What Types of Accidents Cause the Most Common Personal Injury Claims in New York?

Personal injury is a vast legal field covering a myriad of injuries caused by the negligence of a person or organization (such as a business owner), meaning the injured party wasn’t at fault for the injury. That includes various injuries and circumstances, from slip-and-falls to vehicle accidents, construction injuries, and medical malpractice. Here are some of the leading causes of personal injury claims in New York.

Car, Motorcycle, Truck Accidents

Given the prevalence of cars and trucks in people’s daily lives, it’s unsurprising that this is one of the top categories of personal injury claims. How these accidents happen varies widely, with everything from driving under the influence (DUI) to distracted driving to reckless driving to manufacturing defects in one or more of the vehicles to poorly maintained vehicles.

Just as there are many types of accidents, there are many sources that could be held liable for the accidents. Sometimes, it’s clear that one driver was the culprit. But many other times, that’s less clear; it’s not uncommon for more than one driver to be at fault in an accident that causes injuries. For example, suppose someone driving under the influence strikes another car and injures that driver. However, that driver was speeding or running a red light. There’s fault on both sides, which can complicate cases (see below for details of New York’s negligence laws).

Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Just as there are many variants to vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents can happen in a multitude of ways. These are especially dangerous for children and are a leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for people 45 and older. They can be caused by improperly maintained sidewalks and walkways in the winter, debris left where it shouldn’t be, lack of handrails or handrails that aren’t correctly installed and secured, lack of proper lighting, and many others.

On-the-Job and Work Site Injuries

The law requires employers to provide safe working spaces for employees, yet this is still a major category of personal injury claims in New York. It can include injuries caused by improperly maintained machinery, toxic spills, lack of training, or lack of safety equipment, among others. This area can be incredibly complex as it may involve workers’ compensation.

Animal Bites

No one wants to think their beloved family pet may have enough aggression toward other humans that they would bite one if they feel encroached upon, but it happens often. New York has strict laws about liability for dog bites, viewing all dog bite incidents as resulting from the owner’s negligence. Even if the owner proves that they weren’t negligent and had made sincere attempts to control the animal, the owner will likely have to provide compensation for the victim’s medical expenses.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice encompasses everything from misinterpreted diagnoses and tests, incorrect medication doses, failure to recognize and identify symptoms needing treatment, and errors during surgery, among many others. This group includes most levels of medical professionals, not just doctors and nurses.

What Is Comparative Negligence in New York?

The state’s comparative negligence laws are a major factor in pursuing a personal injury claim in New York. Across the U.S., there are three types of negligence.

  • Contributory negligence. This says that if the injured person is at fault for the injury, they’re ineligible to file for damages.
  • Modified comparative negligence. This says that if the injured person reaches a certain threshold of liability (it varies from state to state between 50%-51%), they’re no longer eligible for damages. If their fault doesn’t reach the full threshold, they can receive some damages. For example, if the injured person is found 30% at fault and is awarded $10,000, they’ll receive $7,000 instead–the total minus 30%.
  • Pure comparative negligence. This says that even if the injured person is found 99% at fault, they can still file for 1% of the damages.

New York follows pure comparative negligence. While at first glance that appears to be good news, it also can mean that the person or organization someone’s filing damages to will likely try to shift as much blame as possible to the injured party to avoid paying out. Personal injury claims and negotiations are complicated, and it’s highly recommended that the victim work with an experienced personal injury attorney to avoid losing out on financial compensation.

What Should I Do if I Need to File a Personal Injury Claim in New York?

If you haven’t already, see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you think the injury is minor. There are many injuries that don’t always present symptoms right away, even severe ones, and they can worsen if left untreated.

Then call the Rizzuto Law Firm as soon as possible at 516-622-0606 for a free case evaluation. We can walk you through the specifics of your claim and how to approach the case to work toward the best possible outcomes.

One thing you should be sure not to do: Respond to any requests from communication from the person or organization you’re filing claims against, their insurance representatives, or lawyers.

They’ll try to assign as much fault for the accident onto you in order to avoid paying out most or all of the claim, or they’ll try to get you to agree to a much lower financial settlement than you might receive otherwise. Don’t answer questions; just forward all communications to your attorney.