How do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Case?
You may have a personal injury case if you were injured because someone else was negligent. 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.