Personal injury law is a broad area of civil law in New York, and injured parties may be able to file personal injury claims after sustaining serious injuries in many different types of accidents and situations. Many personal injury claims are brought on a theory of negligence, when means that the injured party—the plaintiff—will need to prove that the other party was negligent in order to be eligible for compensation.
In some types of personal injury cases, however, a lawsuit can be brought on a different legal theory, such as strict liability. While each type of personal injury claim will have its own specific facts, it is important to learn about common mistakes to avoid in order to be eligible to obtain financial compensation for your serious injuries. The following are frequent mistakes that you can avoid by seeking advice from a Rochester personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Failing to Gather Evidence at the Injury Scene When You Plan to File a Negligence Claim
If you fail to gather evidence at the injury scene, you may not be able to prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries. While evidence can take many different forms depending upon the facts of your personal injury case, injured parties typically should take a wide variety of photographs at the scene where they were injured, and they should seek contact information from any witnesses.
Not Understanding the Legal Theory Behind Your Claim
If you do not understand whether you are bringing a lawsuit based on a theory of negligence or strict liability, you may fail to obtain the type of evidence you need to win your case, and you may fail to prove the necessary elements of the claim.
As we mentioned briefly above, when a case is brought on a theory of negligence, a plaintiff needs to be able to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care and breached that duty of care by being negligent. What “negligence” looks like is different depending upon the type of injury lawsuit. For example, in a slip and fall case, a plaintiff will need to prove that the property owner failed to remedy a dangerous condition on the property or failed to warn about a hazard. Differently, in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff will need to prove that the healthcare provider did not act reasonably according to other healthcare providers in the same geographic area and medical field.
Differently, with strict liability, an injured person does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent. Instead, in a product liability lawsuit for example, the injured plaintiff only needs to prove that the defendant manufactured, designed, or marketed the defective product, and that the plaintiff suffered injuries from use of the product. A Rochester personal injury attorney can clarify the elements you will need to prove to win your claim and can develop a strategy tailored to the particular facts of your case.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer After Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
Many people who are injured in a car accident begin the process of seeking financial compensation by filing an auto insurance claim. Often, when an injured claimant is not working with a personal injury attorney, she or he will accept the first settlement offer from an auto insurance company. In many cases, by working with a car accident lawyer, you will be able to negotiate a higher settlement and, if necessary, will be able to file a subsequent lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After the Statute of Limitations Has Passed
Each type of personal injury case in New York has a specific statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a time window in which an injured plaintiff can file a lawsuit against the liable or at-fault party. Most negligence claims and product liability lawsuits have a three-year statute of limitations, but many medical malpractice claims have a shorter statute of limitations. One of the biggest mistakes an injury victim can make is failing to hire a personal injury lawyer before the statute of limitations runs out, and thus failing to file a claim on time. Once the clock on the statute of limitations runs out, the injury will have a time-barred claim. Such a situation can be tragic when an aggressive personal injury lawyer could have gotten the lawsuit filed in a timely manner and obtained a fair verdict or settlement for the injured party.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Rochester, NY
If you need help seeking compensation for your injuries, one of the aggressive Rochester personal injury attorneys at our firm can begin working on your case immediately. Contact King Law online or call our office at 585-270-8882 to learn more about the value of a personal injury lawyer who fights for financial compensation on behalf of injury victims.