How we handle your personal injury matter depends upon how you were injured, and the nature and extent of your injuries.
Basic Tort (Injury) Law Concepts
Each person has a duty to use reasonable care toward others. If a person fails to do so and this causes another person to be injured, we say that the defendant was negligent. The defendant becomes liable to compensate the injured party. If the injured party was partially at fault, this compensation is reduced by his or her proportional share of fault.
A monetary award typically consists of payment for loss of past and future wages and pain and suffering. This award is intended to allow the injured party (as best as possible) to be in the position they would have enjoyed had the injury never occurred. Damages for “loss of quality of life” are one aspect of a “pain and suffering” award.
In extreme cases, such as where a defendant had been warned repeatedly about an unsafe condition, a jury may award “punitive damages”. As the name implies, these damages are intended solely to punish the defendant in an effort to prevent future misconduct.
Auto accidents receive special treatment under New York State Law. In an attempt to keep insurance rates down and to keep smaller injury cases out of the courts, the legislature passed “No-Fault” legislation. This law essentially did two things.
First, it provides that a motorist’s own insurance policy would provide coverage for “basic economic loss.” such as medical bills, home care and lost wages up to certain limits. The second thing the law accomplished was that it removed an injured person’s right to bring suit for injuries unless he or she has suffered a “serious injury.”
Serious injury is defined as:
- A fracture
- Dismemberment or serious disfigurement
- Loss of use of a bodily organ or function
- Permanent loss of full use of a limb
Injuries from Defective Products, Slip-and-Fall, Other Injuries
These are not subject to the limitations applicable to auto accidents. However, your injuries still must be very serious before we can accept your case.
Because an injured person should not have to become a ward of the family or, for that matter, a ward of the taxpayer. The person who should pay is the person who caused the injury either directly or through negligence.
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