If you have been injured in any type of accident, you are likely wondering if you have sufficient grounds for a personal injury case. As personal injury lawyers in Ithaca, Syracuse and Auburn, NY, Littman & Babiarz is often asked questions like:
- What makes a valid personal injury claim?
- I was injured at work. Should I file a personal injury claim or a worker’s compensation claim?
- Why should I file a personal injury claim after an accident?
Littman & Babiarz is a personal injury law firm in Auburn, NY that handles both personal injury and worker’s compensation claims. We can help you determine if you have a valid personal injury case in a variety of circumstances.
Three Basic Requirements for a Personal Injury Claim
In order for any personal injury claim to be valid in New York, it must meet three basic legal requirements. These are:
- Negligence – The party responsible for the accident was negligent in their actions or lack of actions. For example, a driver ignored a stop sign and struck your vehicle.
- Personal Injury as a Result of Negligence – The negligence of criteria #1 above caused your personal injury. For example, you sustained head, neck and back injuries as a result of the driver who ran the stop sign and struck your vehicle.
- The Personal Injury Caused You Harm – The injuries you sustained because of the other driver’s negligence caused you harm and are worthy of compensation. Your injuries will likely result in medical bills, lost wages and even pain and suffering that you would not otherwise have incurred. These are known legally as compensatory damages.
Personal Injury Claims and Worker’s Compensation
Worker’s Compensation insurance is a requirement for almost all employers to protect their employees in case they become injured while at work. This coverage pays for your medical expenses and some wage remuneration if you cannot work because of your injury, regardless of who was at fault for your injury.
Fault has no bearing on worker’s compensation claims. In fact, you could be completely and solely at fault for an accident at work that causes you an injury, and worker’s compensation is still available to cover your medical treatment, unless you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In exchange for these guaranteed benefits, in most cases an employee cannot sue their employer or a co-worker in a personal injury lawsuit. You may file a personal injury lawsuit if you become injured on the job, but the focus of the lawsuit must be against another third party that was negligent and caused the accident. Some examples of this may include:
- Your injury while on the job was directly caused by a third party’s negligence, and this party does not work for your employer.
- The negligence that caused your injury involved the use of alcohol or drugs on the part of another party.
- You were injured as a direct result of a defective product; in this case, the product manufacturer would be the object of your personal injury claim.
- Your employer engaged in intentional action that was likely to cause harm or death to their employees.
Why Should I File a Personal Injury Case?
Many accident victims wonder if it is in their best interests to file a personal injury claim. Littman & Babiarz, personal injury attorneys in Syracuse, can offer specific advice in your case; however, the general answer is yes, it is usually in your best interest.
Personal injury claims are eligible for substantially more compensation than a worker’s compensation claim. Worker’s compensation covers medical expenses and some wage replacement. A personal injury case may be able to gain you compensation for the following:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity for the future
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Permanent impairment or disability
- Punitive damages
- Loss of consortium with your spouse
Do you have a personal injury case? Do you need help in determining the best course of action for yourself and your family? Call Littman & Babiarz, personal injury lawyers in Ithaca, Syracuse and Auburn, NY, at 607-277-7527 for a free and confidential consultation. We can provide advice and answer your questions about choosing the best path for your future.