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DUTY-OF-CARE-scaledTo prove fault in most personal injury lawsuits, a plaintiff must show that the defendant was negligent. Victims have the burden of demonstrating four legal elements to prove negligence. The first element of negligence is the at-fault party’s duty of care. Typically, this is one of the easiest elements to prove because everyone has a basic obligation to avoid unnecessarily injuring others. The duty to act appropriately is relevant in almost every situation and is often assumed by being in another’s vicinity. In other words, you must implement the same degree of caution and consideration that a reasonable person would exercise given the same situation. Someone does not need to assume the duty of care to another party voluntarily. It can be imposed just by being in a specific place at a specific time.  

Breaching The Duty Of Care 

The defendant does not need to know you to owe you reasonable care. However, the duty can be based on the relationship of the parties. Additionally, according to New York law, those in certain positions or professions can be held to a higher standard of care to prevent harm. After determining that a defendant owed you a duty of care, you must show how they breached it. A breach arises when an individual’s actions or inactions fail to meet the appropriate standard of care. When a defendant is required to act a certain way and fails to do so, they may be regarded as having breached their duty. Depending on the circumstances, the standard can be breached in numerous ways. Some common examples of breaches include: 

Common-Defenses-Blog-300x149If you have suffered severe injuries in an accident caused by someone else, it only seems fitting that the person or business should be held liable for your losses. Unfortunately, personal injury cases are not always as straightforward as most people think. While the victim has to prove that the other party was negligent, it is not uncommon to see the insurance adjusters or defense lawyers raise defenses. When certain defenses are successfully demonstrated, at-fault individuals may be able to wholly or partially avoid legal responsibility.

Affirmative Defenses 

Defense lawyers often try to do everything possible to minimize or even eliminate the amount of compensation that a plaintiff rightfully deserves. When an affirmative defense is brought up, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to demonstrate it. If the defendant successfully proves a defense, the plaintiff can try to disprove it. Defenses commonly asserted in injury lawsuits include: 

Punitive-Damages-300x225In a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff may be eligible to obtain damages for their losses resulting from a defendant’s negligence. These damages are typically compensatory, meaning that they are designed to compensate victims for their actual injuries. Compensatory damages can be economic and non-economic, such as medical expenses, physical therapy costs, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.  

Punitive damages also referred to as exemplary damages, are another type of damages that can be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish defendants. Exemplary damages are awarded at the court’s discretion when the defendant’s conduct was found to be outrageous. In other words, punitive damages are reserved for instances where the defendant acted so recklessly that they showed extreme disregard for the consequences of their actions. These damages were not explicitly designed to compensate the plaintiffs and are not awarded in every case. 

Negligence Alone Is Insufficient 

Burden-of-Proof-300x200Under New York law, a victim who pursues damages, also known as a plaintiff, has the burden of proof. In other words, the plaintiff must present evidence to establish the legal elements required to prove the particulars of their claim.  

An Affirmative Defense Can Shift The Burden Of Proof

The person or entity being sued, also known as the defendant, is not legally obligated to prove or disprove anything. This means that the defendant does not have to provide any evidence in their defense. If the plaintiff cannot prove all of the elements of their case by a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant will not be held accountable. Nevertheless, the burden of proof can shift if the defendant raises an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense, such as the assumption of risk or comparative fault, can mitigate the consequences of the defendant’s negligent actions against the plaintiff. 

Young-woman-confused-by-insurance-form-300x200Being the victim of an accident can be an extremely traumatic event, especially if you have suffered injuries, property damage, or other significant losses. Even seemingly minor accidents can have disastrous repercussions, such as life-long disabilities, permanent disfigurements, complete paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries. Since most accidents are unpredictable and transpire with little to no warning, victims are usually uncertain about their next steps. The last thing any accident victim wants to worry about is filing the proper forms. With a highly experienced personal injury attorney, the legal process after an accident does not have to be overwhelming. 

The Insurance Claim Process 

Whether you have suffered injuries resulting from a dog bite, slip and fall, or supermarket accident, filing an insurance claim is your first step towards obtaining compensation. Although insurance claims may appear complicated, filing a claim may not be as difficult as you think. It should be completed as soon as reasonably possible. It is essential to realize that New York is a no-fault state. This means that irrespective of who was at fault in a car crash, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to recover damages. 

Special-Damages-300x200Being the victim of an accident resulting from another’s negligence or recklessness can have earth-shattering ramifications. Victims who sustain serious injuries forfeit small fortunes in lost incomes, medical bills, and rehabilitation costs. Not to mention, many suffer from severe physical, psychological, and emotional complications. Obtaining reasonable compensation for your injuries is often the best way to start recovering. After suffering severe accident-related injuries, victims frequently pursue personal injury lawsuits to recoup their losses. One of the main types of compensation that courts award to plaintiffs is called special or economic damages.

Economic Damages Are Easily Verifiable   

Special damages are generally straightforward and easier to authenticate than general damages, like pain and suffering. These damages can be determined without much difficulty because they are based on the victim’s tangible costs. Special damages are designed to help victims return to the same positions that they were in before their accidents. Put simply, the rationale behind special damages is to restore everything that a victim has lost. 

Prove-Negligence-Blog-300x227Suppose you have been seriously injured in an accident because of another’s wrongdoing. You may be eligible to pursue monetary compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, to hold the other party financially liable for your damages, you must first prove that they were negligent. Understanding the legal elements of negligence can help you win your Buffalo, New York injury claim. 

The Reasonable Person Standard 

A reasonable person is somebody who approaches all situations with a sufficient amount of caution before prudently taking action. This was established to provide courts with an objective criterion that can be applied when determining whether a defendant’s actions constitute negligence. In other words, a jury must decide what a reasonable person would have done under conditions similar to the defendants. After comparing the defendant’s conduct to that of a reasonable person, they may find that the defendant was negligent if their conduct failed to meet the reasonable person’s standard. 

Compensation-300x200Victims often turn to personal injury claims to recoup their losses after being injured in accidents. If the verdict is in the plaintiff’s favor, they can obtain a monetary award for their losses. One type of damage awarded to victims is called compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are designed to pay victims money to cover the costs related to their injuries and other losses. In other words, this type of damage is awarded to compensate plaintiffs for the actual losses they have suffered. For instance, if a careless motorist smashed into your car and totaled it, the compensatory damages would equal the fair market value of your vehicle when it was demolished, minus the salvage value or any usable parts. The two types of compensatory damages that courts can award to plaintiffs are special damages and general damages.

Special Damages 

Special damages are quantifiable and easily calculated because they are based upon the actual costs incurred by a victim because of the accident. These damages are intended to replace everything that was lost and nothing more. In addition to hospital bills and other medical expenses, victims can obtain compensation for damage to property, lost wages, and other related out-of-pocket expenses. The amount awarded to a victim is based on a set formula because these losses can be easily proven and verified by concrete evidence. Some other common examples of special damages include:

Choose-the-right-lawyer-300x200Victims suffer injuries in tens of millions of severe accidents every year, such as slips and falls, collisions, and dog bites. Most of these injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence or even recklessness. The consequences of being involved in an accident can range from serious personal injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder to the destruction of property and costly hospital bills. Over 40 million accident victims require medical care due to various personal injuries each year. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering what type of lawyer to call.

Personal Injury Attorneys Help Accident Victims

If you, or a family member, have been injured in an accident that was caused by another’s carelessness, a personal injury lawyer is someone who can provide you with legal representation. Personal injury lawyers specialize in tort law, including negligent and intentional acts. This type of attorney focuses on pursuing monetary compensation for accident victims through civil litigation. It is crucial to choose a lawyer who has significant experience litigating the type of injury related to your case.

Medical-Bills-300x200Injured accident victims often wonder if they will receive compensation for their hospital bills and other medical expenses. In personal injury lawsuits involving slips and falls, dog bites, or even food poisonings, tortfeasors are supposed to pay the victims. However, consulting with a highly experienced personal injury attorney is extremely important. Obtaining the right legal advice and proper guidance can make a huge difference in receiving enough compensation to cover your medical bills.  

Who Is Responsible For Paying Car Accident-Related Medical Expenses?

Suppose that you, or someone close to you, have been injured in a Buffalo, New York car accident. Regardless of who was responsible, your auto insurance company will pay your medical bills. As such, both drivers and their passengers must file claims against the no-fault insurance coverage of the vehicle that they were in. Personal injury protection coverage is intended to pay accident victims for their hospital bills and other economic damages. The minimum no-fault insurance coverage will pay up to $50,000 for medical costs, lost earnings, and certain other expenses. In severe collisions involving catastrophic injuries or fatalities, victims may be eligible to pursue additional damages against the liable driver.

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