How to Prove Fault in a New York Personal Injury Case

Being the victim of personal injury can be an expensive prospect in the United States.

When you’re injured in an accident, every aspect of life grinds to a halt. Injured parties often suffer the loss of wages due to an inability to work, as well as pain and suffering to go along with medical bills and legal expenses. It may be difficult to recover mentally, emotionally, and financially as you struggle to regain normalcy and control over your life.

That’s why it’s important to have a skilled NYC personal injury lawyer on your side should you be injured in an accident. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. was founded over thirty years ago and, in that time, has counseled hundreds of clients through personal injury suits. We aim to attain the highest judgment or settlement possible for our clients, so you can rest assured in our expertise during the confusing and stressful days following a personal injury. 

Here, we’ll examine a few ways to go about proving fault in a New York personal injury case. While these steps can go a long way toward solidifying your case and earning you the best possible settlement, there’s no replacement for a skillful, qualified NY personal injury lawyer in your corner.

Proving Negligent Behavior

The cornerstone of any personal injury suit is proof of negligence. Typically, in cases where personal injury occurs, negligent behavior of some sort took place on the part of the at-fault individual. Proving negligence can sometimes be difficult given the circumstances, but an experienced New York personal injury attorney can help walk you through the process and lend clarity to the proceedings.

Negligence is often the first step in a series of events resulting in personal injury, but proving causation between the initial negligence and the injury itself can be murky. The series of events typically goes something like this:

  • An individual had a duty to behave in a particular way. This can mean a lot of different things: the at-fault driver in an auto accident had a responsibility to drive Personal Injury Damagessafely and obey all laws; the at-fault landlord had a responsibility to keep his building clear of hazards; the at-fault neighbor had a responsibility to trim loose branches from their overgrown tree.
  • Said individual neglected to uphold their duty. The driver failed to look both ways and signal before merging; the landlord allowed a slippery liquid buildup to accumulate outside of the laundry room; the neighbor allowed branches from his tree to grow heavy and fall at random.
  • The individual’s failure to execute their duty resulted in an accident. The driver sideswipes your car and causes a crash; you slip and fall on the buildup outside of the laundry room; a falling branch strikes you as you’re walking down the street.
  • You were injured in that accident as a direct result of the individual’s negligence; thus, they are considered “at-fault” for your personal injury.

However, it’s often a lot more complicated than the A, B, C approach laid out above. A New York personal injury lawyer who is well-versed with the ins and outs of the state’s complicated legal code can help you find and draw the line between initial negligence and resulting injury, adding weight to your case and strengthening your odds of a favorable settlement.

Proving and Reclaiming Damages

Once you’ve proved that the accident in question was a result of the at-fault party’s negligence, you and your NY personal injury lawyer must also provide proof of damages. “Damages” in this instance refers to any loss—usually financial—incurred by the victim of the at-fault individual’s negligence due to an accident caused by said negligence. You need to provide clear, direct proof that not only did negligence cause the accident in question, but that it also directly resulted in damages for which you, the victim, ought to be reimbursed.

Take the automotive example from above. You must not only prove that the driver’s failure to look both ways and signal before merging caused the accident but, also, Comparative Negligencethat the expenses you have suffered were generated as a result of the accident. Damages in a personal injury case may include:

  • Medical expenses, including emergency services fees, hospital costs, rehabilitation services, medication, and surgery bills.
  • Permanent physical damage, such as the loss of a limb, eye, or other physical function resulting in impairment and decreased quality of life.
  • Lost wages as a result of your inability to work following your injury.
  • Damage to property, such as a vehicle, computer, cell phone, personal heirloom, or other items as a direct result of the accident.
  • Pain and suffering/mental anguish resulting in psychological and emotional impairment.

The best way to prove and reclaim damages is to provide your NYC personal injury lawyer with accurate, up to date financial information and make sure to keep good records throughout the process of your recovery.

Keep copies of all hospital bills and payments, including insurance communications and statements. Provide pay stubs and copies of any employer interactions following your inability to work which prove that the accident in question kept you from earning full wages. Have a friend or loved one photograph each step of your rehabilitation in order to illustrate the difficulty and suffering inherent in recovery from the accident.

Armed with this information and a clear paper trail detailing your financial losses and medical expenses following your injury, a New York personal injury lawyer from The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help fight for your rights and get you the settlement you deserve. The longer you wait to consult an attorney following an accident, the less of a chance you have for full reclamation of damages.

Comparative Negligence

New York State’s comparative negligence clause enters the equation when you, the plaintiff, share some element of fault for the accident in which you were injured. Per the clause, individuals who are injured in an accident and are partly responsible are still entitled to compensation for damages from the other guilty party. In instances such as these, having a deft and skillful NY personal injury lawyer on your team is absolutely crucial, since settlements are decided by establishing percentages of responsibility and negligence.

Just because you are partially at fault doesn’t mean that the other at-fault party is off the hook for damages. If it is determined that their fault is substantially greater than yours, you still stand to receive a significant award in the judgment.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. – Your Personal Injury Team

When your financial well-being and continuing medical recovery are on the line, it’s important to have a lawyer who pays personal attention to your case. You need reassurance and the peace of mind that your legal team is doing everything they can to produce the best results possible, especially since the weeks and months following a personal injury can be stressful and confusing.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has been serving New York personal injury clients for three decades. Our skilled and experienced attorneys succeed by working closely with clients and protecting their interests to the full extent of the law. We’re here to help you understand the complexities and dizzying red tape of the New York State legal system and to provide you with a soothing element of calm and professionalism during your difficult time.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, time is of the essence. We provide free consultation for personal injury cases because we believe in our ability to create favorable results in court and aim to provide accessible counsel for injured persons in New York. Don’t wait; contact a New York personal injury lawyer from The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. today and begin the process of putting your life back together.