Manhattan Personal Injury Lawyer
Perhaps you’ve become injured due to a car accident. Maybe you slipped and fell at a business establishment, or perhaps you were involved in a construction accident. If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you should speak to an attorney and discuss your eligibility to recover compensation for the impacts that your injury has had on your finances and your life.
A Manhattan personal injury lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can guide you through the legal process and may provide other services as well. Read on for more information about personal injury law and the importance of having our Manhattan personal injury lawyers assist you with your case.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
This is established by demonstrating that:
- The defendant (at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (injured person). The duty of care is dependent on the facts of your case. However, a common duty of care in a car accident case would be to operate the vehicle in a safe and lawful manner. In a slip, trip, and fall case, the duty of care that a property owner would have to a guest would be to ensure that the property was safe from hazardous conditions, such as broken handrails or loose flooring.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. This breach is the action that constituted the defendant’s failure in upholding his or her duty of care to the plaintiff. For example, in the car accident scenario, the breach might be driving while intoxicated or following too closely.
- The breach in the duty of care resulted in the accident, which caused the plaintiff’s injuries and associated expenses.
In addition to legal guidance, personal injury lawyers perform services for their clients including:
- Establishing the value of the case based on the economic expenses of the injury, such as medical costs, lost wages due to being too injured to work or required to miss work for medical appointments, as well as non-economic impacts such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
- Careful examination of the case to determine all liable parties and insurance resources that may be accessed to compensate you.
- Skilled negotiation with insurance company representatives to attempt to obtain a fair settlement for you.
- Use of experts such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists to present a strong case on your behalf.
- The timely filing of a personal injury lawsuit in the appropriate jurisdiction and in compliance with court requirements.
- Attendance at all pre-trial conferences and hearings, experienced litigation, and continued representation after the trial concludes in the event an appeal is filed.
- Assistance with collecting your settlement or award.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
What Types of Cases Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Represent?
Personal injury law is a fairly wide umbrella for different types of cases. Some of the practice areas that a personal injury lawyer handles cases for include:
In one month, 3,429 motor vehicle collisions resulted in 258 injuries to motorists and another 178 injuries to their passengers. Car accidents are most frequently a result of human error. Many things can cause a car accident, including distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk driving, failure to yield, speeding, and aggressive driving behaviors.
An accident at a construction site in Manhattan resulted in the death of one person and injuries to two others. The deceased worker fell down an elevator shaft and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two more were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Construction is among the most dangerous industries for workers, and falls are the leading cause of death and injury for construction workers. Justifying a need to file a workers compensation claim.
Without the protective characteristics of other types of motor vehicles—including a steel frame, seat belts, and airbags—motorcyclists face an increased risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents, with many riders failing to use a helmet. Other common injuries include broken bones, facial trauma, bun injuries, road rash, spinal cord injuries, damage to the nerves and tendons in the arm as a result of the rider attempting to “catch” him- or herself during the accident (known as biker’s arm), and internal damage.
Bus accidents can be extremely dangerous and lead to tons of injuries. Not only do buses usually involve more people at the scene of the accident but in determining fault and recovering compensation there are more considerations than most auto accidents. To learn more about what the experienced bus accident attorney can assist you with your case.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 10 percent of the elderly population is being abused or has been abused either physically, sexually, psychologically, or financially. Studies of the prevalence of abuse and neglect in nursing homes revealed that 70 percent of state inspections reveal at least one deficiency in the health and safety of the care provided, while about 15 percent of inspections miss deficiencies that could result in immediate harm to residents. Abuse and neglect have severe medical and emotional consequences for older adults.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
In one month, 188 pedestrians and 108 cyclists were involved in accidents with a motor vehicle, with all of the pedestrians and cyclists becoming injured and one pedestrian dying as a result of those injuries.
In a subsequent month, seven people were hurt—one with serious injuries—after a driver allegedly blew through a red light at an intersection and struck three people in the crosswalk before hitting another car that was waiting to make a left turn. The force of the accident pushed the struck car into another vehicle. In addition to the three pedestrians, four occupants in the three vehicles also suffered injuries in the accident.
Each year, dog bites result in about 800,000 injuries that are serious enough to require medical treatment, and 30,000 of those bites require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage. In New York, if a dog bites someone, the owner of the dog may be liable for the cost of medical treatment. If the dog had a previous history of biting, its owner may also be responsible for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability claims. Falls are the leading cause of death for elderly individuals and are also particularly dangerous for young children. Business owners, the owners of private residences, and governmental agencies tasked with maintaining public lands and buildings are required to ensure that their properties are safe and free of hazards for their guests. If a lawful visitor becomes injured due to an unsafe feature on a property, the owner may be liable for damages.
As more and more people are utilizing the services of rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, the reports of accidents involving rideshares has also increased. Liability may be complex in these cases because the drivers for these companies are not employees of the company but independent contractors. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you sort this out and pursue the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Accidents involving commercial trucks resulted in the deaths of 4,102 people in one recent year. Weighing as much as 20 to 30 times more than the average passenger car, trucks pose size-related risks, including:
- A longer distance required to come to a safe stop
- Wide turns that place drivers in adjacent lanes at risk of becoming trapped between the truck and the curb
- Significant blind spots on all four sides
- A high center of gravity, which makes the trucks prone to rolling over
- A high ground clearance, which may result in smaller vehicles sliding beneath the truck in an accident, also known as an underride
The manufacturers and distributors of products—including prescription medications, food, toys, appliances, and auto parts—are required to ensure that their products are safe for consumers when used as directed. If they don’t, they may be held liable for injuries and deaths caused by accidents involving their products. There are two types of product liability claims:
- Claims resulting from improper or inadequate labeling
- Claims resulting in unsafe or defective products
Medical providers have a duty to provide a standard of care that any prudent provider would give in similar circumstances. Some examples of medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, include:
- Birth injuries
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Surgical errors, including wrong-site surgery or leaving a foreign object, such as a surgical tool or towel in the body during surgery
- Failure to provide adequate follow-up care
- Improper discharge
In New York, when a person dies as the result of negligent, reckless, or intentional acts, the individual who caused the death may be liable for damages as if the person had lived and was injured. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of family members including the spouse, children, and parents of the decedent, as well as other family members in some cases. Some of the damages that may be sought in a wrongful death claim include medical expenses for treatment of the deceased’s final injuries, pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before death, lost wages, loss of inheritance, and the cost of burial.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Life in Manhattan is not always predictable. That’s part of what makes living in the City so exciting and worthwhile. You never know who you might meet, what you might see, or when an unexpected turn of events might affect your day-to-day life.
Of course, not all of the unforeseen situations that typify living in, working in, or visiting Manhattan have a good outcome. Sometimes, the seemingly-random incidents that impact our lives as New Yorkers cause devastating loss and serious injury. When those unwanted, preventable events do harm, victims have lots of questions about where to turn and what to do to protect themselves physically, emotionally, and financially.
Below, we answer some of the most common of those questions. If you have questions about your specific situation, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today.
What is personal injury law?
Most everyone has heard the term personal injury law, but not everyone knows what that means. In a nutshell, personal injury is an area of the law that deals with seeking compensation for physical, mental, and financial injuries caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions. New Yorkers get hurt, and gain the legal right to seek compensation, in a wide variety of scenarios.
However, a few day-to-day circumstances produce the vast bulk of personal injury cases. They are:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Motor vehicle accidents happen every day in Manhattan involving cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles. Across the state, an average of 1,098 motor vehicle fatalities happen every year. Over 136,000 people visit the emergency each year because of these accidents. Car and truck accidents can lead to serious injuries including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
- Pedestrian accidents: Nearly a third as many pedestrians as motor vehicle occupants die each year in motor vehicle accidents. Manhattan, with its thousands of street crossings and millions of residents, sees a disproportionate share of these tragedies every year. Drivers have a responsibility to be aware of pedestrians and yield the right of way, even if the pedestrian is not in a crosswalk. Common causes for pedestrian accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and failure to yield the right of way.
- Medical malpractice: Most people would be shocked if they knew just how many medical errors happen every year. CNBC reports that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. We hold doctors to high standards. When they fail to meet this standard, they may be guilty of malpractice.
- Assault: We typically think of assault as a criminal matter, which it is. However, assaults also cause injuries for which the perpetrator has a legal liability for damages. So might a business or landlord that failed to provide adequate security.
- Construction accidents: Construction workers and others on construction sites face constant dangers, from misuse or malfunction of heavy equipment to the danger of falls and falling objects. Preventable incidents on Manhattan construction sites frequently leave victims catastrophically injured. Some even cause fatalities.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Falling down constitutes a leading cause of preventable injury, especially among older New Yorkers. Property owners have an obligation to fix and warn about unsafe conditions that could harm visitors. Someone who takes a tumble and suffers an injury because of a dangerous property condition may have legal rights to seek compensation from the property owner responsible.
- Dog bites: Dog bites inflict serious trauma. The canine jaw has more strength and power than many people realize. In fact, some breeds can inflict a force over 700 pounds per square inch. These bites can cause lacerations, nerve damage, broken bones, and disfiguration.
I got hurt in an accident that wasn’t my fault. Who pays?
Most people can guess the basic answer to this question: The person who should pay is the person (or company) whose bad decisions or dangerous actions caused you to get hurt.
It’s a simple answer in theory, but not so simple in practice.
The longer answer is that every preventable injury has unique facts and circumstances. One frequently important job of an experienced Manhattan personal injury attorney is to investigate those details to identify all individuals and entities whose wrongful conduct may have contributed to a client’s injuries.
- In a motor vehicle accident, the at fault parties may include the other driver, the driver’s employer (if the accident happened in connection with the driver’s work), an auto manufacturer or a mechanic (if one of the vehicles involved in the accident experienced mechanical failure), and even a government entity (such as when a city bus gets into a crash, or dangerous-but-preventable road conditions cause a crash).
- In a slip, trip, or fall, parties with a potential legal liability could include a property owner or occupant who failed to fix a dangerous property condition, a contractor who created a dangerous property condition, or a third party whose actions led to someone falling and getting hurt.
- In a case of medical error, an injured patient may have the right to seek compensation from a healthcare practitioner, a healthcare company, a drug company, or a medical device supplier.
We could go on, but you get the idea. Many preventable injuries in Manhattan have multiple causes traceable to multiple individuals or entities. As a general matter, the more of those potentially liable entities a lawyer can identify, the better the injured client’s chances of recovering full compensation for a preventable injury.
What if I think I might be partially at fault?
You probably still have rights to compensation, so speak to a lawyer right away. After an accident, it’s normal to overanalyze. Many people have a natural instinct to apologize or accept some of the blame after an accident. Resist this urge. What you tell others about your preventable injury could affect your legal rights more than the facts themselves. You may find that even if you feel like you could have prevented your own injury, in fact your actions played little or no role.
Can I use my own insurance to pay for bills?
Typically, yes. Your right to recover compensation from someone whose actions harmed you usually does not preclude you from using your own insurance coverage to cover expenses. However, through a legal doctrine called subrogation, your insurance company may have a right to reimbursement of its payments to you from the parties who harmed you in some circumstances. So, let your attorney know whether you have filed a claim against your own insurance policy to pay for injury-related expenses.
How much is my case worth?
After sustaining a preventable injury in Manhattan, many people naturally wonder how much money they should receive for their injury-related legal claim. The answer depends entirely on the facts and circumstances of their injury.
Generally speaking, the factors that contribute to determining the value of a personal injury claim include:
- Amount of medical bills: The cost of medical care for a preventable injury caused by someone else should not fall on your shoulders. An important goal of virtually every personal injury case is to obtain compensation or reimbursement for these costs, including for doctor visits, medication, counseling, and rehabilitation services.
- Amount of past and future lost wages: Serious injuries can make it difficult to return to work. If an injury prevents you from working, either temporarily or permanently, then you may have the right to seek compensation for the wages you would have earned in the past, and in the future, were it not for your injury.
- Degree of pain and suffering: New Yorkers have a special toughness, but that does not mean they do not endure physical discomfort and mental anguish because of a preventable injury. Victims of personal injuries caused by someone else’s careless actions typically have the right to receive compensation for these soft (but significant) costs.
- Loss of companionship: Humans are social creatures. We find joy and fulfillment in personal relationships. A preventable injury can interfere with those relationships, and victims should receive compensation for that.
- Loss of life enjoyment: We take for granted the simple tasks we do every day, from cooking dinner to playing with our children. Even a seemingly minor back injury can interfere with your ability to do the things you love, and for that, you also deserve to receive financial damages.
- Wrongful death: Unfortunately, unintentional injury is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Nothing will bring back the loss of a loved one, but family members of a deceased personal injury victim may seek compensation for their loss and its related expenses through a wrongful death legal action.
Will I have to go to court?
It depends. Many Manhattan personal injury cases settle long before they see the inside of a courtroom. A settlement is an agreement by which an injured New Yorker releases a party from legal liability in exchange for a payment. Sometimes, however, it takes filing a lawsuit in Manhattan courts to convince a party to come to the negotiating table. Other times, even that does not push the case to a settlement, and so, an experienced Manhattan personal injury lawyer may advise a client that the best course of action is to take the case to a trial.
Do I need an attorney?
Yes. You have one mission after sustaining a preventable injury: getting better. You have neither the bandwidth, nor the legal training, to try to act as your own lawyer, and no one will take your claim seriously if you do. Lawyers serve multiple roles for clients in a Manhattan personal injury case. They frequently act as investigators, digging into facts to identify the parties who owe money. They act as negotiators, interacting with insurance companies and defense attorneys in pursuit of a fair and reasonable settlement of a case. And they act as trial lawyers, drafting documents and presenting arguments in court.
Do not stress about cost. Manhattan personal injury attorneys also represent clients on a contingency fee basis, in which they get paid a percentage of the amount of money they recover on their clients’ behalf. So, as an injured victim of someone else’s careless conduct, you do not have to worry about paying legal fees as you go.
How long do I have to file a personal injury suit?
All personal injury matters have a statute of limitations that dictates how long a person has to assert a legal claim for damages. Once the statute of limitations expires, a personal injury victim will usually lose the right to recover damages from any at-fault parties. In New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury matters is three years. However, in the case of medical malpractice, the timeframe is shorter. This time starts from the date of the injury. There are a few exceptions, particularly for medical malpractice.
- The victim was a minor: For medical malpractice, the statute of limitations extends to 10 years after the date of injury.
- Cancer misdiagnosis: Two years from when you discover the misdiagnosis.
- Missing defendant: If you do not know who the defendant is or cannot locate the other party, the court may pause the statute of limitations until you can find them.
Get the Help You Deserve
After sustaining any kind of preventable injury in Manhattan, it’s natural to feel confused. Nobody plans for an accident, so trying to figure out your rights can become overwhelming. It is important to understand that you do have rights. When someone else’s actions cause your injuries, the law entitles you to seek fair and just compensation.
While three years may seem like a long time to take action, personal injury cases take time to prepare. Do not wait until the last minute to sit down and talk to an attorney. An experienced Manhattan personal injury attorney can help you figure out what you need to do and come up with a strategy to help you achieve the best results.
Do not let insurance companies get away with paying you less than what you deserve for your injury.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Most people don’t think of hiring a personal injury lawyer until they become injured and need one. Personal injury lawyers practicing law in your region can be found by asking friends, family, or acquaintances for referrals, through an internet search, or review sites. When searching for an injury lawyer to speak to about your case, it is important that he or she is licensed to practice law in your state and is in good standing with the state bar association.
Once you’ve found a few lawyers that you would like to know more about, you should schedule a consultation. Many lawyers provide free consultations for potential clients, but you will want to confirm this before making an appointment. The consultation is a time for the lawyer to hear the details about your case as well as to answer any legal questions you may have.
You can, and should, ask other questions too, including:
- How long has this lawyer been practicing law?
- How much experience does this lawyer have with your type of case? How many cases like yours has the lawyer represented at trial? How many similar cases has he or she settled?
- Who is going to be working on the case? Will there be additional attorneys involved?
- Who is your point of contact and how will the communication between the law firm and yourself be handled?
- How many cases does this lawyer handle at once? Will he or she have time to devote to your case?
- What are the lawyer’s fees for services and how are these fees paid?
- What does the lawyer feel are the strengths and weaknesses of your case? What can be done to strengthen your case?
- What does the attorney need you to do during the process?
Once you’ve decided which lawyer you’d like to represent your case, you will likely be given some documentation to sign. This documentation spells out the services that are to be provided to you and other important information. It is essential that you read these documents completely and that you understand the information that has been given to you before you sign.
Call Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Manhattan Personal Injury Lawyers for Answers to Your Questions
Do you have legal questions? Were you injured in an accident and want to know more about the process of obtaining compensation? Contact us online or by phone at (212) 445-7000 for a free case evaluation with our skilled Manhattan personal injury lawyers.
New York, NY 10006