how file pi claim

The fourth most populous state in the US, New York is home to 20.4 million people, of which 8.2 million reside in New York City alone. Because of the high-density traffic, accidents and consequent injuries are a sad but unfortunate reality of everyday life in the city. There is no way to undo the injuries or property damages suffered in an accident. However, personal injury laws in New York allow the victims and their families to seek redemption in the form of monetary compensation.

Personal injuries, especially the more severe ones, can lead to a financial crisis due to medical bills and loss of wages. They also take a huge emotional toll due to the pain and suffering caused to the victim and their families.

If you or a loved one suffered personal injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you must consult with an experienced New York personal injury attorney to protect your rights and recover adequate compensation. Meanwhile, read on to learn the basics of the legal process involved in a personal injury claim, and the important things you need to keep in mind while filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York.

Personal Injuries You Can Claim Damages for in New York

In New York, you can sue for damages when you suffer personal injuries due to someone else’s negligence, in the following types of accidents or situations:

  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Construction accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Asbestos-related cancers and Mesothelioma
  • Dangerous or defective products
  • Burn injuries
  • Wrongful death
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Birth injuries

Establish if there are Substantial Grounds for You to Sue

You must have a feasible basis for your personal injury compensation claim. If you sustain injuries by yourself while trespassing on someone’s property, your chances of winning a personal injury trial may be next to nothing. For a New York court to award you damages, you must be able to establish successfully that you sustained grievous injuries and those injuries were caused by someone’s negligence.

Establish if You Suffered Damages

Before filing a lawsuit and seeking financial compensation, you must be able to show that you have suffered damages. A minor injury that does not warrant much medical attention or a fall without suffering an injury could mean you have no damages, and therefore no valid reason to file a lawsuit.

Establish if the Other Party was Negligent

You may not be able to seek or recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit unless you can prove to the court that the other party was either negligent or acted out of malice. The other driver going through a stop sign to hit you, may count as an example of when you have a solid basis for your injury claim.

Establish if the Defendant is Insured and Financially Sound

If the other party responsible for your injuries is an individual without any insurance or financial standing, you may never see a cent of the damages. As a plaintiff, try to find a responsible business, instead of trying to sue an individual.

Businesses are usually insured, and their insurance policies help pay for personal injury claims. For example, if you are injured in an assault in a club, you might sue the club for failing to arrange sufficient security instead of suing the individual who assaulted you.

File Your Claim Within the Stipulated Time

There are time limits, or statutes of limitations, to file lawsuits and civil actions in each state. You may have the most compelling evidence in your favor or the most accomplished attorney fighting your case, but all that does not amount to much if you do not file your personal injury claim within the specified time period.

Mostly, the statute of limitations is two years, which implies that you need to file within two years from the date of your injury. Two years may seem sufficient, but you must keep in mind that collecting all the relevant information to file a complaint, serving notice to the defendant, and selecting the right court to file the claim, are tedious and time-consuming tasks.

New York has the following statutes of limitations:

  • Personal injury: 3 years
  • Wrongful death: 2 years
  • Medical malpractice: 2 years and 6 months
  • Product liability: 3 years

Any failure on your part to file a complaint before the expiry of statutes of limitations may lead to refusal by New York courts to hear your case. Therefore, to avoid losing your right to compensation, you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury.

Estimate the Value of Your Claim

If your injuries resulted from a car accident or an accident at a business, an insurance company will likely be involved. The primary aim of an insurance company is to minimize liability, often resulting in unfair insurance settlements. To avoid being at the short end of the stick in an insurance settlement with the defendant’s insurance company, you must have a clear estimate of your claim’s value that you can place on the negotiation table. 

Typically, the more grievous your injuries are, the more likely you are to recover a bigger amount of monetary compensation. As for the specifics, the value of your claim can be broken down to include a number of damages, both tangible and emotional, such as:

  • Medical treatment bills
  • Other costs, like your traveling expenses for visiting a specialized facility for rehabilitation
  • Cost of both short and long-term medical care
  • Loss of income
  • Court costs and lawyer's fees
  • Wrongful death damages
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • The emotional trauma of surviving family
  • Punitive damages if the defendant’s negligent behavior was reprehensible

Understand New York Comparative Negligence Laws

Negligence is the basis of all personal injury claims in New York City. Negligence occurs when an individual or business fails to take proper care in managing an elemental responsibility and as a consequence, someone else is affected negatively. More specifically, in the legal context, the plaintiff needs to establish the defendant’s negligence in court by showing that:

  • Consequent to the duty of care that exists between two individuals or entities, the defendant was legally bound to act in a manner within reason
  • That defendant violated their duty, because of their action or inaction
  • That plaintiff suffered undue injury or harm because of the defendant’s violation
  • That plaintiff endured measurable or immeasurable damage because of the harm or injury

All negligence claims involve the general legal outline given above. Furthermore, the law in New York follows a specific principle of negligence called pure comparative negligence.

Comparative negligence takes into account the damage caused by each of the involved parties, calculates the proportion of responsibility for each of them, and then permits each party to seek and recover compensation on a pro-rata basis. Simply put, this means that recovery of damages by a plaintiff is reduced in proportion to their share of fault.

For example, if a person not wearing the seatbelt, suffers injuries in a car accident caused by the negligence of the other driver, then the plaintiff may recover reduced damages due to their own negligent behavior, of not wearing a seatbelt.

Document the Incident as Much as You Can

Your chances of securing the rightful compensation for your personal injuries depend solely upon your ability to prove your injuries in a court trial. Though it might sound simple, it will require dedicated and diligent record-keeping on your part. You will need to gather your medical treatment records, documents proving your lost wages, and detailed documentary evidence of all the other damages that you may be claiming.

You also need to beware of undermining your claim by indulging in behavior contradicting your claim in court. For example, if you go hiking while claiming your inability to work, the other side’s lawyers could use this to allege that your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be.

Remember, it is indisputable evidence that will win the case for you, and not what you say in court. You must also record any conversations you might have with the other side, especially if there are any admissions of fault or offers of settlement.

Comply with Rules and Regulations of the Court

You cannot just file a lawsuit and hope things will work out in your favor. Once your case goes to trial, you need to follow the rules and regulations to see your claim through. You must show up for court hearings and hand over case evidence whenever called upon to do so, or else your case could suffer.

For someone unfamiliar with the complicated legal system, the best bet is to hire a competent New York personal injury attorney. A committed lawyer can guide you through the maze of intricate laws and extensive paperwork. This could prove to be the difference between your claim being upheld or getting rejected.

Hire an Accomplished New York Personal Injury Attorney

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our qualified lawyers have several years of experience in winning personal injury claims for our clients. For almost a hundred years now since our New York City personal injury law firm was founded in 1922 by trial attorney Gustave G. Rosenberg, we have been helping people recover the compensation they need to move forward and restore their lives.

To know more about how we can help you win the best compensation that you truly deserve, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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