When you sustain an injury that was not your fault, there is a good chance that you are entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault party. In order to qualify, you must be able to establish the elements that we discuss below, and you must take action before the statute of limitations (time limit) runs out on your case. To see if you qualify, call our personal injury lawyer in Hicksville, NY at Goldstein & Bashner for a free consultation: 516-222-4000.
Do I have a valid personal injury case?
Not every injury constitutes a personal injury case. If you caused your own injury or if you sustained injury in a natural disaster, you probably will have to turn to your own health and disability insurance for help paying for your needs. Similarly, if your injury occurred at work, then you will probably file for workers’ compensation benefits, rather than a file a personal injury claim.
In order to have a valid personal injury claim, the following four elements must be true in your case:
- Duty of care: The party that caused your injury (defendant) owed you a duty of care. Duty of care refers to the legal duty people have to act reasonably so as not to harm others. For example, doctors owe their patients a duty of care, just as product manufacturers owe consumers a duty of care.
- Breach of duty: The defendant must have breached his duty of care, i.e., acted in a negligent manner. Negligence takes many forms. For example, it could be that a doctor failed to follow diagnostic protocols, or a product manufacturer put a dangerous or defective product on the market.
- Causation: The defendant’s negligence must have caused your injuries. If the defendant was negligent, but your injury was the result of something else, then you cannot prove causation. There must be a direct link between the defendant’s actions and your injury.
- Damages: Lastly, you must have sustained actual harm to file a personal injury case. If the defendant was negligent, but you were not hurt, then there is no just cause to file a claim. You must be able to demonstrate your losses — be they physical, financial, or emotional — using valid evidence.
Of course, you will need to have proof to support your case. The specific types of evidence you need depends on the nature of your case. It could mean medical records, eyewitness reports, photographs and video, expert testimony, accident reports (for Nassau and Suffolk counties here), maintenance records, amongst many other items.
When you work with Goldstein & Bashner, your attorney will determine which types of evidence would be most beneficial for your particular injury and then help you collect the items as he builds your case.
What are some common types of personal injury claims?
An injury can happen to anyone, at any time, in any setting. Some of the most common types of personal injury claims we have handled at Goldstein & Bashner include the following:
- Auto accidents
- Airplane, bus, boat, and train accidents
- Injuries from defective products or dangerous medicines
- Slip and fall accidents
- Injuries from falling structures, objects, or merchandise
- Acts of violence
- Injuries at public events or on public grounds
- Dog attacks
- Injuries from medical mistakes
- Fire-related injuries
- Swimming pool accidents
- Injuries at work caused by third parties
How long do I have to file a personal injury case in New York?
There is a time limit on when you may take legal action after an injury. N.Y. Civil Practice Law & Rules § 214 states that the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in New York is three years. The clock starts ticking the day you were injured or the day you discovered or should have reasonably discovered your injury, whichever comes later. If you do not file your claim or suit by the deadline, you lose your rights to recover compensation.
There are two important things to keep in mind about these statutes:
- The time limit differs for minors and in cases against a government entity. And sometimes determining the actual deadline can be tricky when your condition did not manifest right away. Speak to an attorney from Goldstein & Bashner about your actual deadline.
- The law allows you a generous time limit of three years to take legal action, but by no means should you wait that long. The sooner you take action, the better able you will be to collect the evidence you need and the faster you can receive your money. Plus, you might experience unpreventable delays in your case and you do not want to inadvertently overstep the time limit. Get on the ball straightaway to preserve your case.
Which damages are compensable with a personal injury case?
The aim of personal injury damage awards is to “make the victim whole again,” which means that they mean to bring you back into the same position as if you had never been injured by the defendant’s negligence. As such, if you have a valid personal injury case, nearly all of the monetary and non-monetary losses you sustain are compensable.
You might be able to recover three categories of damages:
- Special damages: These are the actual economic losses you sustain that are quantifiable using things such as bills and receipts. They include things such as your medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, the cost of hiring help during your recovery, and other miscellaneous expenses related to your injury.
- General damages: General or emotional damages are the non-monetary, intangible harms you sustain. They compensate you for things such as pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, distress, and mental anguish.
- Punitive damages: The courts only award punitive or exemplary damages to victims in cases where the defendant’s negligence was particularly reckless or when it was wanton, such as in a drunk driving accident or an act of violence. These damage awards punish the defendant for and prevent future misconduct.
I want to seek compensation for my injury. Where do I start?
The first thing you will want to do before taking any legal action is to have one of our personal injury attorneys evaluate your case. We can review the facts of the case, determine liability, and then explain your options in a clear, no-nonsense manner. Our qualified, caring team is able to assist you with all aspects your personal injury case, from investigation to litigation, and everything in between.
Also, we work on a contingency basis (i.e., we do not charge you unless we win your case) so your never have any out-of-pocket expenses. Goldstein & Bashner attorneys are passionate about recovering damages for injured New Yorkers and helping them in their times of need; it is our aim to help you quickly obtain the money you are entitled to so that you can focus on your healing and get on with your life.
Call a personal injury lawyer in Hicksville, NY today at 516-222-4000 to schedule a free consultation, and let us help you and your family get the justice and funds you deserve.