With a broad lens and 20/20 hindsight, we can look at most accidents as typically less of an event, but rather a string of conditions that culminate in the accident.  In other words, there is rarely a single cause of the accident, and legal codes across the country have come to reflect that reality in civil litigation suits.  Referred to as comparative fault, this doctrine allows for an accident or injury victim to still receive a portion of any damages awarded by a court regardless of their culpability in the accident.

When dealing with personal injury cases, once litigated, a jury decides the level of blame that is apportioned to both parties and expressed in the form of percentages.  As such, the assignment of guilt and assessing culpability in personal injury suits are at the heart of a successful outcome in court.

Let’s begin by noting that New York is a comparative fault state before exploring the topic as it relates to your personal injury.  Even if you believe that you are to blame in your injury that does not mean that you do not have rights that need to be represented in court.  Thanks to comparative fault legislation, personal injury victims still have recourse in the event of an injury.

New York and Comparative Negligence

The Empire State made the move towards comparative fault status in 1975.  This means that even if you are found at fault to any degree, there is still an opportunity to recover damages from the negligent actions of a person or company.  For instance, assume that you have been awarded a $10,000 settlement from a personal injury claim, but the jury assigned %15 of the blame, you would receive a final settlement of $8,500.

Assessing Responsibility for Accidents

When parsing the details to determine whether someone is at fault as the result of your accident the law has established preconditions for assessing the responsibility for causing your accident.  Time is often of the essence as well owing to evidence loss and the statutory filing deadlines that you have to initiate a lawsuit, so you will want to begin your accident investigation as soon as possible.

For instance, the accident investigation must prove culpability on the part of the property owner by showing that they were negligent including:

  • Knowing about the dangerous condition without fixing the situation.
  • Their action caused the problem in the first place.
  • Should have taken action that a “reasonable” person would fix the danger issue.

Making these determinations is sometimes difficult, and that is why a seasoned personal injury attorney is the critical partner ensuring that you have the time and financial wherewithal to recover from expensive medical bills and lost wages.

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Personal Injuries Can Be Devastating: Qualified Legal Representation is Crucial

All personal injuries lawsuits are not created equally when it comes to tallying up the size of judgment awards.  When perusing jury awards for personal injury cases, one finds that cases involving medical malpractice tend to yield the largest settlements with averages totaling $340,000.  By comparison, auto accidents, which result in the second-highest judgment awards, typically see an average $24,000 settlement figure.  Personal injury accidents round out the top three listings of high settlement amounts witnessing an average of $2,000 payout for people that are victims of slip and fall accidents.

Slip and fall accidents account for more than a million injured Americans annually according to the Center for Disease Control, and almost a third of those injuries cause moderate to severe conditions..  Just as all personal injuries are not created equal, neither are all slip and fall injuries created equal.  To adequately assess your case requires discussions with a qualified attorney to determine liability and the feasibility of filing a case.

While the average payout for slip and fall injury may be only $2,000 there are always exceptions to the rule, and two cases, in particular, stand out when it comes to large cash verdicts:

$18 Million for Manhole Spill

When a student enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania medical school fell 18 feet through an open manhole cover.  The student received severe spinal cord injuries as a result of the fall, which ended his career options when he was forced to leave school.  It was illustrated, according to court documents released by the court in the wake of an $18 million dollar settlement, the local homeless population was known for removing manhole covers in search for shelter against the elements.

The problem with the manhole cover removals was well known by the manhole operators, Trigen-Philadelphia Energy Corporation, as there had been complaints dating back a decade.  The court ruled that during that time period that preceded the accident, the company failed to take any actions to solve the problem.

The large settlement represents the loss of future wages of the former medical student, which was forfeited owing to the negligence of Trigen-Philadelphia Energy Corporation.

Algae Earns $12.2 Million in Virginia

When Annette Ritzman, the owner of a nearby, local day spa, exited a Miller Mart convenience store in 2003, she had no idea that the next few moments would transform her life.  Ms. Ritzman lost consciousness after slipping on the pavement outside the store suffering severe medical complications.  Unbeknownst to the woman, the store was a fully owned subsidiary of Miller Oil Company, which failed to adequately warn customers, or seriously address the problem of dark algae that had formed on the premises.

Kaplan Law is Highly Experienced in Personal Injury Cases

Although New York is a comparative fault state Regardless of the circumstances, to adequately assess your case within the time periods that are typically mandated by state law requires consulting with a qualified accident lawyer.  This ensures that you get the compensation you may be entitled to.  If you take a tumble in the Empire State, you should seek out the legal help of Kaplan Lawyers to get your life back on track following an injury.  Here at Kaplan Lawyers, we have been guaranteeing the rights of personal accident victims for more than two decades, so give us a call and we will come to you if you are confined owing to that injury.