What are the Rules for Compensation in a NY 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.