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Personal Injury FAQ

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Personal Injury FAQ

Personal Injury FAQBeing injured in an accident can be financially, emotionally, and physically devastating. New York personal injury laws allow victims to seek compensation for their injuries and damages. However, the process of filing a personal injury claim can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries.

Personal injury lawyers help accident victims with insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. We understand that you might have questions about personal injury claims. Below are some FAQS about personal injury cases that might answer some of your questions.

Ten things that you need to know about personal injury cases in New York are:

What is a Personal Injury?

A personal injury occurs when another party causes an accident or incident that injures another person. A personal injury claim is a process of demanding compensation for injuries and damages caused by another party.

Personal injury laws cover a wide variety of situations. Incidents that could result in a personal injury claim include, but are not limited to:

When a person dies because of an accident, the family may file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages.

If you are unsure whether you have a personal injury claim, you can talk to a lawyer. The lawyer analyzes the case and advises you of your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for damages.

When Should I Report the Accident or Injury?

When you’ve been injured in a car accident or other incident, file a report immediately with the appropriate entities or individuals. Having an official written report of an accident or injury can help if you need to file a personal injury claim.

The best way to report a traffic accident is to call 911 for assistance. Accidents at construction sites need to be reported to the property owner, contractor, and employer. An accident that occurs on another person’s property should be reported to the property owner or a person in charge of managing the property.

Do I Need to Seek Medical Care for My Injuries?

As soon as possible after the injury or accident, see a doctor for medical care. Some accident injuries can be difficult to diagnose. You might not realize that you have a severe brain injury until you experience symptoms hours or days after the accident.

Seeking prompt medical treatment protects your health. It reduces the risk that your injuries could worsen or become life-threatening. However, prompt medical care also protects your legal rights after an accident.

A delay in medical treatment could hurt your case. The other party might claim that you did not seek immediate medical treatment because the accident did not cause your injuries. Document your injuries for an accident claim by seeing a doctor, and reporting all symptoms, even the slightest symptoms, as soon as possible.

You may be able to recover your medical bills and lost wages as part of your settlement or judgment.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Claim in a New York Court?

The New York Statutes of Limitations sets deadlines for filing personal injury claims. If you do not file your claim before the deadline, you could lose your right to recover compensation for injuries and damages.

The deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit may vary based on the facts of the case and the type of personal injury case. For most – but not all personal injury lawsuits – the statute of limitations in New York is three years. Wrongful death lawsuits have a two-year time limit, and cases involving the government are subjected to an even more accelerated timetable.

It is generally in your best interest to seek legal advice from an attorney as soon as you can after an accident or injury.

What Types of Damages Are Available in a Personal Injury Case?

An accident or injury can result in significant physical, emotional, and financial damages. The types of damages available in a personal injury case depend on the facts of the case. However, most accident victims are entitled to compensation for their economic and non-economic damages.

Examples of damages available in a personal injury claim include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • The cost of medical care and treatment
  • The cost of personal care and in-home health care
  • Permanent disabilities and impairments
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental and emotional distress and trauma
  • Loss of wages, benefits, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of income
  • A decrease in future earning potential because of an impairment
  • Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life

The value of your personal injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors. Careful documentation of your financial losses and physical injuries can increase the chance you receive maximum compensation for your injury claim.

What is Comparative Fault?

Being partially responsible for the cause of an accident does not bar you from recovering compensation for damages under New York’s comparative fault laws. However, the amount of money you receive for your claim is reduced by your percentage of fault for the cause of the accident.

For example, if you are speeding when another driver runs a red light, a jury might find that you are both partially at fault for the cause of the accident. If the jury finds that you were 30 percent at fault, the amount you receive for your claim is reduced by 30 percent.

You can fight allegations of comparative fault. Never admit fault after an accident or apologize for the accident. Avoid talking to insurance adjusters without an attorney to avoid saying something that could be used to allege comparative fault.

How Do I Prove a Negligence Claim?

Most personal injury claims are based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise the same level of care that a person of reasonable prudence would use in the same or similar situation.

Before you can recover compensation for an accident claim, you must prove each of the elements of a negligence claim:

  • The other party owed a duty of care to you
  • The other party breached the duty of care
  • The breach of care was the direct cause of the accident or incident that resulted in your injury
  • You sustained damages because of the breach of care

Proving negligence can be complicated. An exhaustive investigation may be necessary to gather evidence proving fault. Experts might be needed to help prove how the accident occurred and that the accident was the direct cause of your injury.

Do You Handle Work-Related Accidents and Third Party Claims?

Most injuries that occur at construction sites or on the job are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, some workers might have a third party claim if another party was negligent in causing the worker’s injury.

Third-party claims provide additional compensation for damages not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Examples of third party claims include injuries caused by defective products and traffic accidents caused by other parties.

Are Insurance Settlement Agreements Final?

When you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, the company requires that you sign a settlement agreement. Insurance settlement agreements favor the insurance company and the at-fault party. The agreements are legally binding in court.

Generally, an insurance settlement agreement releases all claims against all parties arising from the accident or incident that caused your injury. In other words, you give up your legal right to seek additional compensation. Even if you discover additional damages or injuries, the agreement prevents you from taking legal action to recover compensation for the additional damages or injuries.

Before you accept a settlement offer or sign a settlement agreement for an accident claim, you may want to have an attorney review the claim. Settlement offers from insurance companies are usually for amounts less than the actual value of the claim.

How Do You Handle Attorney’s Fees?

You may be concerned that you cannot afford to hire an attorney to handle your case. However, most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.

With a contingency fee, the attorney is paid when the attorney recovers money for your claim. If the attorney does not recover money for your claim, the attorney is not paid for his services.

Contingency fees allow you to hire an attorney without paying any upfront costs or attorneys’ fees.

Call Our New York Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Do you have additional questions about a personal injury case? Our New York City personal injury attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide legal advice to help you protect your best interests after an accident or injury. Contact our law firm at (212) 564 2800 to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your case.

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