Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury law

If you have been injured because someone else was negligent, you may have a personal injury case. It is not enough to simply show that you were injured. Not every injury is a basis for bringing a personal injury case. You have to be able to prove that someone else had a responsibility that they did not fulfill, causing your injury as a result. When an injured person brings a personal injury case, it is their obligation – not the obligation of the person that they sue – to prove that the person that caused their injury was negligent. For this reason, you have to be able to identify who is responsible, and why they were negligent, to have a personal injury case in New York.

Generally speaking, when evaluating whether someone has a personal injury case, New York personal injury lawyers look to see if the person who caused your injury owed you a “duty of care”. A “duty of care” is a legal term that refers to an obligation to take steps to make sure that someone is not injured. A “duty of care” can arise in many ways. For example, a driver of a motor vehicle (a car, a truck, a motorcycle, etc.) has a duty of care to pedestrians and other drivers to drive in a safe and careful manner, and to keep a proper lookout for others on or near the roadway. It is also true that owners or tenants of property (real estate, such as a building, sidewalks adjacent to buildings, stores, apartments, etc.) have a duty of care to maintain their premises in a “reasonably safe condition”, meaning that they have to make sure their property is free from dangerous conditions that could cause someone to get hurt. If you can prove that someone violated a duty of care to you, you may have a personal injury case.

There are also certain situations, such as in the context of a New York construction accident, that a “statutory” duty of care may be imposed by law and require that the owner of the building, or the general contractor of the construction project, comply with specific laws and regulations. In New York, the legislature passes laws – known as “statutes” – that often impose responsibilities that go beyond general principles of negligence and require strict compliance with a particular rule in a particular situation. Sometimes, governmental or regulatory agencies pass additional rules – known as “regulations” – that specify the manner in which anyone subject to a particular “statute” has to behave in order to be in compliance. In the case of a “statutory” duty of care, if you can prove that a specific statute or regulation was violated, and that the violation caused your injury, you may be have a personal injury case.

As you can see, whether you have a personal injury case is not always an easy question to answer. If you have been injured, you should always consult with a New York personal injury lawyer and tell them your story to determine if you have a personal injury case. Experienced New York personal injury lawyers will know the right questions to ask to make this determination, and can tell you about your rights if you are injured. You can call New York personal injury lawyer Jesse Minc any time at (718) 354-8000 if you believe that you may have a personal injury case.

Financial compensation is the end goal of almost every personal injury case. This is because, in New York, generally speaking, financial compensation is the only remedy that is available to victims of personal injury accidents. Though, in some cases, other relief such as an injunction (an order by a Court prohibiting certain conduct) may be available, in most personal injury cases, a money judgment is the only available means of compensating an injured personal injury accident victim. In a personal injury case, an injured person has to prove that someone else was negligent, and that this negligence caused them to be injured, to entitle them to compensation.

Under New York law, there are several different categories of compensation that can be awarded in a personal injury case. The three major categories of compensation available in New York personal injury cases are: (i) Pain and Suffering, (ii) Lost Earnings and Benefits, and (iii) Medical Expenses. Though, in theory, any loss is compensable in a New York personal injury case, these are the three main types of damages that tend to result from a serious injury.

Pain and suffering compensation encompasses not only the physical pain and suffering caused by an injury, but also the emotional toll – the loss of the injured person’s ability to enjoy life – that the injury takes on an injured person. When asking a jury for pain and suffering compensation, New York personal injury lawyers focus the jury’s attention not only on the way in which the injury has caused physical pain – including all of the pain experienced in the immediate aftermath of an injury, throughout the course of medical treatment required to get better (for example, having to undergo a painful surgery), and the permanent physical effects and disabilities caused by the injury – but also on what the injury has taken away from the injured person. The loneliness and sorrow that comes from being unable to participate in and enjoy life as it once was is an important part of pain and suffering compensation.

Compensation for lost earnings and benefits, as well as medical bills, are also an important part of the compensation available in a New York personal injury case. New York personal injury lawyers will demonstrate not only the losses – in the form of missed paychecks, a loss of health insurance and other employee benefits, and outstanding medical bills for medical services related to the injury – that have accrued since the injury, but will also show the jury that the injured person will continue to incur significant economic losses throughout their lifetime. For example, if a personal injury accident victim is likely to require future surgery to treat their injury, the costs of that treatment will be presented to the jury. Also, if the injured person can no longer work, the jury will be told about what – but for the injury – the injured person could have reasonably expected to earn had they been able to continue working as they did before the injury.

The money awarded in a personal injury case is intended to compensate the injured accident victim for the loss that they have experienced as a result of someone else’s negligence. Though money can never replace what is lost when someone is badly injured (their ability to enjoy their life with their family, their ability to be independent and earn a living), the financial compensation that can come from a successful personal injury case can help an injured person survive and improve their life after negligence robs them of their health and well-being. Most every personal injury accident victim would give back all the money in the world to be healthy and independent again, but, unfortunately, victims of serious personal injury accidents are never the same after a serious injury.

If you have been injured and would like to speak directly with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact Jesse Minc at (718) 354-8000 to learn about your rights to compensation.

Pain and suffering compensation is – as its name clearly suggests – the part of personal injury compensation that compensates the injured person for the physical, emotional, and psychological harm that is caused by a serious injury. Also referred to as “non-economic” damages, pain and suffering is inherently subjective, both in kind and in quantity. That is to say that it is very difficult to formulate a uniform definition of what “pain and suffering” actually means, as the effects of a serious injury are unique to each victim of a serious accident. It is also very difficult to quantify how pain and suffering translates into financial compensation for the injured person, which is the ultimate goal in most New York personal injury cases.

It is best to think of pain and suffering compensation as accounting for a combination of the actual physical sensation of pain endured (the initial trauma of the injury, painful medical and surgical procedures, rehabilitation and therapy, and physical disabilities), and the loss of the ability to enjoy life (loneliness and depression resulting from the injured person’s inability to participate in their previous activities, a loss of relationships, a loss of the sense of self-worth when an injured person can no longer work, etc.) as a result of a serious injury. In a New York personal injury case, the personal injury lawyer’s job is to present not only the physical pain that a traumatic injury may have caused, but to ensure that the jury understands all of the ways in which an injured person’s life has been fundamentally altered as a result of negligence.

The amount of pain and suffering compensation that is awarded is different in every case. After all, no two people have the same experience when they are injured, and pain and suffering compensation that is awarded in each case should reflect what the injured person went through. It is the job of the personal injury lawyer to make sure that every shred of evidence of the injured person’s pain and suffering – all of the details not only of the trauma and course of medical treatment that they were forced to endure, but also of how their life has been forever altered by their injuries – is properly presented to the jury so that the jury will want to award the maximum amount of pain and suffering compensation possible.

As mentioned above, a jury at trial awards pain and suffering based on the evidence. However, what you may not know is that the jury verdict is not the final word, especially in cases where a jury awards a large amount of pain and suffering compensation. A defendant who is ordered to pay a substantial amount of pain and suffering compensation has the right to first ask the trial judge to reduce the verdict; and also to appeal the jury verdict to a higher court – known as an “appellate” court – that will review the evidence and evaluate whether the jury’s pain and suffering award was reasonable. It is for this reason that you should make sure that any personal injury lawyer you hire has experience trying cases with significant pain and suffering components, because if the evidence of your pain and suffering is not properly presented to the jury, a trial judge or an appellate court might substantially reduce or eliminate your pain and suffering compensation because it was not justified or supported by the evidence presented at the trial.

If you believe that you may be entitled to receive pain and suffering compensation, contact Jesse Minc directly at (718) 354-8000. An experienced personal injury attorney who has recovered millions in personal injury compensation for his clients, he will give you the information you need to evaluate whether you may have a winning personal injury case.

Free consultations are the norm among reputable New York personal injury law firms. If a personal injury lawyer charges you for a consultation, this could be a serious “red flag” that you may not be talking to an established and reputable personal injury law firm. Experienced New York personal injury lawyers know that personal injury accident victims have already suffered enough, and are often not in a position to pay an attorney for a consultation, especially where there is no guarantee that, even after the consultation, the lawyer can take the case. Part of the service that experienced New York personal injury lawyers provide to injured people is listening to their stories and educating them on what their rights may be.

Reputable and experienced personal injury lawyers know that informing the public of their rights – whether or not they take a case – is important not simply because it is our business, but also because it is part of the privilege of being a New York personal injury lawyer. Experienced New York personal injury lawyers also know that patiently listening to the stories of personal injury accident victims is extremely valuable and is time well spent. In fact, it is only by carefully listening to a story that a personal injury lawyer can determine whether or not an injured person has a personal injury case that can be successful in court in the first place.

For this reason, reputable New York personal injury law firms will make sure that, when you call for a consultation, you have the opportunity to speak with someone experienced in the field of personal injury law into which your case fits. Reputable personal injury law firms will not require consultations to be done through secretaries or paralegals who are not expert in the law, and will make attorneys available to speak with you directly and hear your story to make sure that you get the best advice possible in determining whether you have a personal injury case.

To get a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, all you have to do is call Jesse Minc at (718) 354-8000, or contact him by email through his website at personalinjurylawyersbronx.com. He will personally listen to your story, and give you the best advice possible as to whether – and why – you may have a personal injury case that can be successful.

Most reputable New York personal injury lawyers charge a type of fee called a “contingency” fee. A “contingency” fee refers to an arrangement in which the personal injury law firm will only charge a fee, calculated as a percentage of the compensation awarded to you, if your case is successful. This means that, unless you recover compensation in your personal injury case – whether through a settlement, a jury verdict, an arbitration, a mediation, or any other way – the personal injury lawyer does not take one penny as a legal fee from you.

The standard percentage charged by reputable New York personal injury lawyers in most personal injury cases is one third (33.33%) of the compensation awarded. This contingency fee percentage is set by the New York Courts (and, more specifically, the Appellate Division) in 22 N.Y.C.R.R. § 806.27, a law that provides the legal parameters for contingency fee retainers for attorneys practicing in the State of New York. In states outside of New York, this percentage can be higher, sometimes equal to 40% or more of the client’s compensation.

In New York medical malpractice cases, the contingency fee percentage is less than the standard “one third” used in non-medical malpractice cases. Section 474-a of the New York Judiciary Law specifies that, in New York medical malpractice cases, personal injury lawyers must charge only the following maximum percentages: (i) 30% of the first $250,000.00 recovered; (ii) 25% of the next $250,000.00 recovered; (iii) 20% of the next $500,000.00 recovered; (iv) 15% of the next $250,000.00 recovered; and (v) 10% of any amount recovered over $1,250,000.00. Especially in large medical malpractice cases, the contingency fee percentage comes out to far less than the 33.33% charged in non-medical malpractice New York personal injury cases.

The “contingency” fee arrangement allows personal injury accident victims to hire top personal injury lawyers without having to pay hefty legal fees out of their own pocket that most individual people cannot afford to pay. In this way, it is an equalizer between personal injury accident victims and wrongdoers, who often have deep-pocketed insurance companies and armies of well-financed defense attorneys on their side whose mission it is to prevent injured people from being fairly compensated when they are victimized by negligence. The “contingency” fee structure allows the injured victim to hire top personal injury lawyers who will be on their side and who will bear the costs of litigation on their behalf, which can be astronomical.

The “contingency” fee arrangement also allows personal injury accident victims peace of mind in knowing that their lawyers are truly on their side. This is because, with a “contingency” fee, the more money the client receives, the greater the personal injury lawyer’s fee; and so the client can be sure that their personal injury lawyer will get them the maximum amount of compensation that is available to them under the law, and will do so in the most-efficient way possible. Unlike lawyers who bill by the hour who have no financial stake in the outcome of their client’s case and who are paid more the longer a lawsuit lasts regardless of the ultimate outcome, lawyers who work on “contingency” are not incentivized to drag out a case nor to perform work with little or no value to the client’s chances of receiving fair compensation.

For a free consultation with a winning New York personal injury lawyer, all you have to do is call Jesse Minc at (718) 354-8000, or contact him by email through his website at personalinjurylawyersbronx.com. He has recovered millions for his clients, and will personally review your case to determine whether you may have a winning New York personal injury case.

As a practical matter, in most personal injury cases, New York personal injury lawyers pay 100% their clients’ expenses related to a personal injury lawsuit from inception through the time the case is resolved, and are only repaid out of the proceeds of the case if their client receives compensation. This arrangement – in which the personal injury lawyer pays all of the case expenses – is part of the “contingency” fee retainer that most reputable personal injury lawyers use when representing injured people in New York. This arrangement is critical to providing personal injury accident victims access to the justice that they deserve, as the expenses associated with bringing a personal injury lawsuit are often far too high for an accident victim to pay on their own.

When selecting a New York personal injury lawyer, you should be aware that there are several ways in which case expenses can be handled. Under New York law – and, more specifically, pursuant to N.Y.C.R.R. § 806.27 – personal injury accident victims are entitled to two options with respect to case expenses. When discussing a retainer with a personal injury attorney, you should ask the lawyer to explain these options to you in detail and how they will impact the relationship between you and your personal injury lawyer.

The first option, which is recommended by most reputable New York personal injury lawyers, is as follows: The retainer agreement provides that the personal injury law firm will pay 100% of the case expenses, and will only be repaid out of the proceeds of the case if the client receives compensation. As the case proceeds, the personal injury lawyers pay expenses as they arise, and keep a ledger of all expenses charged to the case that the client can ask to review at any time. When the case resolves, the personal injury lawyer takes his or her fee – generally 33.33% - out of the gross recovery, the expenses are then deducted from the amount remaining after the legal fee is paid, and the client keeps the remaining portion of the funds recovered. Under this arrangement, if your case settles for $3,000,000.00 and $25,000.00 in expenses were incurred during the case, the personal injury lawyer will take a fee of $1,000,000.00, subtract the $25,000.00 from the remaining $2,000,000.00, and the client will receive $1,975,000.00. In the event that your case is not successful, reputable personal injury lawyers do not ask their clients to repay any of the expenses incurred during the prosecution of the case, though some retainer agreements do allow the personal injury lawyer to seek repayment of the expenses from the client (again, reputable personal injury lawyers do not normally do this).

The second option, which is available but not usually recommended by reputable New York personal injury lawyers, differs from the first option as follows: As the case proceeds, the client is responsible for paying the case expenses, however large or small they may be. When the case resolves, the personal injury attorney’s fee is calculated as 33.33% of the recovery net of expenses, which the client has paid out of his or her own pocket. Under this arrangement, if your case settles for $3,000,000.00, and $25,000.00 in expenses were incurred during the case, the personal injury lawyer will take a fee of $991,666.67 (equal to 33.33% of $2,975,000.00) and the client will keep $2,008,333.33. Minus the $25,000.00 already paid by the client in the form of case expenses, the net client recovery is $1,983,333.33. However, if the case is not successful, the client will not be repaid the $25,000.00 in expenses he or she incurred.

Finally, in New York medical malpractice cases, the arrangement is a hybrid of the two options available in non-medical malpractice cases. Under New York Judiciary Law § 474-a, New York medical malpractice attorneys must pay all of the case expenses as the case proceeds. If the case is successful, the expenses are subtracted from the gross recovery, and the attorneys’ fee is determined by applying the “sliding scale” contingency percentage to the recovery amount net of case expenses. If the case is not successful, reputable New York medical malpractice attorneys do not ask their clients to repay case expenses in most circumstances.

For a free consultation with a winning New York personal injury lawyer, all you have to do is call Jesse Minc at (718) 354-8000, or contact him by email through his website at personalinjurylawyersbronx.com. He has recovered millions for his clients, and will personally review your case to determine whether you may have a winning New York personal injury case.

Choosing the right personal injury attorney to represent you in your personal injury case is an extremely important decision. Though it is true that there are many well-qualified, experienced New York personal injury lawyers to choose from, choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case is not always about picking the lawyer that promises you the most money based on their past results. Remember: Every case is different, and the results that a personal injury lawyer has achieved in the past does not in any way guarantee you the same type of success in your case.

First and foremost, you should make sure that you select a personal injury lawyer with whom you are personally comfortable, with whom you have a good personal rapport, and who you think you can firmly trust. You must trust that, when your personal injury lawyer tells you something, it is the truth; you must believe that your personal injury lawyer has your best interests in mind, not their own best interests. This is because you and your personal injury lawyer will be working together as a team to win your case; your personal injury lawyer, no matter how much experience he or she has, cannot be successful without a solid partnership of trust with you, the client. After all, it is your personal injury case, and you need a personal injury lawyer who understands your case and its effects on your life so that he or she can effectively advocate on your behalf. You must be comfortable putting your future in your personal injury lawyer’s hands, and trust that he or she will do what is best for your and your family’s future.

For example, in searching for a personal injury lawyer, you should be wary of any attorneys who do not speak to or meet with you personally during the interview process, as this may indicate that, as your case proceeds, the lawyer may leave the handling of your case to his or her staff and not give it the personal attention that it deserves. Also, as your case proceeds, if your personal injury attorney does not communicate openly with you, taking your calls and answering your questions about your case, you should be concerned. You need to be able to trust the advice that your personal injury attorney gives you as the case proceeds; as, for example, if a settlement offer is made and you have to decide between accepting a settlement and taking your case to trial, you need to be able to trust that your lawyer is giving you advice with your best interests in mind rather than his or her own. If you and your lawyer do not have an open line of honest communication, it may be hard to trust that they truly have your best interests in mind.

Two other extremely important factors in selecting a personal injury attorney include their firm’s level of experience with cases similar to yours, as well as the firm’s ability to finance your case however expensive the litigation may become. Experience is important because, if a personal injury lawyer has been involved in similar cases in the past, he or she is much more likely to be able to anticipate and account for issues that may arise as the case proceeds. Experience will allow the personal injury attorney to create a winning strategy from the beginning, rather than having to play catch-up with the defense team who is likely to be comprised of very experienced defense attorneys whose mission it is to prevent you from obtaining the compensation you deserve. Finally, because personal injury litigation can require the expenditure of astronomical amounts of money over the course of many years (by, for example, hiring qualified experts, preparing convincing exhibits to illustrate key concepts for the jury at trial, filing costly appeals, etc.), picking a personal injury law firm with the financial wherewithal to finance your case from inception and also to be able to stay in the fight as long as it may last is key to being able to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.

For a free consultation with a winning New York personal injury lawyer, all you have to do is call Jesse Minc at (718) 354-8000, or contact him by email through his website at personalinjurylawyersbronx.com. He is committed to obtaining maximum compensation for every one of his clients in their personal case, and will do the same for you if he accepts your case.

For example, in searching for a personal injury lawyer, you should be wary of any attorneys who do not speak to or meet with you personally during the interview process, as this may indicate that, as your case proceeds, the lawyer may leave the handling of your case to his or her staff and not give it the personal attention that it deserves.  Also, as your case proceeds, if your personal injury attorney does not communicate openly with you, taking your calls and answering your questions about your case, you should be concerned.  You need to be able to trust the advice that your personal injury attorney gives you as the case proceeds; as, for example, if a settlement offer is made and you have to decide between accepting a settlement and taking your case to trial, you need to be able to trust that your lawyer is giving you advice with your best interests in mind rather than his or her own.  If you and your lawyer do not have an open line of honest communication, it may be hard to trust that they truly have your best interests in mind.

Two other extremely important factors in selecting a personal injury attorney include their firm’s level of experience with cases similar to yours, as well as the firm’s ability to finance your case however expensive the litigation may become.  Experience is important because, if a personal injury lawyer has been involved in similar cases in the past, he or she is much more likely to be able to anticipate and account for issues that may arise as the case proceeds.  Experience will allow the personal injury attorney to create a winning strategy from the beginning, rather than having to play catch-up with the defense team who is likely to be comprised of very experienced defense attorneys whose mission it is to prevent you from obtaining the compensation you deserve.  Finally, because personal injury litigation can require the expenditure of astronomical amounts of money over the course of many years (by, for example, hiring qualified experts, preparing convincing exhibits to illustrate key concepts for the jury at trial, filing costly appeals, etc.), picking a personal injury law firm with the financial wherewithal to finance your case from inception and also to be able to stay in the fight as long as it may last is key to being able to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.

For a free consultation with a winning New York personal injury lawyer, all you have to do is call Jesse Minc at (718) 354-8000, or contact him by email through his website at personalinjurylawyersbronx.com.  He is committed to obtaining maximum compensation for every one of his clients in their personal case, and will do the same for you if he accepts your case.