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Frequently Asked Questions


Personal injury law refers to the area of law that involves civil law cases designed to obtain compensation for personal injury. Initially, the personal injury attorney usually tries to negotiate with the opposing party or their insurance company. If necessary, and if the attorney thinks you have a good chance of winning, the case may go to trial. The main concerns in an injury case are negligence and liability. Before you can collect an award, your attorney will have to prove that the defendant is liable. To prove liability, the attorney must establish negligence. If there is a failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury or damage then there may be negligence. Once liability and negligence have been established, the judge or the jury may award money to compensate for medical costs, lost wages and lost future earnings as well as for pain and suffering.

What is Personal Injury?

A Personal Injury is any physical or mental injury to a person as a result of someone's negligence or harmful act. Sometimes personal injury may be referred to as bodily injury. Personal injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. The following are some of the most common accidents resulting in injury:

  • Auto Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Dangerous or Defective Product Injuries (Product Liability)
  • Aviation Accidents
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Workers Compensation
  • Wrongful Death Accidents
  • Toxic Exposure
  • Home Accidents
  • Dog Bites

What financial compensation can I recover in a personal injury claim?

New York personal injury victims are entitled to recover money damages for all losses and expenses they incur as a result of an accident. The damages may include the following.

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages (including overtime)
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Physical Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent Scars
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Mental Anguish
  • Loss of Enjoyment
  • Loss of Love & Affection
  • Embarrassment
  • Mental Disability
  • Property Damage
  • All Out-of-Pocket Expenses (transportation charges, house cleaning, grass cutting, and others)

How do I know if I have a case?

In New York, to have an injury case, you must be able to show that you have been injured. This may be a physical injury or it may be an emotional injury. In addition, you must be able to show that someone else (the defendant) is at fault for your injury under a negligence, strict liability or intentional misconduct theory. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to show that the other party is more at fault for the injury than you are.

How do I know if I may need an attorney?

If you have been seriously injured or are unsure as to the outcome of your injury, then an experienced personal injury attorney should always be consulted before you give any statements or sign any papers of any kind and as soon after your injury as possible. In a serious injury case, you are better off hiring an attorney as soon as possible. There is a statute of limitations that requires you to file a lawsuit within a specific period of time, depending upon the circumstances of your case, or else you will be prohibited from obtaining any compensation for your injuries. An attorney will be able to help you keep within the statute of limitations.

What is a Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is a fee that is used by lawyers in most injury cases. It is contingent when the fee is conditioned upon your attorney's successfully resolution of your case. A contingent fee is paid as a percentage of your monetary recovery. A contingent fee is what is meant when you hear "there is no fee unless there is a recovery". The client is generally responsible for the out-of-pocket costs of litigation. Contingency fees are usually one third of what you win from the case.

If I have an injury case do I have to go to court?

Most personal injury cases are settled out of court between opposing lawyers or by the insurance company. If a case does go to trial you most likely will have to appear so that your testimony can be heard.

If you or someone you know in New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island (Nassau/Suffolk County), needs the assistance of an experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer, call Sullivan and Sullivan L.L.P. today at 516-746-6446, or use the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.