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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

How to Determine Negligence and Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case




Sustaining injuries after an accident or medical malpractice can be life-changing, leaving you feeling lost and unsure of what to do next. If you're wondering if you have a case, it's important to understand the concept of negligence. In this blog post, we'll define what negligence is and provide you with steps to help you determine whether you have a personal injury case or not.


Negligence is when someone's carelessness or reckless behavior causes injury or harm to another person. In a personal injury case, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff or the person who suffered the injury. It's important to understand that just because you were in an accident or suffered a medical injury doesn't always mean you have a case. However, if the other party acted negligently, you may be entitled to compensation. For instance, if a doctor fails to diagnose a patient's illness, and that leads to the patient's condition worsening, the doctor can be held responsible for the patient's damages.


To determine if you have a personal injury case, consider the following steps. Firstly, establish whether the other party owed you a duty of care. This means that they had an obligation to reasonably care for your safety. For instance, a doctor owes their patient the duty to provide competent medical care. Secondly, establish whether the other party breached their duty of care. This means that they failed to fulfill their responsibility to care for your well-being. Thirdly, determine whether the other party's breach of duty of care caused your injury. Finally, determine whether you suffered any damages as a result of your injury, such as lost wages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering.


Here are some examples of serious injury cases where people may not know they have a case:

1. Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist fails to provide the standard of care another reasonable medical professional would have provided in similar circumstances. Common medical malpractice cases include birth injuries, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and medication errors.


2. Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and fall accidents may occur due to wet floors, poorly lit areas, uneven pavement, or other hazardous conditions. Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises and ensure they are safe for visitors.


3. Car Accidents: Car accidents can result from distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, faulty equipment, or other causes. If a driver's negligence caused your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.


4. Defective Products: If a manufacturer produces a product that is defective or dangerous and it causes harm, the manufacturer can be held liable for the damages.

To prove negligence, you need to show the following elements:


It's essential to keep in mind that personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, meaning that there is a time limit for you to file a lawsuit. In New York, the general statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. However, some cases, such as medical malpractice and assaults for example, require shorter deadlines. Therefore, it's crucial to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive any compensation you're entitled to.


If you plan to sue a municipality in New York, it's crucial to understand that different deadlines apply than in a standard personal injury case. The statute of limitations is considerably shorter when a lawsuit involves a government entity. You typically have only 30 to 90 days to file a Notice of Claim. A Notice of Claim is a document informing the municipality of your intention to sue, providing details of the incident and the nature of the claim. It's a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against a municipality, and missing this deadline can lead to a dismissal of your case.


In conclusion, determining negligence is essential in personal injury cases. By understanding what negligence is and following the steps we have provided, you can make informed decisions about whether you have a personal injury case or not. Remember, personal injury cases have deadlines, so it's important to act fast and contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. As a personal injury lawyer in New York with the firm Leitner Varughese Warywoda, we are committed to helping our clients receive the compensation they deserve. If you're looking for a personal injury lawyer in New York, don't hesitate to contact us.


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