What is a Personal Injury?
The legal concept of personal injury encompasses injury to body, mind, and emotional state. The concept is distinct from injury occurring to a person’s property. Common occurrences of personal injury in New York result from:
- car accidents
- defective merchandise
- medical malpractice
How do I Collect Damage Awards from a Personal Injury?
The person who caused the injury in New York must be found legally responsible or "at fault." Generally, fault comes from a lack of care – or negligence. A person who should have been reasonably careful, but is not, is negligent and legally responsible. Witnesses, photos, official accident reports, etc. are all evidence of responsibility.
Evidence is also required to prove how much you should win. Most of the damage award will be compensatory. In other words, the award will compensate you for your injury, so that you don’t lose any money because of the accident. Hospital bills, pay stubs, or receipts are all ways of proving lost wages and costs from your injuries. In some cases, punitive damages will be given, but only if the defendant was acting maliciously or purposely.
Under the law, you have a certain amount of time to claim your injury. In New York, you must file with the court within 3 years of the date of the accident. This period of time is known as the statute of limitations and all personal injury claims that are older than 3 years cannot be tried in court. Other problems you may encounter include: finding evidence to support your case, dealing with insurance companies who won’t pay, and locating multiple injured parties – a "class action."
Do I need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury law can be complicated. Proving negligence, causation and damages to a court can be a challenge for even the most intelligent persons. A qualified New York injury lawyer can provide you more information if there is a legal basis for your case.