There’s so much to worry about when you’ve suffered severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Whether you’ve crashed with a reckless driver, received substandard care from a surgeon, or had a slip and fall accident due to unsafe conditions, the consequences will often be dire.
After getting seriously injured, Brooklyn residents can struggle with an overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial burden. Some injuries are so debilitating that it’s impossible to recover fully, leaving victims with a reduced quality of life, ongoing medical costs, and difficulty earning a living.
If you’re dealing with medical bills and other damages due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve restitution from the individual or business responsible. Read on to learn more about common types of injuries Brooklyn residents suffer and the process for pursuing fair compensation under New York State’s personal injury laws from our experienced Brooklyn personal injury lawyers.
Common Types of Injuries That Happen In Brooklyn
Severe injuries are potentially life-changing events that often require lengthy hospitalizations, a painful recovery period, and a massive disruption to the victim’s everyday life. The most common causes of severe injuries in Brooklyn include:
Car Accident Injuries
All drivers have specific responsibilities to avoid causing harm, especially while driving down Brooklyn’s busy and congested streets. Reckless driving can include speeding, violating traffic rules, using a smartphone, and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Negligent drivers are a risk to everyone else out on the road, leading to severe injuries like:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Head trauma is a common and potentially catastrophic result of getting into a high-impact crash. Even “mild” brain damage can cause serious challenges like chronic migraines. In contrast, victims of a severe traumatic brain injury will suffer overwhelming cognitive and physical limitations for the rest of their lives.
- Spinal cord injuries: In high-speed accidents, damage to the spinal cord can happen due to the shear forces involved at the point of impact. Spinal cord injuries cause lifelong disabilities, including partial or complete paralysis, and they’re also considered one of the most astronomically-expensive health problems to treat.
- Internal injuries: The physical trauma of being jostled in a forceful collision will often cause internal bleeding from damage to vital organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and spleen, leading to life-threatening complications.
- Traumatic amputation: Car accident victims can lose limbs because the crash severed the body part or it sustained too much damage to save. Beyond the physical challenges of having a lifelong disability, amputees will often face severe emotional distress from having a missing limb.
Premise Liability Injuries
Brooklyn property owners must take broad safety precautions to protect legal visitors on their property from dangerous situations.
Premises liability accidents can happen anywhere from stores to residential apartment buildings, leading to preventable injuries like:
- Dog bites: Aggressive dogs can cause horrific injuries quickly, which is why Brooklyn dog owners are liable for injuries from an unprovoked attack. Dog bites lead to nerve damage, permanent scars, life-threatening bacterial infections, and even amputation.
- Slip and fall injuries: Most walking surfaces can become unsafe if there are preventable hazards that make it likely for a slip and fall accident to unfold, such as spilled liquids, broken handrails on stairs, accumulated ice and snow, or raised areas on carpeting. Suffering a hard fall can lead to broken bones, torn ligaments, back injuries, and even head trauma.
- Physical assault from inadequate security: Violent crime is an unfortunate possibility throughout Brooklyn, especially when property owners don’t take adequate security measures as required under the law.
- Fire injuries: Brooklyn’s fire code includes essential measures to prevent fires and to give victims a fighting chance to survive. Negligent property owners that don’t comply with these standards can be held liable for fire-related injuries, including catastrophic burns, lung damage, permanent scars, and even death.
Medical Malpractice Injuries
All Brooklyn medical professionals have a legal duty to avoid harming their patients and to provide treatment according to specific, evidence-based standards.
Medical malpractice happens when they deviate from what’s considered appropriate, causing patients a wide range of serious injuries, including:
- Childbirth injuries: Negligent medical care throughout pregnancy or during birth can cause severe damage to both the mother and the baby, leading to complications like stillbirths, blood bleeding, and disorders like cerebral palsy.
- Surgical injuries: Whether operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical items inside, puncturing healthy organs, or not providing proper post-operative care, botched surgeries can result in life-threatening complications.
- Anesthesia injuries: The consequences of too much anesthesia, using the wrong drug, intubation errors, or failure to monitor the patient’s vital signs can lead to catastrophic injuries like brain damage.
Under New York State’s personal injury laws, when a business or individual causes harm to someone else, the victim has the right to pursue compensation for their damages. However, you must meet a specific threshold to hold the responsible party liable.
This requirement centers on showing that your injuries were caused by negligence rather than being caused by an unlucky accident. Brooklyn courts define negligence as any action that’s illegal, irresponsible, unethical, or otherwise unreasonably likely to cause harm. The standard for proving negligence and establishing liability has three steps.
The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care.
A duty of care is the broad, implicit responsibility to avoid causing harm. Some examples include:
- Businesses must provide their employees with a reasonably safe workplace.
- Property owners must maintain their premises to reasonable standards for tenants and customers.
- Healthcare providers must provide patients with appropriate care according to the guidelines set by medical science.
- Drivers have a duty to pedestrians and fellow motorists to follow traffic rules and avoid causing an accident.
The at-fault party’s negligence violated their duty of care.
This is essential for establishing liability is typically the most difficult to prove. It’s not enough to show that the defendant caused your injuries. An experienced Brooklyn personal injury lawyer would also have to demonstrate how the liable party’s actions were irresponsible and unreasonably dangerous.
- A negligent landlord doesn’t fix a faulty front door lock, leading to an incident of violent crime that harms their tenant.
- An intoxicated motorist drives erratically and causes a multiple-car collision.
- An anesthesiologist doesn’t read the patient’s chart, uses a drug they’re allergic to, and causes the patient severe complications.
The at-fault party’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries and resulting damages.
A successful personal injury claim has to establish a direct connection between the defendant’s negligence and the victim’s injuries, often using evidence like medical records, photos or videos, expert testimony, and witness statements. A Brooklyn personal injury lawyer would also demonstrate the extent of the victim’s damages from getting hurt, such as hospital bills, lost wages, and intangible costs like emotional distress.
5 Types of Compensation You Can Pursue In A Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you suffered severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence, your life has likely been turned upside down. Victims with catastrophic injuries have a very poor prognosis for making a full recovery, leaving them and their families coping with permanent health challenges and significant quality of life costs. New York State’s personal injury laws allow victims to financially hold negligent businesses and individuals accountable. A skilled Brooklyn attorney can help you pursue the maximum compensation for your damages, which can include:
1. Current and Future Medical Expenses
Debilitating injuries can leave their victims with crippling medical debt, especially if they require emergency surgery, an extended hospital stay, or ongoing treatments like physical therapy. A compensation claim can include reimbursement for all current and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, home health aides, prescription drugs, and mobility aids like a wheelchair.
2. Current and Future Lost Income
Brooklyn residents that get seriously injured are very likely to see their income affected, whether in the short term or long term. A personal injury claim can cover all lost wages, benefits, and commissions, as demonstrated by pay stubs, a wage verification letter from the victim’s employer, and other records.
In the case of catastrophic injuries like brain trauma, amputation, or spinal cord injuries, victims will be left with cognitive or mobility challenges that make it hard to return to work. Your economic damages should account for this permanently reduced earning capacity.
3. Non-Economic Damages
Brooklyn courts recognize that the losses that result from getting injured go far beyond measurable economic costs. Victims and their families also struggle with physical and emotional damages that are incredibly disruptive and long-lasting.
A personal injury claim can pursue compensation for these non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- The inconvenience of being disabled
- Loss of enjoyment
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- A decreased quality of life
4. Wrongful Death Damages
The most tragic Brooklyn injury cases will involve the victim’s preventable death, leaving behind grieving family members that deserve compensation for the loss of their loved one. In New York State, wrongful death damages are available for the victim’s closest relatives, such as their spouse, children, parents, or legal guardian.
This claim can pursue compensation for:
- Hospital bills incurred by the deceased
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Income the victim would have otherwise contributed to their household
- Emotional costs from a loved one’s untimely death, such as loss of companionship
5. Punitive Damages
Personal injury cases where the at-fault party’s negligence displayed extreme recklessness may receive a special category of damages. Punitive damages send a public message about the severity of the defendant’s actions.
Brooklyn courts might award punitive damages when:
- A manufacturer that actively misleads their customers about a dangerous product
- A driver that causes a fatal accident while distracted by a smartphone
- A landlord whose systematic fire code violations lead to a tragic fire
How a Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
After suffering a serious injury, victims have the option to file a lawsuit in civil court. However, most personal injury cases are resolved outside the court system, usually with the victim accepting a settlement from the at-fault party’s liability insurer. The reality of this process is that insurance companies use every possible strategy to deny that their client was negligent or to downplay the extent of the victim’s damages.
This can make pursuing fair compensation an uphill battle with stress and uncertainty. Having skilled legal representation is often the deciding factor for building a solid case and maximizing the value of the victim’s claim.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can strengthen your case by:
- Investigating the circumstances of your injury: Your lawyer’s team will interview witnesses, review all possible evidence, and consult with specialists that can substantiate the at-fault person’s negligence. For example, a car accident reconstructionist can testify about the causes of the crash.
- Document the extent of damages: A personal injury claim will include a comprehensive analysis of all the ways the victim was affected by their injuries using medical bills, employment records, personal journal entries showing the victim’s mental and emotional challenges, and reports from medical or vocational specialists explaining future consequences from the victim’s injuries
- Handling negotiations with the insurer: Negotiations with the insurer generally begin with a lowball offer that doesn’t fully cover the victim’s economic and non-economic damages. While insurance companies want to settle and avoid the case going to a court trial, their business model depends on trying to pay as little as absolutely possible. Your Brooklyn personal injury lawyer will justify their counteroffers with solid evidence and come to a fair agreement that compensates the victim for their ordeal.
- If necessary, represent your case in court: When insurers don’t play fair, or the at-fault party’s liability policy isn’t enough to cover the victim’s damages, your attorney can bring a lawsuit in civil court and argue the merits of your case before a jury.
Whether medical malpractice, a defective product, reckless driving, or a negligent landlord injured you, you have the right to pursue compensation to cover your damages. A Brooklyn personal injury lawyer can help you level the playing field against unscrupulous insurance companies and recover the resources you need to move on with your life.