New York’s tort and personal injury laws cover numerous legal actions and claims. According to the kind and severity of the harm they endured, plaintiffs may recover losses as in any state. Economic damages awards will be used as the legal remedy in the majority of situations.
In New York, frequent personal injury cases include:
- Automobile accident lawsuits
- Lawsuits for negligence
- Minor battery/assault claims
- Claims for premises liability (such as slip and fall cases in retail stores)
What Are Typical Tort Examples in New York?
In New York, a tort is defined as any unlawful act, excepting claims for breach of contract, that causes harm to another person, their property, reputation, or something similar and for which the legal system can provide redress.
To put it another way, a tort is an action committed by one person that results in harm to another, who can then hold the actor accountable for the harm they sustained. In essence, a tortious action may be defined as any harm done to another person that is not covered by contractual law.
According to New York law, when a tort is committed, the victim has the option to file a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator. This legal recourse is referred to as a “cause of action.”
New York’s tort statutes of action recognize numerous different tort causes. While certain causes of action are rather frequent, others are more uncommon and cryptic.
The most typical torts that a person is likely to encounter include examples like these:
- Intentional physical torts like civil battery (making offensive or harmful contact with someone without their consent);
- Intentional property torts like conversion (taking someone else’s property and converting it to their own); and
- Emotional torts like defamation (when someone says something false about someone else, with that lie harming that person), libel, or slander, among others.
A person will have a claim against the tortfeasor if they experience any of the aforementioned harms or other injuries as a result of the tortious behavior of another.
Examples of typical damage claims that plaintiffs in New York may make include:
- Lost wages: In the majority of tort cases, the injured plaintiff may file a claim for their lost wages as a result of missing time from work due to their injury. If the plaintiff’s injuries may have an influence on their ability to earn money in the future, they may also be able to file a claim for damages for loss of earning capacity;
- Medical expenses: The most frequent type of damage claim involves medical costs. In most circumstances, a plaintiff will be able to demand that the tortfeasor cover their medical expenses, therapy costs, and prescription costs. It’s crucial to remember that insurance usually plays a part in paying medical expenditures;
- Property damage: Damages to the plaintiff’s property are a frequent type of damage claim. For instance, in a New York car accident case, the plaintiff could file a claim for property damage to cover the cost of repairing their damaged car;
- Plaintiffs may be able to establish a claim for their pain and suffering: Loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, physical discomfort, scars, or psychological anguish are common theories for a pain and suffering claim.
- Punitive damages: In some situations, the court may want to hold the tortfeasor accountable for their acts even when they are not at fault. Punitive damages would be the name for such compensation.
In New York, punitive penalties normally cannot total more than ten times the plaintiff’s actual damages. This is a suggestion for courts rather than a rigid law, nevertheless. Both greater and smaller punitive damage judgments have been deemed invalid by New York courts, with the former being the more common.
Tort Reform: What Is It?
In a nutshell, New York’s tort reform refers to recent revisions to the state’s tort laws. The scope of responsibility for corporations that have harmed New Yorkers has generally been constrained by the movement toward tort reform in New York. Being abreast of any current developments in tort law is crucial because the law is always changing.
Tort reforms that cap the number of damages in some civil lawsuits and tort reforms that place restrictions on the contingency fees for plaintiff lawyers are the two most prevalent tort reforms that have had a substantial influence on plaintiffs. In New York, for instance, contingency fees in medical malpractice lawsuits are capped at 30% of the first $250,000 in damages, 20% on the following $500,000 in damages, 15% of the following $250,000, and 10% of any losses over $1,250,000 in damages.
Companies frequently employ compulsory arbitration clauses in contracts to prevent people from holding them accountable in a private civil case and to advocate for tort reform about their civil liability. Therefore, the businesses are attempting to restrict a person’s ability to sue them and seek compensation for the harm they experienced.
Do Damage Awards in New York Have a Cap?
In personal injury lawsuits, damage awards are not subject to any formal restrictions in New York courts. About 15 states do not have restrictions on medical malpractice awards, including New York. Personal injury cases involving medical misconduct account for a sizable portion of all claims.
Additionally, punitive damages are not subject to any statutory caps in New York. Punitive damages, however, especially as compared to economic damages, must not be “grossly disproportionate.”
The Procedure in New York for Punitive Damages
In some personal injury instances, the defendant is found liable for punitive damages in order to punish them and discourage them from further wrongdoing. Punitive damages are classified as “quasi-criminal” in the state of New York. This is because such damages are not of an economic nature. They are meant to control the defendant’s behavior instead.
Punitive damages may be granted in New York where the defendant’s actions have a “high degree of moral culpability.” The behavior must be more than just careless. Punitive damages will probably be requested in cases involving extreme irresponsibility or willful behavior.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in situations involving:
- Oppressive actions
- Malicious insults
- Suffering of the plaintiff
In New York personal injury cases, damages are frequently difficult to estimate. They could need a legal expert or expert witness to help them.
How are Economic Damages Determined?
Economic damages are frequently calculated using a number of elements that must be quantifiable. For instance, the court may review receipts, invoices, and hospital bills to ascertain the total expenses. To establish damages, further proof may be required in specific circumstances. These can include accident videos and other comparable types of proof.
Last but not least, many situations call for the testimony of an expert witness who can estimate the extent of the damages.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Multiple New York statutes may be at play in personal injury cases. There are times when federal laws can also be relevant. If you need assistance submitting a personal injury claim, you might need to retain an experienced New York personal injury attorney.
Your lawyer will be able to advocate for you and help you navigate the procedure. Your lawyer can help you with such concerns as well if you need to submit a move or make an appeal request.