If you’ve ever been involved in a personal injury case, you know how complex these situations can be.
According to the National Injury Council, over 400,000 individuals file personal injury cases yearly in the United States—but only 4-5% of those cases ever go to trial.
Personal injury cases frequently go unresolved because they are complicated—particularly in New York State.
Learn more about the key factors that make personal injury law a complicated field—and how qualified Bronx personal injury lawyers can help you overcome them.
New York State Law Has a Strict Definition of Personal Injury
The first factor contributing to the complexities of personal injury law is the definition of the term under New York State law.
Personal injury is any injury caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior—or an action covered by strict liability.
This definition is relatively strict, and certain factors can be hard to prove. For example, proving negligence is often complex and requires expertise.
Personal injuries may include:
- Auto Accidents
- Slip/Trip & Fall
- Work Site Accidents (Especially Construction)
- Medical malpractice & police misconduct
- Wrongful Death
- Battery & Assault
- False Accusations (Defamation & Libel)
- Product Liability
- Infliction of Emotional Distress
The Court Must Determine the Duty of Care
In a personal injury case, the defendant must have had a duty to prevent harm or protect the plaintiff from accidents.
Although this sounds relatively simple, there are multiple legally recognized levels of care.
The most straightforward cases are those in which the defendant had a clear responsibility to protect the claimant—as an employer must protect her employees, for example.
Other levels of care include:
- Negligence: It is everyone’s responsibility not to be negligent—that is, to willfully ignore the wellbeing of others. Attorneys must determine if a reasonable person would foresee that their actions may cause harm.
- Recklessness: This refers to the duty of having regard for others. It is harder to prove than negligence, but if utter disregard is established, it may lead to personal injury.
- Intent: All New York State residents are not obligated to inflict harm on others intentionally. If the purpose is clear, there is personal injury.
- Strict Liability: Strict Liability is typically stipulated in a contract or agreement ahead of time. If this agreement is breached, there was personal injury.
Each of these terms is ambiguous and difficult to prove. However, a reasonable attorney can typically navigate the situation with ease.
Attorneys Must Prove Proximate Cause
Proximate cause is a legal term that refers to the degree to which one person can be held responsible for harm to another.
Attorneys must prove proximate cause by demonstrating that, though not necessarily the only cause of the injury, the defendant’s actions were nearly and most likely the cause.
Proximate cause is often challenging to prove since several factors contribute to a personal injury case. If the defendant’s actions indirectly caused the incident, it does not qualify as a proximate cause.
Providing the Necessary Evidence Requires Documentation
This factor is among the most significant reasons personal injury law is complex.
Many plaintiffs, understandably rattled by their experiences, forget or neglect to gather the appropriate evidence for their cases.
This is not a moral failing, but it can complicate cases further.
If you face a personal injury case, remember to gather as much concrete evidence as possible and refrain from tampering or interfering with evidence, as this could render it invalid in court.
Attorneys Must Provide Expertise & Personalized Attention
Personal injury law is a relatively saturated field. As a result, many attorneys who practice personal injury law may need more qualifications to understand a case.
Alternatively, some lawyers take on too many clients and are thus incapable of dedicating the necessary attention and resources to individual plaintiffs.
Choosing the right attorney is extremely important in the realm of personal injury.
Although personal injury law is relatively complicated, having the right attorney can significantly simplify and expedite your case.
If you are facing a personal injury case or wish to initiate the process, find a qualified attorney as soon as possible. The proper legal support can make all the difference.