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The 4 Elements of a Personal Injury Case in New York

Personal Injury Case in New York

Suffering an injury from an accident can cause uncertainty and instability in life. The Centers for Disease Control determined that accidents and unintentional injuries resulted in 122.7 million doctor visits or emergency room visits. After an accident, you may miss work and incur medical expenses and property damage. The total cost of injuries in the United States in 2019 totaled 4.2 trillion dollars.

Sattler Law Group has represented clients in personal injury cases for over two decades. Don’t wait to review your personal injury case with a personal injury lawyer in New York. Your lawyer will take the time to understand your case, answer your questions, and advise you of your available options, keeping in mind the four key elements of a personal injury case.

1. Duty of Care

To prevail in a personal injury claim, you first need to establish that the other party, the defendant, owed you (the injured person) a duty of care. Although you likely do not think of it in those terms, New York law states that citizens owe one another a duty of care in various situations. 

For example, while driving, you owe a duty of care to your passengers, other individuals on the road, and pedestrians. Specifically, you owe everyone on the road the duty to operate your vehicle legally and safely. For this reason, an implied duty of care in a personal injury case may exist. In other cases, you will need to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to keep you safe.

If you suffered a personal injury and did not know if the other party owed you a duty of care, you should speak to an experienced New York personal injury attorney at Sattler Law Group. 

2. Breach of Duty of Care

Most personal injury cases depend on whether you can establish that the defendant breached the duty of care they owed you. At its core, this requires showing that the defendant acted negligently, without reasonable care. 

For example, if your personal injury case happened due to a car accident, you could establish negligence with any of the following evidence showing that the defendant was:

  • Speeding
  • Ignoring posted road signs
  • Intoxicated
  • Distracted, including texting

Speeding alone is contributing factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities

This evidence will typically consist of any combination of the following information uncovered during the investigation of your personal injury case:

  • Photographs of the scene
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Police reports
  • Cell phone records
  • Blood alcohol test results

The evidence necessary to show the defendant’s negligence will be specific to how your personal injury claim arose. Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney about the particular facts of your case can shed light on whether the defendant acted negligently. 

3. Defendant’s Breach of Duty of Care Caused Your Injuries

Proving that the defendant caused your injuries requires you to show that your injuries would not have otherwise occurred except for the defendant’s negligent conduct. In most cases, this evidence is readily available. 

For example, if your injuries resulted from a trip and fall from uneven flooring at the defendant’s residence or business, that constitutes evidence that you would not have tripped and fallen if the floor had been safe. Similarly, if your injuries resulted from an accident caused by the defendant’s negligent driving, the accident would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligent driving. 

Demonstrating causation becomes more complicated if multiple causes may have been in play simultaneously. If you would like to discuss your personal injury case with an experienced New York personal injury attorney, contact Sattler Law Group. We have over two decades of experience with personal injury cases and can guide you through the process of establishing a duty of care and showing you how the negligent party breached it, causing your injury.

4. Damages

To recover compensation from personal injury lawsuits, you must demonstrate that you suffered damages. Damages can include both economic damages and noneconomic damages. 

Economic damages are those damages that have a readily verifiable dollar value. For example, your economic damages may include any of the following: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Damage to personal property
  • Lost income
  • Lost opportunity 

Noneconomic damages are readily observable damages that do not have a precise dollar value. For example, your noneconomic damages may include any of the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Not all of these damages are available in every case. For example, courts rarely award punitive damages (damages meant to punish the Defendant for his or her conduct).  Therefore, proving damages in your case will depend on its unique facts. 

Proving the existence of damages is not usually overly complicated. However, determining the correct value of those damages is difficult. Do not be surprised if the insurance company attempts to settle your personal injury claim quickly with a promise of a few dollars in exchange for a release.  They do this to limit their exposure and close a claim.  Remember, insurance adjusters do not work for you.

The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case

You are likely more familiar with the burden of proof in a criminal case, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in most civil cases, such as a personal injury claim, the burden of proof is much lower:  the standard is known as a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence standard is known colloquially as the “more likely than not” standard.  

This means you must prove the four key elements of your case, including duty of care, breach, causation, and damages, by a preponderance of the evidence. In determining which side to believe, a jury will consider all of the evidence presented, including testimony, physical evidence, and the demeanor of witnesses. 

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Sattler Law Group

Sattler Law Group has the necessary experience, knowledge, and toughness to take on the insurance companies in your personal injury case. We understand personal injury law and how insurance companies operate and are ready to put our experience to work for you.

If you are considering hiring a personal injury attorney, talk to us during a free case review.

Call us now at 914-239-4900. We can explain the benefits, support you in your claim and provide the representation and advice that you need. 

About The Author

Adam Sattler, ESQ.

Adam Sattler, ESQ.

Adam Sattler, ESQ., is a highly experienced personal injury lawyer in New York and the founder of Sattler Law Group PC. Under his leadership, Sattler Law Group PC is exclusively dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured victims in all types of accident cases, including auto accidents and slip and fall accidents.

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