Personal Injury Claims & Lawsuits in New York
A personal injury lawsuit refers to a legal dispute that arises when someone is hurt in an accident or incident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Under New York’s tort laws, personal injury claims are filed in civil court. In a civil lawsuit, a judge or jury will determine whether the defendant in the case bears legal responsibility for causing the plaintiff’s injuries and the resulting damages, such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, and economic and non-economic losses.
In many cases, a personal injury claim will be “settled” or resolved out of court through negotiation or mediation. In such an event, the parties will agree on the amount of compensation that will be paid to the injured party, and the lawsuit will be dismissed.
Accidents that Often Cause Personal Injury Lawsuits
When you have sustained an injury, you may wonder whether your injury will allow you to pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered, such as lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, damaged property, or other losses you have incurred. If negligence caused your accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the party or parties legally responsible for your injuries.
Common scenarios that give rise to a personal injury claim or lawsuit include:
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Defective Drug or Product
- Dog Bites
- E-Scooter Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Slip & Fall Accidents
- Train/Railroad Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
If you or a family member was injured in an accident of this nature, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
Injuries That Lead to Personal Injury Lawsuits
EXAMPLES OF PHYSICAL INJURIES THAT CAN COMMONLY GIVE RISE TO PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS INCLUDE:
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Soft-tissue injury (for example, a tendon, ligament, or muscle injury)
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injury
- Spinal injury and paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Toxic exposure(for example, lead paint)
Mental and emotional injuries such as memory/cognitive problems, depression, or PTSD can also sometimes qualify as injuries serious enough to merit a valid personal injury claim.
What is a “Statute of Limitations” in a Personal Injury Case?
A statute of limitations is the amount of time that you have to take legal action, such as filing a lawsuit. If you don’t take the required legal action within the statute of limitations, you will forever forfeit your right to bring a claim. Under New York statutes of limitations, you typically have three years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation, but there are certain exceptions that reduce the three-year period. For example, medical malpractice cases typically require a filing within two and a half years.
THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS TIME PERIOD CAN BE EXTENDED UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, SUCH AS:
- If the injured victim is under the age of 18
- If the injured victim is physically and/or mentally incapacitated and unable to file suit
- If the injured victim does not realize that they have been injured at the time of injury
However, cases against municipalities such as New York City and New York State require the injured victim to file a notice of claim within 90 days from the date of the injury. In addition, a lawsuit against New York City or New York State must be filed within 1 year and 90 days from the date of the injury.
If a notice of claim or lawsuit is not filed within the required time periods, the court will almost certainly dismiss your personal injury case. This is one of the most important reasons why you need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will take the necessary steps to protect your rights and ensure you meet all applicable deadlines in your case.
What Is the Timeline of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
While each case is unique, the general timeline for personal injury cases usually involves:
- Seeking medical treatment – You will want to seek prompt medical attention to minimize your injuries. Let your treating provider know why you are seeking treatment, for example, because you suffered an injury in a car accident. Keep your original medical records to help support your claim.
- Contacting a personal injury lawyer – A personal injury lawyer can help handle communications with the insurance company, protect your legal rights, develop a legal strategy, and take steps to recover compensation for the harm you have suffered. The attorney-client relationship is confidential, so anything you say to your lawyer is kept private.
- Investigating the claim – Your personal injury lawyer will investigate the facts and circumstances of the case, determine which insurance policy or policies may provide coverage, and calculate the full extent of your damages, including pain and suffering and emotional distress.
- Submitting a demand letter – Your lawyer may send a letter that states your right to compensation and the amount you will accept to settle your claim.
- Negotiating a final settlement – Your lawyer and the insurance company may negotiate back and forth until you agree to a final number.
Many personal injury cases end at this point. However, if you are not able to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company or negligent party prior to commencing legal proceedings, we will litigate your case. Personal injury litigation typically involves::
- Filing a complaint
- Conducting document discovery to gather and preserve important information
- Conducting depositions of the parties and witnesses
- Engaging medical, scientific, and other leading experts to help support our legal theory
- Preparing pre-trial motions
- Interviewing, questioning, and selecting potential jurors
- Presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and cross-examining the defense’s witnesses at trial
What Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury cases are usually handled on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, you will not pay anything until the case is successfully resolved on your behalf.
If you have questions about your potential personal injury claim or lawsuit, contact the personal injury lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free case review.
As a family-run New York personal injury law firm spanning three generations, our personal injury attorneys care deeply about our community and have a very strong understanding of New York law and the New York State court system. We are standing by to answer your questions and help you understand your legal rights and options.
This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in October 2021.