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Determining who is responsible in a personal injury lawsuit can be challenging. In many states, sharing fault in an accident may cause you to miss out on compensation. However, NY comparative negligence law allows injured persons to collect a portion of the judgment, even if they are primarily responsible for the incident.
Personal injury cases may involve car accidents, workplace mishaps, or falls on someone else’s property. Below, our personal injury lawyers in Queens explain how you can take advantage of this New York law. Consider your options before you decide not to file a claim after an accident.
What Are the Comparative Fault Rules?
Some people think they cannot pursue monetary compensation if they are partly responsible for their injury. However, comparative negligence laws offer a solution.
NY CPLR § 1411 states that anyone who suffers a personal injury (including an injury to property) can recover a percentage of damages, even if they share fault. Still, it is up to the court to determine how much compensation a plaintiff can recover.
Suppose a plaintiff is seeking $50,000 to cover financial losses from an injury they sustained at work. However, a jury may decide they were 50% responsible for the accident. In this case, the plaintiff may only qualify for $25,000 in recovery.
Understanding Several Liability in New York
What happens if a personal injury case involves several defendants? Joint and several liability standards hold each defendant responsible for the entire amount of damages sustained. This rule allows an injured person to seek complete compensation from one or all of the defendants.
Still, this NY comparative negligence law has its limitations. Defendants who together share less than 51% of the responsibility for an accident are only liable for non-economic damages up to their percentage of fault. In other words, it may be harder for a plaintiff to seek compensation for pain and suffering if they share significant responsibility.
How Often Are Plaintiffs Responsible for Their Injuries?
Every personal injury case is different. However, a court can hold a plaintiff responsible for their injuries if reckless behavior contributed to the accident. Let’s use a workplace fall injury as an example:
A plaintiff who falls from a defective ladder may argue that their employer is liable for their injuries because they did not provide safety equipment. However, the jury may determine that the plaintiff used the ladder carelessly, which contributed to the fall.
In this case, the defendant would share some liability for the accident. Still, the plaintiff’s behavior prevents them from seeking complete compensation.
The above example demonstrates that several factors can impact how a court views responsibility. Collecting videos, medical documents, and witness statements following an accident is imperative. This evidence helps you prove liability and pursue a higher judgment.
Other Examples of Contributory Negligence
Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries in New York. A driver who does not wear their seatbelt can suffer severe pain and financial loss following a collision. Even though it is illegal to drive without a seatbelt, NY comparative negligence laws allow these drivers to seek compensation.
Nevertheless, a court may determine that the injured person is partly liable for not wearing a seatbelt. Even if they did not cause the accident, their behavior contributed to a higher cost of damage.
It is possible for a plaintiff to file a premises liability claim against defendants who were not present during an accident. For example, suppose a person slips on someone else’s driveway. In that case, they may be able to sue the property owner for the injuries they sustained.
However, these claims come with some challenges. The property owner may try to convince a court that the fall occurred because the plaintiff did not pay attention to their surroundings. It may be hard for either party to prove liability without a thorough investigation.
Why Hire an Attorney?
While comparative negligence rules make it easier for injured persons to pursue compensation, they can also lead to complicated trials. Defendants will attempt to downplay their responsibility or shift blame on others. Without sufficient evidence, a plaintiff will struggle to prove their claims.
Partnering with a competent attorney is a great way to alleviate stress when it comes time to build your personal injury case. An accident lawyer will organize witnesses, help you collect evidence, and represent you in court.
Not all accident cases end in a trial. Your attorney may work with you to seek a settlement from liable parties. This method may be practical if you worry that a jury may find you responsible for your injuries.
Regardless of your choice, expect the process to take several months or even years to complete. Depositions, court filings, and trials require time and significant attention to detail. Your attorney will help you keep up with deadlines and ensure that you have the necessary information.
You have up to three years to file a personal injury claim in the State of New York. This window gives you plenty of time to work with a personal injury attorney to calculate losses.
Schedule a Consultation With Professional Accident Attorneys
Don’t wait for an accident to occur before you start looking for a law firm you can trust. Niyazov Law Group, P.C. represents clients in New York. Our knowledgeable attorneys have years of courtroom experience and will work tirelessly on your case.
Filing a personal injury claim can be difficult without the right help. Find out what to do after a car accident in Queens, NY, by connecting with us. Our office provides a safe and comfortable environment where you can ask any questions you have.
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Learn more about NY comparative negligence laws by calling our team at Niyazov Law Group, P.C. in Fresh Meadows, NY, at 718-865-3329 for a free consultation.