Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Personal Injury Law in New York
If you have been injured in New York, whether in New York City or upstate in Rochester or anywhere in between, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries. New York state law allows New Yorkers to seek compensation for injuries under a number of legal approaches.
Personal injury claims fall under civil tort law, which provides a path to recover for physical injuries and property damage. Since each state has their own tort laws, working with a local personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities of New York personal injury claims.
How Are New York Injury Claims Processed?
The process of your claim depends on several factors, like when and where your injuries occurred and the severity of your injuries. When building your case, it is helpful to keep accurate records of all bills, appointments, time out of work, and pictures of your injuries or property damage.
For minor injuries, you can file your grievance in small claims court for damages up to $3,000 for town or village courts or up to $5,000 for city courts. If you are in a car accident, you may deal primarily with your insurance company and the insurance company of the person who injured you to reach a suitable settlement agreement.
However, for more serious cases with substantial medical bills or property damages, you may need to pursue litigation. A personal injury attorney can help you gather and file the necessary documents in the appropriate court, counsel you on your rights, and guide you through the court system. Additionally, an attorney can help you obtain appropriate financial relief for your injuries, because calculating damages in New York can be more complicated than other states.
Damages for New York Injury Claims
You may be entitled to recover actual damages for physical injuries or recover for property damage as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering. New York courts calculate damages for injury cases differently than most states, so it is important to understand how this may affect your claim.
Contributory Negligence in New York Injury Claims
Negligence claims require proving the person who hurt you owed you a duty to act reasonably, they breached this duty by acting unreasonably, and caused you to suffer damages as a result.
To calculate damages for negligence claims in New York, state law uses a contributory negligence model that examines the reasonability of your actions as well. The amount of damages you may receive is reduced in proportion to your actions that may have contributed to your injuries.
For example, perhaps you are speeding on I-81 through Syracuse when you are hit by another car. If the court determines you are 30% at fault for your injuries, then you may only recover 70% of the possible damages from the person who hit you.
The Collateral Source Rule and New York Injury Law
The collateral source rule in New York injury claims prevents you from receiving compensation for damages already covered by other sources like health insurance or disability coverage. This prevents any double payments for expenses.
However, this rule may create complications, because medical billing and insurance benefits can be complex systems to navigate. As a result, New York law allows the opposing party to present evidence to try to lessen the amount of damages you are entitled to recover. While attorneys may not guarantee you a specific amount, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can help you make sure your damages are properly accounted for and put you in a better position to receive compensation.
Common New York Injury Claims
There are a number of different types of personal injury claims you may bring under New York tort law. Your injuries may stem from the negligence of another person as well as an intentional act to cause harm. Where you were located and how you were injured play a role in determining what type of injury claim you may be dealing with.
Car Accidents in New York
Car accident injury claims in New York can be more complicated than other states as a result of the contributory negligence model. Factors like speeding, running through a red light or stop sign, or otherwise driving recklessly are all considered when determining fault for your injuries.
New York state law requires all drivers to have no-fault insurance coverage, meaning your insurance carrier can provide you with coverage for reasonable expenses regardless of who causes an accident. New York also imposes minimums for liability coverage like $10,000 per accident for property damage, $25,000 per person for physical injuries, and up to $100,000 per death in fatal accidents. However, the settlement amount the insurance company offers you may not cover your expenses. From this point, you may wish to hire an attorney and pursue litigation to ensure fair treatment.
Premises Liability in New York
If you are injured on the property of another person or business, you may have a premises liability claim. These injuries frequently occur from slip-and-fall accidents, dog attacks, or other dangerous hazards on the premises.
New York law requires business and private property owners to take reasonable steps to inspect and maintain their property. Depending on your reason for being on the premises, the property owner may have owed you duty to warn or protect you from any potential dangers. This duty also applies where the property owner knows children may enter or trespass on the property.
Product Liability in New York
If your injuries are from a defective product or lack of a warning label, you may have a product liability claim. New York product liability law aims to protect consumers from dangerous products and cover anything from electronics to children’s toys and more.
You may attempt to hold anyone in the manufacturing chain responsible for your injuries. Your claim can allege negligence or a breach of warranty, but commonly this recovery is under the legal theory of strict liability. Strict liability allows you to hold the other party accountable for your damages regardless of fault by proving it is their defective product or warning label that brought about your injuries.
Hiring a New York Personal Injury Attorney
For claims involving serious injuries or substantial financial bills, hiring an injury attorney might be in your best interest and improve your chances of securing fair compensation.
Because every state has their own statutes of limitation controlling the amount of time you have to file your claim, it is key to speak with an injury attorney sooner rather than later. In New York, the amount of time you have to file a claim depends on the type of injuries you have, such as:
- Three years for personal injuries
- Three years for property damage
- Two and a half years for medical malpractice
Personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee, meaning you agree to pay them a percentage of the compensation you may recover and they begin working on your case, meaning there is minimal financial risk to you. A number of attorneys also offer free consultations to review your case and counsel you on your options before moving forward with representation.