DO I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
When you suffer an injury, you might wonder about your legal rights. You may have a right to bring a case to recover for your losses. In order to bring a case, your injuries must result from the bad acts of someone else. In most cases, these bad acts are called negligence.
New York negligence laws
A person acts negligently when they don’t use enough care and caution in their actions. That is, they don’t use the care that a reasonable person would use in the same situation. New York law says that when someone’s negligence results in injury to another person, the person that acted negligently should pay the injured person for their losses.
Examples of negligence
An example of negligence might occur on the road. A driver might fail to stop at a stop sign. That failure could result in a collision that causes you injuries. This is an example of negligence.
Another example is a slip and fall. Perhaps a store owner negligently spills water on the floor and fails to clean it up. Then, you walk in and slip on the water. You suffer significant injuries including a broken arm. This is an example of negligence. It’s also an example of premises liability, because a store owner has a duty to keep their property free from hazards for customers.
When you’re evaluating whether you have a personal injury claim, you should consider New York’s comparative negligence law. You may still be able to recover for your losses if you’re partially to blame for what happened. When more than one person acted negligently, the courts apportion blame among the actors and then determine damages. When you’re injured and you’re partially to blame, you can still recover a part of your damages.
The way New York’s comparative negligence system works is to determine your percent of fault. For example, a jury may conclude that you’re 40 percent at fault and that the other party is 60 percent at fault. They may also decide that you have $50,000 in damages. In this case, the court deducts 40 percent of the amount from your recovery to account for your percentage of fault. In this case, you recover 60 percent of $50,000 or $30,000.
An personal injury lawyer can help you explore whether the other person’s negligent acts resulted in your injuries. This is called causation. To recover, their actions must lead to your injuries. It’s not enough just for someone to act negligently.
For example, a store owner leaves a water spill on the floor. You walk in the store to shop, and you slip on the floor, breaking your hip. The water spill caused you to break your hip. On the other hand, if you avoid the spill on the floor and you injure your hip later while walking into your home, there’s no causation between the other person’s negligence and your injuries.
Types of damages
Evaluating whether you have a personal injury claim also means evaluating whether you have damages and what kinds of damages you have. Medical bills are only one of the types of damages that you may have because of someone else’s negligent behavior. Lost wages, loss of consortium, pain and suffering and mental anguish are all other important types of damages that you can recover. Part of evaluating your personal injury claim is making sure you work with an personal injury attorney to account for all of your losses.
Other types of actions
In addition to negligence, your team of personal injury attorneys can work with you to explore other grounds for recovery. If a person acts intentionally, you can recover from them for your losses that result. An example of this might be assault and battery. In addition to intentional conduct, when a person acts with a willful disregard for the safety of others, you have a claim to recover for you losses.