Who can be held responsible when a person is injured in New York?
The law of personal injury concerns the determination of who may be responsible for your injuries and how much they should be required to pay for your damages. Personal injury is a form of tort law, the legal term that includes many types of injuries to people and their property. Every tort claim must include four basic elements including duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate cause. The defendant must have a legal duty toward the plaintiff. The defendant must have violated that legal duty. The plaintiff must have suffered some harm for which the law allows an award of monetary damages. The defendant's breach of a legal duty must be related to the plaintiff's injury closely enough to be considered a proximate cause of the injury.
There are a number of principles that apply to the law of torts and personal injury. These principles recognize degrees of fault on the part of the person who causes the injury. In general, the degrees of fault can be described as negligence, intentional fault, and strict liability.
The term negligence is essential to tort law. Everyone is expected to take ordinary reasonable care to ensure that their action or the actions of others under their control, do not cause anyone harm. If they fall below that standard of care, and someone is injured or their property damaged, then they become negligent. Negligence does not mean that the person deliberately intended to cause harm; it only means that they did not take reasonable care or they did not act when any reasonable person would have. The degree of care varies with the circumstances of each case. Likewise, a plaintiff has a duty to exercise reasonable care on his own behalf, and his ability to recover may be adjusted according to his actions as well.
Strict liability means that one does not have to prove the defendant was negligent in order to recover damages. In the case of product liability, the law now holds that you do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent if someone is injured while using a product. The only proof required is that the product was defective when it left the hands of the particular seller and that was the proximate cause of the injuries. A lawsuit can be brought against anyone participating in the chain of manufacture for that product, from the manufacturer, to the designer to the retail store.
An intentional tort refers to a personal injury caused by a person who has the intent to cause harm. It may also refer to injury caused by willful or reckless conduct. Intentional torts include assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel and slander, etc.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Personal Injury Articles
- Personal Injury Law in New York
- New York Personal Injury: Basic Concepts
- I was injured in New York. Can I file a lawsuit against the party that caused my injury?
- How Can I Determine How Much My Claim Is Worth?
- What is the collateral source rule and how does it affect my personal injury case in New York?
- What to expect in a personal injury trial in New York.