Suffering a personal injury is almost inevitable at some time in a person’s life. Home entryways and stoops get slippery in winter, stairway handrails become loose, pedestrians jaywalk, cyclists zip through traffic and across sidewalks, and drivers are sometimes reckless.
That’s why the Empire State has enacted laws that help people recover from personal injuries. New York Law allows for the recovery of medical expenses, lost wages, burial costs, pain and suffering, and other amounts relating to personal injuries and the conduct of other involved parties. Littman and Babiarz, personal injury lawyers serving Syracuse, Auburn, Ithaca, and Elmira New York, can provide more information about how NY laws apply to your particular case.
The Basics of Personal Injury Law in New York
A personal injury is the injury suffered to body, mind, or emotions because of another party’s negligence or intentional bad conduct. Also referred to as Tort Law, from the Latin word ‘tort,’ meaning harm or wrong, Personal Injury Law covers harm incurred by the following types of incidents.
- Auto Accidents – The most frequent cause of personal injuries is automobile accidents. Common injuries include TBIs, spinal injuries, back injuries, broken bones, nerve damage, lacerations, whiplash, and sprains.
- Workplace Accidents – In New York, Worker’s Compensation covers medical care and wage replacement for workers who become injured or ill because of their jobs. Common injuries are falls, crushing incidents, machinery accidents, and exposure to hazardous materials.
- Premises Liability – You may sustain an injury on someone else’s property, or a guest may sustain an injury on yours. Common injuries include falls, drowning, dog bites, and burns or lacerations.
- Products Liability – Some consumer products unfortunately prove to be unsafe. Common injuries include sickness, burns, poisoning, and even long-term illnesses like cancer.
Under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 214, plaintiffs have three years from the date of the personal injury accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. In the event of an untimely death, plaintiffs have two years to pursue a wrongful death claim.
No-Fault Insurance and the Serious Injury Threshold
New York is a no-fault state, meaning that automobile insurance companies are required to provide compensation to their clients who become injured in an auto accident, no matter who is at fault. This compensation covers medical bills and certain other economic losses. Under NY law, an injured party may file a personal injury claim against another involved driver or party if their claim meets the “serious injury” threshold in New York.
Article 51 of the Insurance Law “provides that a plaintiff in a personal injury action arising out of negligence in the use or operation of a motor vehicle must establish that he/she has incurred a basic economic loss exceeding $50,000 or must establish that he/she has suffered ‘serious injury.’” Insurance Law § 5104(a), (b).
‘Serious injury’ is defined as personal injury that results in one or more of the following:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- 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.
If a plaintiff incurs qualifying injuries, they can pursue compensation for losses, including pain and suffering and other non-economic losses that are not available in a no-fault insurance claim. Of course, these laws can be confusing, which is why you need the professional services of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Syracuse, Auburn, Ithaca, and Elmira
Littman and Babiarz, personal injury lawyers in Syracuse, Auburn, Ithaca, and Elmira, have the experience and training you need when you suffer a personal injury in Central New York. We offer a free initial consultation to review your claim. During this meeting, we can explain the litigation process to you and share more about how we can help you get the benefits, compensation, and medical treatment you need and deserve. Call us today at 607-277-7527 or complete our online contact form.