If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you would likely benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney. Tort law allows victims to recover their losses from physical and emotional injuries. The first step is to identify the type of accident and who is responsible for the damages. Your attorney can help and walk you through the legal process.
How Does a Personal Injury Claim Work?
When you sustain an injury caused by someone else, you essentially have two options: file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurer or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In New York, if your injuries result from an auto accident, you may only need to file a claim through your no-fault auto insurance policy. The central element of any personal injury claim is typically negligence, and the law requires the claimant or plaintiff to prove the other party’s negligence to hold them responsible for damages.
There are four necessary elements to prove negligence. Regardless of the type of accident, you must provide sufficient evidence of each for the court to accept your claim:
- Duty of care. Did the other party owe you a duty of care? For example, in a car accident case, all drivers are responsible for following road laws and acting reasonably on the road. Duty of care is an obligation to adhere to legal regulations and standards in a given situation.
- Violation of the duty of care. Did they breach their duty of care in your accident? For example, speeding, driving while intoxicated, or running a red light would constitute a breach in a car accident case.
- Accident causation. Did the violation of their duty of care cause the accident? For example, running a red light and hitting your vehicle at an intersection would be sufficient to show causation.
- Damages. Did you suffer any losses as a result of the accident? For example, if the crash resulted in injuries and property damage, your damages would be medical bills and the cost to repair your vehicle.
Note that without damages, you have no legal claim for compensation. Tort law refers to losses from a personal injury case as compensatory damages, and the purpose of filing a claim or lawsuit is to recover what was lost. Additionally, the amount and kinds of damages available to you depend on the type of accident.
What Are the Common Personal Injury Cases?
Personal injury attorneys often specialize in specific tort cases because there are many. However, many personal injury firms have practicing lawyers with varying specialties to ensure you have access to professionals with experience in the most common types of personal injury. Some examples of cases attorneys see regularly include:
- Auto accidents. An auto accident is a broad term to describe various collision situations with varying parties and vehicles. They may involve single-car collisions, multiple-care collisions, motorcycles, pedestrians, electric scooters, ride-share crashes, bicycles, and commercial trucks. Truck accidents are often the most devastating and may involve multiple at-fault parties.
- Slip and fall cases. Suppose you slipped and fell on someone else’s property. In that case, you could potentially sue for compensation under the concept of premises liability, which states that a property owner must keep their property reasonably safe for guests. These accidents can occur on public and private property.
- Medical malpractice. Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, aides, and healthcare facilities could all be liable if their professional negligence or substandard treatment results in a patient’s injury. Proving medical malpractice is typically challenging and requires the assistance of an attorney with experience in similar cases.
- Workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation is not always the only, or even best, option for recovering damages after a workplace accident. New York law allows you to hold some parties responsible in civil court when the circumstances permit.
- Dog attack cases. New York applies a “dangerous dog” statute to dog bite cases, meaning the owner of a dog deemed dangerous is liable for all damages if the dog injures someone.
- Product liability. Product liability laws hold the manufacturer or distributor of a defective product liable for injuries caused by their products. Like medical malpractice, these cases come with unique challenges and require the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Personal injury can also refer to psychological harm. For example, defamation is a tort and can have significant financial and emotional repercussions. Additionally, some cases involving bodily injury result from malicious intent rather than negligence. For example, you can file a lawsuit against someone through the Rochester civil court for assault while they also face charges in criminal court.
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
More often than not, you would benefit from legal representation. Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning you do not need to worry about paying upfront for their services. Typically, they only charge fees if they are able to obtain a settlement or award for you. Other advantages of having a legal representative include:
- They complete all necessary paperwork to file a claim or lawsuit.
- They investigate the accident that caused your injuries, sometimes using relative experts to help them find evidence.
- They negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement and avoid the costly trial process.
- They draft the demand letter detailing your claims of negligence and damages.
- They interview witnesses and collect the evidence needed to prove your right to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment for life.
- They protect you from making mistakes that could inhibit your ability to collect compensation or damage your negligence claim.
- They advise you throughout the legal process, so you understand what each stage means and why their actions are relevant.
- They offer friendly support during an emotionally difficult time.
Every personal injury case is different. Some have more stages and entail more work. For example, medical malpractice and product liability cases often require you to go up against a powerful company with excessive legal resources. An experienced accident attorney will know how to combat their efforts to avoid paying a fair settlement. Hesitating to schedule your free consultation only delays your ability to restore your financial status after an accident.
When Should You Contact an Attorney in Rochester?
Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. You can contact them any time in the aftermath of an accident to learn more about your legal options at no risk. The financial, physical, and emotional burdens can quickly compile, but an attorney can help you recover fair compensation faster than you would alone. You can focus your efforts on healing and let a legal expert in Rochester fight to protect your right to compensation.
At Cellino Law, we represent injury victims in New York and hold the negligent person who caused their accident responsible. We offer our knowledgeable advice and years of legal experience to build your case and present it with professionalism and compassion. In your free initial consultation, we will discuss the details of your accident and help you understand the legal options available to pursue compensation for your losses and hold the negligent person accountable. Contact our Rochester office at (585) 460-2427 or call (800) 555-5555 to schedule your free case evaluation. We are ready to start helping you rebuild your life.
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