Your husband tripped and fell on a broken step while on his way to see a movie at the Downing Film Center and hurt his neck. Your mother-in-law got food poisoning from the cheese at an artist's reception at the Ann Street Gallery. You were misdiagnosed at St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital and suffered harm from unnecessary procedures. Personal injuries can happen in various ways and can be confusing and upsetting to everyone involved. Here is some basic information to assist you when you or your loved one has a personal injury in Newburgh.
To get a comprehensive overview of personal injury law in general, you may wish to start by checking out FindLaw's Accidents and Injuries section. You can then refer back here for some additional information specific to Newburgh.
Dealing With Insurance
One of the first things you will likely do following a personal injury (after addressing any medical needs and preserving any evidence) is interact with an insurance company. This might be your insurer, the other party's, or both. Here is a useful guide that explains the insurance claims process. Remember that you are not required to accept a settlement an insurance company offers, and that you may well wish to consult an attorney before agreeing to anything. If you want to file a complaint against an insurer, you may do so through the New York Department of Financial Services. Here is some useful information for consumers from their website.
Taking Legal Action
Depending on the extent of the injuries, you may wish to speak with an injury attorney to discuss your case. FindLaw's section on Using a Personal Injury Lawyer has some good information to help you figure out whether you need an attorney and how to move forward if you do.
Remember that if you proceed with legal action there are timeframes within which you must act or risk being prohibited from ever bringing your claim. These are called statutes of limitations, and generally, in Newburgh and the rest of New York, you will have 3 years to bring a personal injury action.
For claims up to $15,000, you will likely bring your suit in the Newburgh City Court. That court can also handle Small Claims up to $5,000. For claims above $15,000, but up to $25,000 you may file in the Orange County Court. For amounts over $25,000, the Orange County Supreme Court has jurisdiction.
Who Is At Fault?
In a personal injury case, it is not always easy to determine who is at fault. In many personal injury cases, one party alleges that the other party acted negligently. To act negligently is basically to act in a careless fashion, causing or contributing to an accident.
Many times, however, both parties act negligently. If you acted negligently in your Newburgh personal injury are you barred from recovering from the other party? In a few states the answer is yes. Fortunately, in New York, however, under the theory of comparative negligence, you are still able to pursue your claim against the other party, although your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
So, for example, if you are claiming damages of $10,000 and you were 40% at fault, you would still be able to pursue your claim against the other party for $6,000 or 60%.
What Can You Recover?
Recovery in personal injury cases is generally described in terms of "damages." Damages refer to monetary compensation for your injuries, and include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Check out FindLaw's section on Injury Damages for more information.
What If the Injury Happens At Work?
Generally speaking, workplace injury claims are processed separately through the workers' compensation system. If you are injured at work, tell your employer right away and get appropriate medical treatment. If you lose time from work, you should also complete a claim for workers' compensation and mail it to the Albany District Office of the New York Workers' Compensation Board. You can refer here to frequently asked questions about on the job injuries or illnesses.
Contact a qualified attorney.