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Originally Posted On: https://www.accidenthelpzone.com/new-york-personal-injury-guide/
If you have been the victim of a personal injury in New York, you likely have many questions. After the initial shock wears off, the next steps can seem confusing and daunting. There are many factors involved in an accident, and it is essential to be informed.
Sometimes the information regarding a personal injury process can be complex and overwhelming; that’s why we’ve created a simple-to-understand and easy-to-follow guide to provide information to those who may find themselves involved in an accident. Keep reading our New York Personal Injury Guide to get real answers to common questions that our readers are asking.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a claim brought against someone whose negligence caused your harm. Common examples include vehicle accidents, slip and fall cases, dog bites, and medical malpractice.
Typically, the standard for a personal injury claim is a breach of a duty of reasonable care, which is defined as the care a reasonable person would take under the circumstances that lead to injury.
Personal injury claims are numerous, as there are millions of injuries every year. A personal injury claim will detail a victim’s claims against someone and the damages they are demanding.
These cases often involve a lengthy legal process in addition to any recovery from injury. Many of these cases end in settlement, while others end up going to trial before a jury.
What Is Covered in New York under Personal Injury Protection
When pursuing a personal injury claim, one of the biggest factors people look to is damages.
What is covered in New York’s personal injury protection? Damages are compensation for economic and non-economic harm incurred from a personal injury. Although damages vary on a case-by-case basis, there are a few general categories of damages that are common to most personal injury claims:
- Medical expenses. Any past and future medical expenses you incur from an accident, including bills from hospitalization, doctor’s visits, ambulance rides, or physical therapy is recoverable in a personal injury case.
- Lost wages. Past and future lost wages can be recovered if your injury causes you to miss work or affects your ability to work in the future. Past wages can be calculated based on the amount of work missed, whereas future wages are typically calculated based on the income you would earn in the future if you had not been injured.
- Property damage. If you are involved in a vehicle accident or suffer damage to other property because of someone’s negligence, the expenses to repair or replace the property will likely make up a part of your claim. This can vary based on insurance coverage and whether there is a policy in place to cover the damage, but personal injury attorneys often negotiate with insurance companies in these cases as well to make sure their clients get fair compensation.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. If you incur expenses for prescriptions, arm slings, or other out-of-pocket costs from your injury, you can claim these as part of your damages.
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are a type of non-economic damages, which means they are not meant to compensate you for economic losses, but rather for the physical and mental anguish suffered from your accident. Pain and suffering typically account for the very large damages awards in some personal injury cases, as pain and suffering are not tied to certain expenses. Other types of non-economic damages include wrongful death and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages, rather than compensating someone for harm, are a category of damages meant to punish a defendant for egregious conduct. These are reserved for conduct that deserves to be punished. Some examples include fraudulent behavior or sexual assault crimes.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?
Many of our readers are asking, “What is the statute on filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York State?”
You have three years (3 years) from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in New York State.
How to Handle a Personal Injury Case in New York: Should I Hire an Attorney?
We get this question a lot, “How to handle personal injury New York, should I hire an attorney?” It is natural to wonder whether hiring an attorney is worth the expense.
However, a personal injury attorney has a knowledge of the law and experience with similar cases that will help to build the best case for your circumstances.
Attorneys know the correct documents to file, how to navigate the court system, the best negotiation tactics for dealing with other parties and insurance companies, and how the law can be used in your favor.
Additionally, many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning their fees are paid for by a percentage of any settlement or damages amount you receive.
Since these attorneys do not get paid unless you are successful at receiving compensation, they are often motivated to work extremely hard to make sure you get what you deserve.
Will My Case Go to Court?
It is not uncommon for personal injury cases to result in settlement offers that negate the need to go to trial. Many times, the attorneys for each side can negotiate amongst themselves to come to a settlement amount that works for everyone.
However, sometimes, a party is unwilling to budge or believes they will fare better in court.
A skilled personal injury attorney will not only be able to negotiate a fair settlement with willing parties but is also prepared to fight your case in court if you are unhappy with what is offered.
In some cases, people receive much more in damages than they would in a settlement because a jury can be especially sympathetic to victims and willing to award higher amounts.
What is the Average Personal Injury Settlement?
The most frequently asked question most personal injury attorneys are asked is how much a claimant’s case is worth. “What is the average settlement for whiplash or back injury?” is one of the most common questions that come up.
Each personal injury case and claimant is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all method for determining how much the case is worth. Even two people with similar injuries can result in different recoveries depending on their unique situation.
Many factors can influence a settlement or damages award, such as:
- The severity of your injuries.
- Whether you are unable to work.
- Insurance policy limits.
- Whether a defendant’s behavior was particularly heinous.
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or wrongful death.
- How your injuries affect your daily activities.
- Whether your accident worsened a pre-existing condition or injury,
The above are just a few factors to consider when calculating the worth of a personal injury case. Many other factors can affect the settlement amount in a case. Consulting with your attorney will give you an idea of what kind of damages and settlement amount is realistic or recoverable for your specific situation.
Will Partial Fault Hurt My Personal Injury Claim?
In some cases, an injured party may be partially at fault for his or her injury. This occurs when his or her negligence contributed in some way to the injury.
For example, a speeding car that strikes a pedestrian may be held at fault, but if the pedestrian failed to look both ways before crossing the street, that can constitute a partial fault.
Luckily, a partial fault is usually not a bar to a personal liability claim. Most jurisdictions calculate damages and then reduce damages by the percentage of fault attributed to the victim.
For example, in the case of a speeding automobile, if the pedestrian is determined to be 20% at fault and the damages are $500,000, the damages award will be reduced by $100,000, and the victim will receive $400,000.
Can I Represent Myself in Court?
In any case, you have the right to represent yourself. However, it could make things difficult.
There are different standards for pro se litigants than for attorneys representing clients, but representing yourself still requires some knowledge of the law, the legal process, the documents to be filed, and other factors in the claims process.
Although it is not impossible, representing yourself can also reduce your settlement or damages award significantly.
While personal injury attorneys are experienced in negotiation and trial tactics and have established relationships with opposing parties, it may be hard to go against a defense attorney or insurance company on your own.
It can be overwhelming to try and get a fair amount, especially if you are unsure of how much you could reasonably obtain from a court or what a fair settlement amount looks like.
If you are determined to represent yourself, it is helpful to look at the relevant statutes, case law, and types of documentation you will need to file. You can also consult with free legal aid companies to get legal advice or consult about representing yourself.
How Soon Should I Seek Medical Care After An Accident?
After an accident, you should immediately see medical attention.
Even if your injuries seem minor or you do not notice any pain, some injuries can be hidden, and it may take some time for injuries to manifest.
Allow the paramedics to examine you at the scene and transport you to the hospital if necessary.
After the accident, visit a doctor to examine you as soon as possible.
A doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, the accident, and any pain or injuries you are experiencing. Using this information, the doctor will make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan.
Sometimes, an accident doctor may refer you to a medical specialist if your injuries are specific in nature or if you require further examination. This may include making an appointment with an orthopedist, neurologist, pain management doctor, chiropractor, or a physiatrist.
Additionally, part of your treatment plan may include physical therapy with other specialists. It is important to continue to see your doctor as scheduled so that he or she can keep an eye on your injuries and notate any developments.
Continuing medical care until you are cleared by your doctor to discontinue treatment will ensure that you recover as best as possible.
How To Find The Best Personal Injury Doctor After an Accident
Choosing a healthcare provider for medical care after you are injured is an important decision. You should take the utmost care in selecting a physician who will meet your needs during your recovery process.
If you have a physician who you know and trust to treat you, you can visit him or her to treat your injuries and make a diagnosis and treatment plan.
You can also select a doctor who has a history of treating personal injury patients.
These doctors are attuned to the types of injuries personal injury patients commonly experience and are experienced with navigating any insurance or legal questions that may be a part of treating this kind of patient.
In addition, you can follow a few steps to make sure you choose the right accident doctor for you:
- Check patient reviews and ratings.
- Ask your family and friends if there is anyone they recommend.
- Check how long a doctor has been practicing.
- Ask if a doctor has any experience treating personal injury patients.
We’ve put together a list of the best New York personal injury doctors near you.
What To Tell a Doctor After an Accident
When seeing a doctor, you will be asked questions about your medical history, including any past injuries or health conditions.
Your accident doctor will also ask about any symptoms or pain you have and the circumstances of the accident.
While it may be tempting to play up your pain or to hide certain parts of your medical history, this is never a good idea. Not only is this information vital to helping you obtain the treatment you need, but many doctors are also trained to spot this kind of behavior.
If an injury doctor notes in his or her medical records that he or she thinks you are dishonest or not forthcoming, this could play against you in your personal injury claim by casting you as unreliable and untrustworthy.
Always be as honest and upfront as possible with your doctor.
Do I Have to Attend an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
It is common for defense teams and insurance companies to request that a personal injury plaintiff attend an Independent Medical Examination (IME).
An IME is a medical examination by an “independent” medical practitioner of the defense or insurance company’s choosing who will evaluate you to form an opinion of his or her own.
These examinations can be used to dispute the existence or severity of a plaintiff’s injury as an attempt to deny a claim or reduce damages.
Many plaintiffs wonder whether they must attend an IME if it may give the defense a basis to argue against their claim.
If you are filing a claim with an insurance company, failing to attend an IME may serve as a basis to deny your claim or terminate benefits.
Additionally, a judge may order you to attend as part of the discovery process in personal injury litigation.
If you are unsure about whether you are obligated to attend an IME and whether you should consult with your personal injury attorney.
Who Pays Medical Bills after an Accident?
If you are involved in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, that person is likely liable for all your medical expenses. That’s why its important to find doctors who accept medical liens.
A medical lien is a right of a doctor or another healthcare professional to collect payment for medical treatment provided to patients from their personal injury settlements. What this means is that the doctor will treat you and wait to collect his or her fees from your personal injury case settlements.
It is important to keep all invoices and statements related to medical expenses so that your attorney can factor them in when calculating damages.
After a settlement or damages award is received, your attorney will use those funds to pay any outstanding medical bills.
You may opt to use your own medical insurance coverage to cover medical bills while litigation is pending.
However, it is essential to note that if you receive a settlement, many insurance companies will then request reimbursement for the expenses they covered.
In some instances, medical providers have even refunded an insurance company in hopes of recovering the full cost of medical costs from the settlement amount.
Can I Get a Second Opinion?
Sometimes, you’re just not happy with the treatment you’ve been provided. You may wonder if you have any options in that situation. Are you able to change doctors if you are unhappy with your current doctor?
Thankfully, you can usually get a second opinion if you feel that you need someone else to evaluate your injuries. If you are subject to insurance coverage, you may need to see a doctor who is within the insurance company’s provider network. However, typically you only have to wait 30 days before you can switch to a doctor of your choice. In cases where an insurance company does not constrain you, you can change doctors as many times as you want.
Keep in mind, however, that a defense team may use seeing multiple doctors against you, attempting to claim that you are shopping around for an opinion that suits your case
However, you are entirely within your rights to seek out second or even third opinions about your health.
When dealing with your health, it is important to take it seriously and getting as much information as possible to help get a full picture to make the best choices you can make for your recovery.
What Should I Do After an Auto Accident in New York?
If you have ever been involved in a vehicle accident, you were probably in shock and unsure of what to do.
This situation can be overwhelming. However, there are a few general steps you can follow after a vehicle accident to help you with any future claim:
- Call the police.
- File a claim with your insurance company.
- Take pictures of any damage and the scene of the accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including insurance information, names, phone numbers, and information about the other vehicle.
- Make plans to obtain a copy of the police report.
- Seek medical attention.
- Consult with a personal injury attorney.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you maximize the success of any potential claim you have.
Although some of these steps may seem simple, they can make all the difference between a fair recovery and a less-than-stellar outcome.
Who is Responsible for Property Damage to My Vehicle?
After a vehicle accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company is typically responsible for the costs of repairing any property damage.
The party not at fault’s insurance company will seek reimbursement for any expenses paid on behalf of its insured and will reimburse any deductible paid.
If a party is uninsured, he or she may be responsible for paying any costs out-of-pocket, unless the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage.
In New York, no-fault coverage is a type of coverage that gives coverage of up to $50,000 in medical expenses and up to $25,000 in lost wages, regardless of who is at fault.
The caveat with no-fault insurance is that it does not cover property damage. This means the not-at-fault driver must look to the at-fault party for coverage.
If the not-at-fault party does not have insurance, he or she may choose to bring a lawsuit against the other party or their insurance company.
In New York, MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation) covers bodily injury & no-fault medical bills if you hit by an uninsured driver and do have your own coverage. Click here to see if you qualify for MVAIC coverage.
How to Claim Compensation for a Dog Bite in New York?
Many of our readers are asking, “How To File A Dog Bite Claim in New York?” Dog bites result in thousands of injuries per year; some of them result in serious injuries.
A dog bite injury is a type of personal injury claim that someone can pursue against the owner of a dog who bit them.
New York’s dog bite law is a mixture of the “one-bite” rule and a small degree of strict liability. To be liable under the dog bite statute, the dog must have a dangerous tendency to bite others, and the owner must know about it.
The owner’s negligence is not sufficient to hold a dog owner liable under New York law.
If you have been bitten by a dog and sustained injuries, a personal injury attorney can determine whether you can bring a claim against the dog’s owner and what kind of compensation you would be entitled to.
What Happens if You Get Injured at a Business?
Slip and fall injuries make up a large percentage of personal injury cases.
Some businesses, such as grocery stores or buildings under construction, can often house dangerous conditions that lead to injury.
If you slip and fall or otherwise injure yourself on a business’s premises, the company is liable if its negligence — either through the operations of the business or the business’s employees — leads to injury.
For example, if there is a spill on the floor at a grocery store, the store may be liable if a condition at the store caused the spill, such as a faulty water mister in the produce section.
Another liability situation is present if a customer spilled something on the floor, and it remains there for a long time without being cleaned.
Product liability is another type of claim that victims can file if a company’s product injures them. Whether the product is defectively-manufactured or someone gets sick from eating a restaurant’s food, a business will usually be held responsible.
With product liability, anyone in the chain of selling the product can be held liable, regardless of their fault.
For example, if you are injured by a defectively-manufactured product that you bought at a grocery store, the grocery store can be held liable, even though the defect occurred at the point of manufacture.
What if I Had an Accident in My Company Car
An accident involving a company automobile can be very similar to other types of accidents, but the involvement of a company vehicle can make some important differences.
A company is liable for its employees’ negligence if the employee was acting in the course of his or her employment at the time of the accident or injury. For example, a driver who is on his way to make a delivery when he is involved in an accident is considered to be acting within the scope of his employment, and the company assumes liability.
Most companies that use company vehicles carry commercial vehicle insurance, which will cover the cost of damage or medical expenses if the company driver is at fault. Some insurance policies may also cover an employee’s injuries as well.
However, if the driver was not acting within the course of their employment — for example, if the delivery driver was not on a delivery route or doing any other work-related activity — the company’s commercial vehicle insurance will likely not cover the incident. In this case, the driver may be the one responsible.
If you are involved in an accident with a company vehicle, it is important to consult an attorney for legal advice.
These types of claims can be tricky, especially when dealing with large companies and their insurance carriers. A personal injury attorney can advise you of your options and help you pursue a claim against the correct parties.
What Does Personal Injury Cover on a Homeowners’ Policy
If someone is injured on your property, you may worry about being held responsible for their injuries. As a homeowner, you likely have a homeowners’ insurance policy. Some of these policies can be quite robust and extend to injuries incurred on your property.
However, not all homeowners’ policies provide this type of coverage, which can leave you vulnerable if someone is injured at your home.
If someone has been injured at your home, an attorney can help you determine whether you are covered and what steps you can take.
Injured? Visit Top Personal Injury Doctors Near You
After a personal injury, proper diagnosis and expert treatment from a trusted physician is imperative to your recovery.
Physicians list in our directory have a long history of working with personal injury victims, and we have an upstanding reputation for doing right by our patients. They will evaluate and diagnose you with expert precision, and develop a treatment plan to get you healed as quickly as possible.
Click here to find the best personal injury doctors near you.