When to Pursue Legal Action for a Personal Injury – And How

Our decades of experience as personal injury lawyers in the state of New York has shown us one thing clearly. Personal injury from accidents can take so many forms. And certainly, their repercussions can vary from client to client. 

If you decide to pursue justice for a case of personal injury, a lawyer is your best chance at articulating the damages you have taken. It could be physical or otherwise.

What is a Personal Injury According to NY Law? 

According to New York law, a "personal injury" is any harm caused to a person's body, mind, or emotions, as opposed to damage to property. A personal injury can range from physical injuries like broken bones, cuts, or burns to psychological impacts such as emotional distress or trauma.

The laws of New York cover various scenarios of personal injury including, but not limited to:

Injuries Caused by Accidents – Injuries sustained in car accidents, slip and fall incidents, workplace accidents, etc.

Personal Harm Caused by Medical Malpractice – Injuries caused by the negligence or misconduct of medical professionals.

Harm Caused by Product Malfunction or Unsafe Product Quality – Injuries caused by defective or unsafe products.

Injuries Caused by Intentional Acts – Injuries inflicted on purpose, such as in cases of assault and battery.

Defamation – Harm done to a person's reputation through libel or slander can also be considered under personal injury if it leads to emotional distress or has provable psychological impacts.

The specific details and applications of personal injury law strongly depends on the circumstances of each case. Liability is often determined based on negligence, strict liability, or intentional misconduct. It is imperative that you seek legal counsel before filing for legal action in any form.

When to Sue for Personal Injury According to New York Law

Deciding whether or not to pursue a lawsuit for a personal injury in New York involves several considerations. 

Negligence and Liability – You must determine if your injury was due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party. This involves proving that the other party had a duty of care, that they breached this duty, and that the breach directly caused the injury.

The Extent of Your Injuries – The severity and impact of the injuries play a crucial role. If the injuries are minor and can be resolved without significant medical treatment or financial burden, legal action might not be necessary – or valid. However, if the injuries are serious, resulting in substantial medical bills, loss of income, or long-term disability, pursuing a lawsuit might be warranted.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages – Victims should consider the economic damages, like medical expenses and lost wages. They must also consider non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, emotional distress they have incurred. If these are substantial, and can be proven, a lawsuit can help recover these losses.

Evidence of Personal Injury – Sufficient evidence must be available to support your claim. This includes medical records, witness statements, photographs of the scene, and any other documentation that can substantiate the circumstances and impact of the injury.

The Cost vs. Benefit of Suing – Legal actions involve time and resources. Victims should consider whether the potential recovery justifies the costs. This includes legal fees and personal time spent on litigation.

Insurance Coverage – It’s also important to review the involved parties' insurance coverages, as these can influence the decision to sue. Sometimes, insurance might cover most of the damages, limiting the necessity for a lawsuit.

Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can provide a clearer understanding of the legal options, the likelihood of a successful outcome, and the process involved. Our personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation, which can be an invaluable resource for victims.

Making the decision to file a lawsuit is significant and should be based on a thorough evaluation of these factors. Legal advice tailored to the specific circumstances of the injury is essential in making an informed decision.

How Long After an Accident Can You Sue for Personal Injury?

In New York, personal injury claims must generally be filed within three years from the date of the injury. Certain types of claims, such as those against government entities or for medical malpractice, might have different deadlines. It’s crucial to be aware of these time limits as failing to file within them can permanently bar the right to recover damages. 

How to Assess Damages from Personal Injury

In New York, an attorney plays a crucial role in helping a personal injury victim determine the extent of damages. This is vital to ensuring that they are adequately compensated for their losses. Here’s how an attorney can assist in this process:

First, your attorney will review all medical records related to the injury. He or she will often consult with medical experts to fully understand the severity and long-term implications of the injuries. This helps in quantifying medical expenses, both past and projected future costs. Medical costs include rehabilitation, therapy, and any long-term care needs as well.

The next step is to evaluate of lost wages and earning capacity. Your lawyer can help calculate not only the income lost while you were recovering, but also any impact on your future earning capacity. This is true particularly if the injury leads to long-term disability or career limitations.

Another step is to quantify non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Attorneys use their experience and knowledge of similar cases to estimate a fair value for these more subjective damages.

Finally comes the analysis of contributory negligence. New York follows a comparative fault rule. This means that the compensation might be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault in the accident. Your attorney can help argue for a lower percentage of fault, maximizing the potential compensation.

Also, your attorney can help deal with the insurance companies involved. Personal injury attorneys are adept at navigating the complexities of dealing with insurance companies, including countering tactics that may be used to minimize the payout. A skilled lawyer can ensure that all necessary documentation is in order to substantiate the claim fully.

As you can see, an experienced personal injury lawyer can handle negotiations to reach a settlement that compensates for your injuries in a fair manner. If a settlement cannot be reached, they will prepare to present your case in court, advocating on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you’re ever seeking compensation for personal injury in the state of New York, find a trusted lawyer by calling 866-995-9035. Or schedule a meeting with an attorney here.