There are four elements a personal injury lawyer looks for in a case: duty, negligence, causation, and damages. The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, breached that duty in some way by behaving negligently, and caused you harm in some way.
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Understanding the Duty of Care
The first thing we must establish in a case is that the defendant owed a duty of care. In many cases, this is easily done. For example, drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws. Store owners owe a duty of care to maintain their properties. In some cases, though, it can be less straightforward, such as when someone is not expected to be in the place where the injury occurs.
Whether someone owes a duty of care often comes down to the basic rule that everyone must take reasonable care to protect the safety of others.
Proving Breach of Duty and Causation
Once our team has proven that the defendant owed you a duty of care, we must show that there was a breach of duty, or that the defendant behaved negligently. In order to do this, we often must gather evidence, including police reports, eyewitness statements, and video footage that shows what happened in the moments leading up to your personal injury.
We may even bring in experts who can recreate how the injury happened or offer testimony regarding the negligence of the at-fault party.
We also use this evidence to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injury.
Proving Damages in Your Personal Injury Claim
The last thing a personal injury lawyer looks for in a case is damages. We obtain medical records, receipts, bills, estimates, and other documentation that proves the extent of your financial losses. We use your medical records and statements from your doctors detailing the extent of your injuries and your prognosis and treatment plan to prove the extent of your injuries.
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Laws That May Impact Your Claim
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, New York’s statute of limitations generally requires you to file your claim within three years of the injury, or you forfeit your right to recover compensation. In the event that the plaintiff dies as a result of the seriousness of his or her injuries, the family is generally required to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the victim’s death.
The statute of limitations is not the only law that impacts your ability to recover compensation, though. New York’s pure comparative negligence rule may also apply.
If you file a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant may argue that you were also partially responsible for your injuries to reduce his or her degree of liability in the case. In New York, if you are found to be somewhat responsible for the injury, any awarded compensation will be reduced by your degree of liability. This law means that if you are 30% responsible for your injury, for example, the compensation you are awarded will be reduced by 30%.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a personal injury, the team at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. is here to help you explore your options to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage. For a free, no-obligation review of your case, contact us today at (631) 451-7900. We also assist clients in Spanish as well.