Personal Injury and Accidents
Under New York law, everyone owes one another a responsibility to use reasonable care in their day-to-day activities so as to not cause injury. If someone fails in that duty, called a "breach", then he or she can be held responsible for the physical injuries and other losses caused by the breach. Since one cannot actually undo a physical injury to another, the law provides for compensation for the injuries by the payment of money. This area of the law is called "torts". The monetary award is called "damages".
An injured person has the right to recover the full extent of damages that are "proximately" caused by the wrongdoer. "Proximately" means that there is a safeguard in place to ensure that people are only held responsible for injuries and losses that could have been foreseen. You really cannot recover for "all" losses, just those that were reasonably foreseeable by someone in the wrongdoer's shoes. If you are struck by a car, you might recover money for the pain and suffering you sustained, for your medical expenses and for your lost wages. But, if as the result of the accident you missed an interview and lost a job, the law would not allow you to recover for the lost income from not getting the job. Those damages are considered too remote.
Proving negligence is sometimes an art. There are many, many ways to establish liability and an experienced lawyer can be creative in uncovering them. Negligence is the failure to exercise that degree of care which a reasonably prudent person in the wrongdoer's shoes would have exercised. Some negligence is obvious, like following too closely in an automobile or running a red light. But sometimes negligence has to be unearthed, such as when there are building code, OSHA, labor law standards or other violations, even if the wrongdoer has not been cited for the violation. There may also be special rules of negligence established by the application of the common customs and practices used in a business or industry, such as how often residential property should be inspected or the proper security that should be afforded to a tenant so as to prevent injury from an intruder.
The law of torts is divided into many subcategories. These include, but are not limited to, automobile negligence, intentional torts, products liability, wrongful death, medical or other professional malpractice, construction and work site torts, falls and animal bites. The loss for which compensation may be sought is not limited to just physical injury, but may include property damage sustained as the result of fire, flood or partial or complete building collapse, among other causes. So, torts is a very large body of law. Some of its specific categories are discussed in more detail elsewhere in this website.
If you are the victim of a tort, you want an experienced attorney in your corner. It is imperative that an appropriate investigation be undertaken and that your lawyer make the proper notifications and filings to protect your rights from being lost. Please call me at 914-737-0200 or contact me online for a free consultation and we can discuss your circumstances in detail.