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Personal Injury FAQs

Law Office of Steven R. Smith  Jan. 12, 2024

Personal injuries can occur at any time, in any place, and due to a myriad of everyday situations. But regardless of how or when they happen, the impact of a personal injury on an individual's life can be astronomical. Both minor and severe injuries can cause significant physical pain, emotional distress, and financial hardship.  

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Understanding your rights and the legal remedies available to you can significantly alleviate the stress and burden associated with injuries. This article aims to address some common questions and provide you with the information you need to take the next step toward seeking the compensation you deserve.  

What are some examples of personal injury cases? 

Personal injury cases can arise from various situations, including but not limited to: 

  • Auto accidents: Incidents involving collisions between vehicles, often resulting in property damage, injuries, or even fatalities. 

  • Slip and falls: Accidents that occur when a person slips, trips, or falls on a surface due to unreasonable hazards or property owner negligence. Falls are the cause of more than 8 million emergency room visits each year.

  • Medical malpractice: Instances when a healthcare professional or facility fails to provide the standard of care expected, resulting in harm, injury, or wrongful death to a patient. 

  • Product liability: Legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers for defective products that cause harm or injury to consumers. 

  • Workplace accidents: Accidents that happen in the work environment, such as slips, falls, machinery accidents, or exposure to hazardous substances. 

Injuries sustained in these situations can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe injuries such as broken bones, brain or spinal cord injuries, and even death. Regardless of the severity, if someone else's negligence or intentional actions caused the injury, you may have a personal injury case.  

What should I do if I've been injured in an accident? 

While every case and accident is unique, I recommend following the following steps as closely as possible should you ever need to: 

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Immediately after an accident, your health should be your top priority. Even if your injuries seem minor, it's essential to get checked by a medical professional. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and could lead to complications later on. 

  2. Report the Incident: If the accident occurred in a public place, at work, or due to a road traffic accident, ensure you report it to the relevant authority. This could be your employer, the store manager, or the police.  

  3. Document Everything: Take detailed notes about the accident and your injuries. Include dates, times, locations, and any other relevant details. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage. 

  4. Witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their contact details. Their testimony could be crucial if you decide to pursue a legal claim. 

  5. Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: Personal injury law can be complex. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, explain your rights, and help you pursue a claim for compensation.  

  6. Don’t Discuss the Incident: Refrain from discussing the details of the accident with anyone other than your lawyer, particularly insurance company representatives. Anything you say could be used against you in your claim. 

Remember, these steps are general advice and may not be suitable for every situation. After a serious car accident, for example, you may not have the opportunity to take photographs or collect witness information. But especially when injuries are serious, it's important to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.  

How much compensation am I entitled to? 

The amount of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on various factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the impact on your life and finances, and who is at fault for the accident. Your personal injury attorney can help you determine the appropriate amount of compensation to seek based on these factors.  

Also, insurance companies may try to offer a quick settlement, so it's crucial to consult with your lawyer before accepting anything. Often, insurance offers are much lower than what you could potentially receive through a legal claim. Your attorney can negotiate on behalf of your needs and best interests and advocate for the maximum compensation you deserve. 

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim? 

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is generally three years from the date of the accident. However, it's best to get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so we can start gathering evidence and building a strong case on your behalf. 

Also, there are exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations in personal injury cases: 

  • For instance, if the injured party was a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations doesn't begin to run until the minor turns 18. Therefore, they would have until their 21st birthday to file a claim. 

  • Another exception applies to cases involving government entities. If you're filing a claim against a city, county, or state government agency in New York, you typically have to file a formal claim within 90 days of the incident, and then you have just one year and 90 days from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. 

  • There's also a discovery rule for cases where the injury was not discovered immediately. For example, in medical malpractice cases, the clock may start ticking when the patient discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury. 

Please note that these are general guidelines and the specifics can vary depending on the unique details of your case. If you believe any of these exceptions might apply to your case, I strongly recommend reaching out to a personal injury attorney who can help determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances. 

What types of damages can I recover in a personal injury case? 

In a personal injury case, you may be eligible to recover both economic and non-economic damages.  

  • Economic damages encompass a wide range of quantifiable losses that can be directly measured, including expenses related to medical treatment, wages lost due to injury, and property damage incurred.  

  • On the other hand, non-economic damages provide compensation for losses that are less tangible and more subjective in nature, such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of enjoyment of life. These non-economic damages aim to address the emotional and psychological impact of an injury or accident. 

It is important to note that the specific amount of compensation one can receive will vary based on the unique circumstances of their case, including the severity of their injuries and the overall impact on their life. 

How can a personal injury attorney help me? 

A personal injury attorney can provide invaluable assistance throughout your case. We investigate the incident, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and if necessary, represent you in court. I'm here to protect your rights and work to get you the maximum compensation possible. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you can focus on your recovery while we handle the legal aspects. 

Address Your Questions With a Lawyer 

I hope these responses provide some clarity on personal injury cases. If you have further questions or need assistance with your specific situation, don't hesitate to reach out to me for a free consultation. My firm, the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, proudly serves clients throughout New York and Long Island, including the communities of Hempstead, Westbury, Mineola, and New Hyde Park.