Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
A car accident can be a life-changing event. You may suffer a great deal of pain from your injuries. You may also need extensive medical treatment and miss time from work. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses if you are involved in a car accident. But first, you must take a few steps before starting a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible for your losses.
First, you should know that New York is a No-Fault State so every vehicle registered must carry No-Fault insurance. Regardless of who is responsible for the accident, the No-Fault insurance carrier will pay for the "basic economic loss" of anyone covered by the policy. Generally, the insurance law defines basic economic loss as up to $50,000 of medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses, with individual monetary limits on each category. However, motorists may purchase additional coverage. A vehicle's No-Fault policy will cover the driver, the passengers, and pedestrians or bicyclists who collide with the car. Injured parties must file the No-Fault claim within 30 days of the date of the accident, with few exceptions. The next step is to start a claim against the responsible party for all the damages you suffered due to their negligence. You may recover an award from the negligent party for your economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
The insurance law requires you to prove that you suffered economic loss in excess of your basic economic loss to recover for additional economic damages from the tortfeasor. Suppose No-Fault benefits cover you and your medical bills, loss of wages, and out-of-pocket expenses not exceeding $50,000. In that case, you cannot recover economic damages from the negligent party. One of the purposes of the insurance law is to reduce the number of lawsuits arising from car accidents.
You must prove that you suffered a "serious injury" to be awarded non-economic damages. This requirement is another way the insurance law limits the number of lawsuits arising from car accidents. Insurance Law §5102(d) states: "Serious injury" means a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which 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 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment." Although some of the definitions of a serious injury in the insurance law are straightforward, others are not. Only an experienced attorney who understands the insurance law and how the courts interpret it can help you recover the exemplary award for your injuries.
The New York State Labor Laws place strict rules on owners and contractors to prevent workers from injury. One of the most familiar statutes is Labor Law Section 240(1), the Scaffold Law. This law imposes strict liability on owners and general contractors who need to provide safe scaffolding or other safety devices for workers at elevated heights.
Strict liability means that all you have to prove for the owner and general contractor to be liable is that they violated the statute and that you were injured in a matter that the law protects you from. For example, if you fall from a scaffold or an object falls on you from a height, you do not need to prove anything else to win your case. It does not matter if you contributed to the accident or were negligent. Further, an owner or general contractor cannot avoid responsibility if a subcontractor is supposed to implement the safety measures. The owner and general contractor will still be liable for the accident.
Other essential statutes are Labor Law Section 200, which imposes a general duty on owners and contractors to maintain a safe work site, and Labor Law Section 241, which outlines specific actions imposed on owners and contractors and the requirements to provide specific safety equipment to the workers.
Many dangerous conditions can cause someone to fall and get seriously hurt. Many falls are caused by ice and snow or other slippery surfaces, as well as by tripping hazards, unsafe staircases, or other dangerous conditions.
A tripping hazard may exist on sidewalks, parking lots, walkways, driveways, or any other surface that people walk on.
A key element in slip and fall or trip and fall cases is proving that the defendant either created the dangerous condition or had notice that it existed. Notice can be established in two ways: actual notice or constructive notice. Actual notice is when the defendant knew that the dangerous condition existed. Constructive notice is when the defendant should have known the dangerous condition existed because of the length of time that it existed.
It should be noted that for cases against the City of New York, it must be proven that the City had prior written notice of the dangerous condition. Actual notice or constructive alone is not enough to hold the City liable for a dangerous condition on its property.
People are often arrested even though they are 100% innocent. The police sometimes stop the wrong person or simply arrest someone without justification. The innocent person has to face incarceration and go through the system when they did nothing wrong. If the police did not have probable cause to arrest you, you may have a claim for false arrest and malicious prosecution. If the police used excessive force against you, you may have a claim for police brutality.
Motorcyclists face many dangers on the road. Drivers are often distracted and make dangerous mistakes that cause severe injuries and even fatalities. Furthermore, the No-Fault law does not cover motorcycles, meaning that motorcyclists do not receive No benefits like those involved in other car accidents. This means that none of the motorcyclist’s medical bills, lost wages, or out-of-pocket expenses are covered by No-Fault insurance. The motorcyclist may have no other recourse but to go after the driver for his economic losses. The upside is that since No-Fault insurance does not cover motorcyclists, they are not limited by the No-Fault law and may sue for economic and non-economic damages without meeting the No-Fault thresholds. This makes it much easier for motorcyclists to recover damages such as monetary losses and pain and suffering.
Suppose you are injured because of a dangerous condition on or abutting a property. In that case, the owner or any other person in control or possession of the parcel may be liable.
For example, you may be caused to slip and suffer injuries due to the negligence of a property owner who did not remove ice or snow from the sidewalk in front of the property. Generally, in sidewalk cases involving falls caused by ice or snow, the property owner has 4 hours from when the storm ended to clean up the snow and ice.
Furthermore, New York City Administrative Code §7-210 imposes a duty on property owners to maintain sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition. This means that the property owner will be liable to anyone injured by a defective condition on the sidewalk, including tripping hazards on uneven sidewalk flags. It should be noted that there is an exception to this rule for one-family, two-family, and three-family houses that are used exclusively for residential purposes and are wholly or partially owner-occupied.
A motor vehicle accident involving a truck can result in serious injuries. The crash may result from the negligence of the truck driver in the operation or from the failure in the maintenance and inspection of the truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the government agency responsible for regulating and overseeing the safety of commercial motor vehicles. One of the FMCSA’s regulations, 49 CFR § 396.3, outlines the duties imposed on every motor carrier to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles under the motor carrier’s control.
Many trucking accidents involve semi-trailer trucks, also known as semi-trucks or tractor-trailers. These types of trucks have two parts: the tractor, which contains the engine, also known as the cab, and the trailer in the rear, which carries the cargo. These trucks are often used to haul large freights on the highways. The driver sits in the cab and operates the semi-trailer truck by driving the cab and towing the trailer. Since the driver is hauling a trailer with a giant load behind them, their on-road decision-making and alertness are crucial to avoiding crashes. The driver must be extra careful in passing other motor vehicles on the road, switching lanes, braking on time to avoid collisions, etc.
Accidents involving semi-trailer trucks also usually involve much smaller vehicles. The driver of the semi-tractor truck may not even realize that they were involved in an accident due to the size and weight of the truck. On the other hand, a much smaller vehicle that comes into contact with a semi-trailer truck may suffer a much more severe impact. That is why it is essential to download the data from the event data recorder (EDR), also known as the Blackbox, of the vehicle impacted by the truck. The data from the EDR will include the delta-v, which is the change in velocity upon impact. The delta-v will tell us how severe the impact was because it will show how the vehicle's motion changed in speed and direction due to the crash.
A person injured at work cannot sue their employer for damages related to the accident except in limited circumstances, such as intentional torts or grave injuries. Generally, the worker will instead file for worker’s compensation benefits. The employer must be notified of the accident within 30 days from the date of injury, and the employee must file a worker’s compensation claim within two years.
Worker’s compensation benefits will cover 2/3 of the worker’s weekly pay subject to the weekly maximum that is in effect at the time of the accident. Additionally, worker’s compensation benefits will pay the medical expenses related to the work injury according to the worker’s compensation guidelines.
After the worker has reached their maximum medical improvement, they may be entitled to a lump sum or continued weekly payments for some time if they are totally or partially disabled permanently. This includes compensation for the total or partial loss of use of a body part.
Just because an injured worker cannot sue the employer in most cases does not mean they cannot sue a third party responsible for the accident. Often, a worker will claim worker’s compensation benefits and sue a third party for negligence.
A wrongful death claim arises when someone dies due to the conduct of another. The conduct must have been negligent, reckless, or intentional. Typical examples are deaths from auto accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, or intentional acts. The surviving family members may be able to recover an award for their financial losses resulting from the decedent's death. These losses may include funeral and medical expenses paid for by the survivors for the decedent as well as for the financial support that the decedent would have provided them had the decedent survived.
The survivors may also recover an award for the loss of services and care they would have received from the decedent. The surviving family members cannot start a wrongful death claim directly. Only the personal representative of the decedent's estate may start a wrongful death claim. The damages recovered by the Estate will then be distributed appropriately to those entitled to them. The Estate may also recover damages for conscious pain and suffering if the decedent did not immediately perish from the injuries that caused their death. However, the decedent must have suffered from the injuries while they remained alive. If the decedent was unconscious or otherwise unaware of the injuries they sustained, the Estate cannot recover damages for conscious pain and suffering.