Negligence is the determining factor used in all personal injury claims. It is the most common source for civil litigation in New York and in order to achieve a successful claim, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant(s) negligence or reckless behavior was the direct/indirect cause of their injury. Negligence laws in New York define the term as a “failure to behave or perform a task within the same level of care a reasonable person would provide under similar circumstances.”
In order to fully understand and prove negligence, it is best that you consult with a skilled attorney. Proving negligence often entails convincing the court that:
- Duty – The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty or responsibility to act within a reasonable manner. For example, a doctor is required to treat a patient while a driver of a vehicle is required to operate that vehicle in accordance with all laws, regulations and in a responsible manner.
- Breach of Duty – The defendant must have then breached their owed duty to the plaintiff by failing to act within a reasonable manner.
- Cause – The plaintiff must prove to the courts that the defendant’s breach was the direct/indirect cause of their injuries.
- Damages – In order to have a valid claim, the plaintiff must also show that the breach of duty caused the plaintiff to suffer damages. If no damages occurred, there is no valid claim.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence Laws in New York
An attorney that handles personal injury claims in New York often must anticipate potential defenses that the defendant will use in the case. They must then also develop potential arguments against these anticipated defenses to ensure their plaintiff’s settlement is not dramatically reduced. These arguments and anticipations are almost as important as adhering to the state’s strict statute of limitations laws.
In New York, contributory negligence refers to the plaintiff’s own negligence in the case. If the plaintiff’s negligence is a factor in the injury or accident, the plaintiff could be disqualified from compensation. In New York, contributory negligence was the standard practice of law before 1975. However, after 1975, the state has changed their laws to focus on comparative negligence instead.
Comparative negligence or pure comparative fault is the standard in New York. Under the comparative negligence statutes, the plaintiff can still be negligent and contribute to the injury or accident and receive compensation. The courts will instead decide the percentage of fault the plaintiff contributed and then reduce their settlement based on that percentage of contribution.
Gross Negligence Laws in New York
Gross negligence plays a pivotal role in determining if punitive damages are awarded in a civil case. Gross negligence only applies if the defendant acted in a conscious or reckless disregard for the plaintiff’s safety. This is more serious than generalized negligence.
Speak with a New York Personal Injury Attorney Regarding the Negligence Factors in Your Claim
After a serious injury, it is important that you consult with a New York personal injury attorney. An attorney can determine if gross or comparative negligence laws apply to your claim and how they can impact the settlement. Schedule a consultation with Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. today to discuss the negligence laws in your case at 1-877-737-4806 or contact us online.