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How Does Personal Injury Law Work?

Personal injury law is the area of civil law that allows victims of preventable accidents to hold those who caused or failed to prevent their accident accountable for the injuries and financial losses they suffered. Personal injury law applies to things like construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, defective product injuries, boat accidents, car accidents, and dog bites.

If you suffered injuries in an incident caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions, or negligent failure to take appropriate action to prevent injury,, you need to know how personal injury law works. You will likely be eligible to take legal action, hold the at-fault party responsible, and recover compensation for your damages if the various elements of your claim can be proven with relevant evidence. A personal injury attorney is a critically important ally when filing an insurance claim or seeking compensation by way of a personal injury lawsuit.

Negligence and Liability in a Personal Injury Case

Understanding how personal injury law works in New York State requires understanding negligence and liability. Typically, personal injury law cases are based on negligence. (There are exceptions though. For example, the owner of a car that was negligently operated such that the negligent operation of the care caused injury may be legally responsible due to, “vicarious liability,’ even though that car owner was not personally negligent.) One party failed to act safely and reasonably, and their negligence caused harm to another.

There are four factors required to prove negligence and hold an individual or company liable in a personal injury case:

  1. The at-fault party had a specific duty to uphold, such as keeping their property free from hazards.
  2. They failed to uphold their duty.
  3. Their failure caused you to suffer injuries, become ill, or suffer other harm.
  4. You sustained economic damages as a result of their action or inaction.

If you prove each of these elements, it is possible to hold the at-fault party accountable in many cases. This evidence, along with documentation of your losses, allows you to demand a fair payout from an insurance company or take the case to court. You could even recover damages in your case if your own negligence was a factor in your injuries.

Building a Personal Injury Case on Long Island or in NYC

Personal injury cases generally give rise to two ways to pursue compensation for your damages:

  • Filing an insurance claim and negotiating for a fair settlement, (this may include submitting the matter to mediation,); or
  • Taking the case to trial (or, in some cases, an arbitration,) and requesting a just payout in court, (or from the arbitrator.)

Either of these methods should result in compensation if you have the evidence to prove negligence and liability. However, it is vital that you understand the value of your case and seek damages to cover your current and future expenses and losses. When you work with a personal injury attorney, they will handle this for you. They should:

  • Keep you updated on what is happening in your case
  • Identify the liable parties and prove negligence
  • Manage communication with all parties
  • Gather evidence to support your claim or lawsuit
  • Put a fair value on your case
  • Navigate the insurance claims process or file suit for you

Different types of personal injury cases have different requirements and different types of evidence. For example, you must meet specific injury-severity criteria to prevail in a a lawsuit in a car accident case in New York. These criteria are not necessary following a slip and fall.

You Could Only Have a Short Window To Act

If you have questions about your personal injury case and how to file an insurance claim or civil action, consider discussing the circumstances surrounding your injuries with a lawyer who handles Long Island and New York personal injury cases. Under New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214, there are time limits on filing a lawsuit.

Some of these cases require going to court because the insurance company does not agree to a fair settlement offer. When this occurs, it is vital to know the deadlines in your case and ensure you have sufficient time left to commence the lawsuit and, ultimately, properly prepare your case for trial in court. For this reason, you should contact an attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. Additionally, the sooner you contact us, the greater our opportunity to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.

Speak With a Member of Our Personal Injury Team Today

If you have additional questions about how personal injury law works or about your Long Island or NYC case, a member of the Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. personal injury team will speak with you today for free. We offer free evaluations for personal injury accident victims in our service area.

We will meet with you on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area, and our multilingual staff is able to discuss your case in Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, or Kannada if you prefer. Let one of our passionate advocates for the injured fight for justice in your case.

Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. now at (516) 932-0400 to get started.

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