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How To Sue Someone: Personal Injury Claims

Being involved in an accident and suffering injuries can be a stressful and traumatizing experience. Additionally, it can be very expensive. Medical treatment, lost wages, and property damage can turn a small accident into a very costly event.

Personal injury claims occur when the injured person seeks compensation for their financial losses. To sue someone, the injured person must be able to prove that the other party acted negligently and that due to their actions someone was harmed. The injured person can file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company.

Usually, insurance companies offer less money than what is fair, but it is possible to reach a settlement through negotiation. If the responsible party is not insured or it is not possible to reach an agreement, the plaintiff can file a personal injury lawsuit and go to court. Regardless if the injured person decides to file a claim with an insurance company or decides to file a personal injury lawsuit, hiring a personal injury attorney is crucial. Experienced lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies to get a reasonable settlement. If the injured person decides to file a personal injury lawsuit, having an attorney on their side highly increases their chances of succeeding in court. 

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What is a personal injury lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is a form of civil litigation. Personal injury lawsuits begin when a person who has been injured as a result of the negligence of another person, business entity, or government institution seeks recompense for their losses.

In many cases, civil disputes can be resolved outside of court through an informal settlement. However, there are cases in which a formal lawsuit is needed. In a formal lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate evidence to the jury that the other person is legally responsible for their damages. For instance, a police report can serve as proof that in a car accident the at-fault driver acted carelessly and caused the automobile collision. The plaintiff must also provide evidence that supports their claim. For example, if the plaintiff is seeking compensation for medical expenses, they will have to show medical bills and/or medical records. 

Where are the laws that govern personal injury cases?

Personal injury lawsuits are different from other areas of law and the laws that govern personal injury cases are not in statutes. For example, the laws that rule over criminal cases can be found in penal codes. Most laws that rule over personal injury lawsuits come from court decisions. Some states have tried to create statutes for personal injury lawsuits. However, in the majority of states, court rulings continue to be the primary source of law.

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What qualifies as personal injury in New York state?

Contrary to popular belief, personal injury in New York does not solely refer to bodily injury. According to the New York State laws, any harm that is done to the body, mind, or emotions, whether done purposefully or due to the neglect of another party is considered a personal injury. It is crucial to note that in the case of car accidents, certain standards must be completed in order to launch a personal injury claim against another party.

New York is a no-fault state. That means that an injured person is not able to file a lawsuit unless their injuries can be deemed as serious. Here is a list of injuries considered a serious: 

  • A fracture
  • Loss of a limb
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of a body organ, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system
  • Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature that prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Death

When to sue for an injury?

It is impossible to tell when is the right time to sue for an injury, as long as you are meeting the deadlines applicable to your case. In most cases, the best thing you can do is to file a claim as soon as possible.

In New York, the statute of limitations indicates that personal injury lawsuits can be filed within three years from the date of the event. There are some exceptions that may cause this statute of limitations to increase. However, if you are filing a lawsuit against a government entity, you normally have to submit a “notice claim” within 90 days from the day of the accident. If you do not meet the deadlines, your case may be dismissed.

Working with a personal injury lawyer is important because they will help you meet every deadline that applies to your specific situation. 

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What damages can you recover?

In a personal injury lawsuit, you are able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Here is a list of recoverable damages in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future medical treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost earning potential
  • Punitive damages (rarely awarded) 

Is it worth it to sue someone after an accident?

Yes, it is worth it to sue someone after an accident. You do not have to carry all the economic burden that comes after an accident if another person is fully or partially responsible for your financial loss. Another compelling motive to sue the accountable party is to prevent future injuries from occurring.

Property owners and managers, for example, have a duty of care to maintain their properties secure. If a person slips and falls and the owners are sued, they will almost certainly be more cautious in the future.

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What steps to take after suffering an injury?

After suffering an injury the first thing you should do is to seek medical assistance. Even minor accidents can cause serious injuries. Once you have done that, the next thing you should do is to contact a personal injury lawyer. Explaining the situation to them and taking action quickly is crucial to gathering evidence that can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. At Greenberg & Stein P.C., you will find attorneys with vast experience in accident claims. If you want to get the greatest legal advice in New York, do not hesitate to contact us. Call us at 212-681-2535 to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers to review your case. 

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