given two years to file a claim. (3)
- Vehicular accidents
This is New York’s number one cause of personal injury. In April 2021 alone, the number of motor vehicles involved in collisions reached 8,640; there were 17,224 persons involved, of which 2,978 either died or were injured as a result.
Remember that in New York, it is illegal to leave the scene of the accident. If you’re involved in one, call the cops as soon as possible. (4) (7)
- Products liability accidents
If you were harmed or injured when consuming or using a consumer product in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer, you could file a product liability lawsuit to seek compensation for any damages or losses you might have suffered. (3)
- Workplace accidents
Employees who get injured in the workplace are eligible for compensation from the Worker’s Compensation insurance under New York laws. The insurance pays for replacement wages and medical care for workers who get sick or injured in the course of doing their jobs. (2)
- Accidents on premises liability
A person who suffered an injury on another person’s property due to negligence may file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. The injured person could be awarded monetary remuneration. (2)
Deciding to hire a New York City personal injury attorney
If you’ve been involved in an accident, one of the things you’d probably think about, besides the trauma and concerns about the extent of your injuries, is the legal ramifications. If it’s a minor accident, a lawyer may not be needed. But, if you have injuries, it’s better to have a lawyer’s expertise to advise you, and if needed to handle the legal fallout from the event.
- If you need to determine the monetary compensation for your pain and suffering
There are injuries caused by accidents that can be assessed in terms of financial compensation. But when it comes to the victim’s pain and suffering as a result of the other party’s action, this falls under non-economic damages. The compensation that the victim may receive will depend on the extent and nature of the injury. (5)
If, however, there are talks about an out-of-court settlement, your lawyer will enter into a negotiation with the defendant’s lawyer for payment for the pain and suffering the accident caused you. Your lawyer will determine the amount due to you by studying similar cases and the amount that was awarded to the victim. After evaluating your case, your attorney would then present the amount to the defendant’s lawyer.
If the case comes to trial, then the jury would determine the rightful compensation for your pain and suffering. The material evidence and depositions by life-care, economic, and medical experts that your lawyer presents will support your claim for remuneration.
- If you need to determine whether you have a compelling personal injury case
Your lawyer will determine whether you have a solid personal injury case. The lawyer’s role is crucial in ascertaining liability and damages. An individual filing a personal injury case would have to prove the defendant’s liability for any injuries caused by either misconduct or negligence, under NY law. The plaintiff (complainant) will also have to prove the nature, as well as the scope, of the injuries and damages. (6)
- If your injuries are grievous
If you suffered a serious injury from the accident, or if the accident left you permanently disabled, you would, without a doubt, need legal representation. The nature and extent of your injuries could put you in a state of pain and suffering for the rest of your life, not to mention the medical care you’d require.
If this happens, you’d need a lawyer who’d fight for you tooth and nail. You and your family would be put under a tremendous amount of emotional and financial stress. Keep in mind that the initial consultation with a lawyer is typically free.
- If the accident you’re involved in has no clear-cut guilty party
If it isn’t clear who’s at fault in the accident you’re involved in, get yourself represented by legal counsel immediately. Insurance companies would probably look for somebody to blame. Getting a no-nonsense attorney will protect you and make sure your legal rights are protected.
- If the insurance company denies or delays your claim
A claimant could sometimes be sandbagged by an insurance company, delaying or even denying insurance claims. A lawyer could help you cut through red tape, and assist you in navigating the insurance company’s convoluted processes in an attempt to discourage you. If you feel you’re getting the runaround, get on the phone and book an appointment with an attorney.
The majority of accidents are minor, but there are also the ones that result in personal injuries. If that happens, you’d probably need a lawyer to help you determine the next step, to protect you and look out for your interests, or, if litigation is on the horizon, to represent you. A lawyer could also help you deal with insurance companies.
- “Learning the Basics: Personal Injury Law”, Source: https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/introduction.html
- “What kinds of “injuries” does personal injury law include?’, Source: https://www.nycbar.org/get-legal-help/article/personal-injury-and-accidents/common-causes-of-personal-injury/
- “What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in New York?”, Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-the-personal-injury-statute-of-limitations-in-new-york.html
- “Police Department City of New York Motor Vehicle Collision Report Statistics Citywide,” Source: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/traffic_data/cityacc-en-us.pdf
- “Two Ways to Calculate a Pain and Suffering Settlement,” Source: https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/two-ways-calculate-pain-suffering-settlement.html
- “Personal Injury,” Source: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/personalinjury/
- “What to Do After a Car Accident in New York,” Source: https://statelaws.findlaw.com/new-york-law/your-new-york-car-accident-the-basics.html