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Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyers in Brooklyn, NY

There is no shortage of traffic and scaffolding in Brooklyn, just as there is anywhere in New York City. That is why car and construction accidents are commonplace in the borough. Unfortunately, these accidents can leave you with debilitating injuries and medical debt building up while you try to heal.

While you can do nothing about your injuries except rest and recover, you can talk to a personal injury attorney in Brooklyn about your legal options to help alleviate the financial burdens. If you suffered an injury in a car or construction accident as a result of the careless actions of another party, you may have the opportunity to recover compensation. 

What Are Common Lawsuits for Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyers?

Several types of lawsuits fall under tort law and civil litigation. For example, two common types of personal injury lawsuits in Brooklyn include car accident and construction accident cases.

Others are:

  • Medical malpractice cases involve injuries caused by the negligent action of a medical professional or facility.
  • Product liability cases involve injuries caused by manufacturers producing and distributing a defective product.
  • Wrongful death cases involve a family member or estate executor suing a person for negligently causing the death of their loved one. 
  • Premises liability cases entail an injured person seeking compensation for injuries sustained on someone else’s property.

When you file a lawsuit claiming that the defendant’s negligent action led to your injuries, you are responsible for proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty of care, that the breach resulted in your accident, which led to your injuries. The evidence you need to prove those claims depends on the case, and an experienced personal injury attorney in Brooklyn knows where to collect that evidence.

Construction Accident Lawsuits

Construction Accident Lawsuits

Construction accidents sometimes involve employees of the construction company, contracted workers that do not have direct employment with the company, or bystanders not associated with the company or the worksite.

Suppose you suffered an injury on a construction site while on the job, you can likely avoid the legal process and file a workers’ compensation claim with the company. However, anyone else may need to file a lawsuit to recover any losses associated with the accident and injuries. A Brooklyn construction accident lawyer can help you understand the right avenue, given the details of your case. 

Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuits

Car accidents are the most common type of motor vehicle accident, and Brooklyn has more collisions every year, averaging well over the six-figure mark, than any other NYC borough. Not all car accidents result in a lawsuit.

New York is a no-fault state, which means the state requires all licensed drivers registering a vehicle to carry a minimum of personal injury protection insurance. In the event of an accident, each party turns to personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover damages, eliminating the need to file a lawsuit. 

However, the state recognizes that PIP insurance is not enough to cover the damages incurred from more severe injuries and allows you to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party if your injuries meet the state-mandated threshold for serious injury. Injuries that warrant legal action include:

  • Disfigurement or dismemberment
  • Limitations to a body function or system for at least 90 days within the first 120 days following the accident
  • Permanent limited ability to use a body organ or member
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Broken bones
  • Permanent loss of the use of an organ, member, or body function or system
  • Death

If your injuries meet the standards of serious injury, you should speak to a Brooklyn car accident lawyer about your legal options for compensation. 

What Are the Potential Causes of Construction Accidents?

What Are the Potential Causes of Construction Accidents

Construction workers face consistently dangerous conditions every day on the job. Unfortunately, employers often put saving on costs and getting ahead of schedule above the safety of the workers.

Consider contacting a Brooklyn construction accident lawyer if you suffered an injury related to any of these common accident causes:

  • Unsafe conditions on the property, such as hazards without proper signage
  • Elevated equipment and structures without adequate protection from falling
  • Lack of safety gear 
  • Ignoring necessary protection for workers down in trenches
  • Trip and fall hazards around the site, such as materials and debris obstructing traffic areas
  • Damaged power tools missing safety guards
  • Neglecting necessary precautions near power lines
  • No protection from falling objects
  • Forcing workers to use unsafe equipment
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or materials
  • Crane accidents
  • Welding or electrical accidents
  • Fires

A personal injury attorney in Brooklyn sees construction site accidents regularly. Additionally, they sometimes represent clients not employed by a construction company who suffered injuries on a construction site. For example, if a pedestrian crosses the sidewalk near a construction site and falls over debris left by workers, they can sue for any potential injuries. Similarly, a Brooklyn car accident lawyer may deal with car accidents caused by fallen construction debris or objects left on the road. 

What Laws Affect Construction Accident Cases?

A Brooklyn construction accident lawyer can help you understand what New York laws can affect your case and the potential for compensation. However, the simplest explanation for how you can recover damages after a construction site accident involves two avenues: filing a workers’ compensation claim with the company insurance provider or filing a personal injury lawsuit. 

Workers' Compensation

The state requires every business owner to carry workers compensation insurance to cover employees injured while performing their jobs.

Some important facts you should understand about workers’ compensation are:

  • Any employee injured on the job is eligible for workers’ comp.
  • Workers’ compensation covers the cost of medical treatment associated with your injuries as well as a portion of lost income caused by missed work.
  • Your employer can not retaliate against you or terminate your employment for filing a claim for workers’ comp benefits.
  • Most employers do not challenge claims for workers’ comp.

One of the most important elements to remember about a workers’ compensation claim is that there is no burden to prove fault. In a car accident case, you may need the help of a Brooklyn car accident lawyer to collect evidence and prove liability. However, filing for workers comp is generally a simple process that does not require legal help unless you face challenges from the insurance company or your employer.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

When your injuries directly result from someone else’s negligence, such as an employer failing to provide safety gear, a civil lawsuit is more appropriate. In this case, you could still file a claim for workers comp, but it does not provide compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

You can also recover all of your lost income through a personal injury lawsuit instead of the lesser portion you receive from workers comp. Additionally, the construction industry is extensive in Brooklyn. If at-fault parties do not face the consequences for negligent actions, that behavior may continue, creating more dangerous conditions for other workers. A personal injury lawyer in Brooklyn can help you accurately value your claim and gather evidence to support it.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

There are countless ways that a car accident can occur in Brooklyn. Dangerous road conditions, such as fall debris or broken pavement, can cause a blowout. Inclement weather may result in black ice, causing drivers to lose control on the road. However, most cases seen by a Brooklyn car accident lawyer relate to human error.

Some common examples of car accident causes include:

  • Following too closely. Tailgating is a regular occurrence in congested cities. Most of the time, the resulting accidents are minor, but even a low-speed, rear-end accident can cause whiplash and costly property damage.
  • Speeding. Given the excessive traffic and low speed limits in Brooklyn, speeding is not a high-ranking issue, but it can cause crashes resulting in injuries.
  • Distracted driving. This is a problem for drivers all over the country, but in Brooklyn, the low speeds and traffic can result in drivers feeling comfortable with lessening their attentiveness.
  • Failing to yield right of way. This is mainly a problem for inexperienced drivers, and it causes a vast majority of car accidents in Brooklyn.
  • Passing and changing lanes unsafely. NYC is a busy city. Drivers weaving in and out of traffic are hazardous to other drivers.
  • Drunk driving. One of the most sinister car accident causes is driving under the influence. A personal injury attorney in Brooklyn may even seek punitive damages to punish drunk drivers.

Just as a construction worker may need a Brooklyn construction accident lawyer to deal with pushback from an insurer, a car accident victim may need representation to fight allegations of shared fault and get a fair settlement. A Brooklyn car accident lawyer must collect evidence to corroborate their client’s claim and pinpoint all the recoverable damages.

What Laws Affect Car Accident Cases in Brooklun, NY?

As you comb through the details of your case with your personal injury attorney in Brooklyn, you should understand the laws that affect car accident cases in New York. As with most other states, the two laws governing auto accident cases include the statute of limitations and the comparative fault law. 

Statute of Limitations

New York only allows a car accident victim three years to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver as long as the plaintiff’s injuries meet the state’s threshold for serious injury. Any delays caused by mistakes in filing can cause you to exceed the time limit allowed and leave you forced to accept an inadequate settlement.

For this reason alone, you should consider hiring an attorney to prepare your paperwork and file it for you. The same three-year statute of limitations applies to construction site accidents, and a Brooklyn construction accident lawyer can help you file your civil claim. 

The Role of Liability in a Car Accident Case

Whether you file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit to recover your losses from a car accident, the predominant issue affecting your case is fault determination. As the plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant owed other drivers a duty of care on the road, breached that duty of care by acting negligently, and caused an accident as a result of that negligence action. Additionally, you must prove that your injuries directly resulted from the accident. 

When you file a claim or lawsuit, you should expect the other driver’s insurance company to retort with an argument that the defendant is not entirely to blame for the accident. It is a common tactic used to validate a lowball settlement offer or convince the court to reduce the award you can receive. However, with the help of a personal injury attorney in Brooklyn, you can combat liability allegations with evidence collected through an independent investigation into the accident. 

The Comparative Fault Law

If you are even a fraction responsible for the accident, the court will use the comparative fault law to reflect that in your award for damages. Some states follow the modified comparative fault law, which states that your proportion of liability must be below 50% or 51%, depending on the state’s chosen threshold. If you exceed that threshold, you can no longer receive any form of compensation.

A minority of states, including New York, follow the pure comparative fault law. The difference is the jury establishes a total value to the damages you suffered and then assigns a percentage of fault to both parties. The court then reduces the value of your award by the percentage of your liability. For example, consider this hypothetical scenario:

  • The court values your total damages at $40,000.
  • The court then assigns 40% liability to the defendant and 60% liability to you, the plaintiff.
  • The maximum in damages you can now receive equals $40,000 minus 60%.
  • Your total award is then $16,000.

A benefit of hiring a Brooklyn car accident lawyer is that they understand the nuances of this law and can use their experience and expertise to anticipate liability claims. 

What Damages Can You Recover From a Personal Injury Case?

What Damages Can You Recover From a Personal Injury Case

The value of a personal injury claim depends on the extent of damages caused by the accident. Additionally, the types of damages vary slightly based on the cause of your accident. For example, damages from injuries sustained in most personal injury accidents are virtually the same, but wrongful death cases have additional damages associated with the loss of a loved one. However, all personal injury cases have potential compensatory damages, and some may warrant an award of punitive damages. 

Compensatory Damages

Together, economic and non-economic losses encompass compensatory damages. The economic losses are arguably easier to prove because you can calculate them using tangible costs, like medical bills. Examples of economic damages in a personal injury case include:

  • Cost of emergency medical services, such as ambulance expenses, ER visits, and hospital stays
  • Cost of prescription medications and necessary medical devices needed to perform daily activities
  • Cost of rehabilitation treatments, such as physical or occupational therapy
  • Cost of treatment for psychological issues
  • Total of lost income, including decreased earning ability and missed investment opportunities
  • Damage to property, either repair or replacement

Additionally, economic damages may include future medical treatments needed for injuries requiring extended care and future lost wages for continued missed work.

Finally, the non-economic damages compensate for the intangible ways your injuries negatively affected your ability to live as you did before. For example, a pregnant woman may seek damages for the distress caused by the loss of a fetus. Other non-economic damages include:

  • The suffering caused by physical pain
  • The inability to live and enjoy life as you previously did
  • The inability to sustain companionships as you did before
  • The emotional distress that accompanies disfigurement, dismemberment, and scarring
  • The mental anguish caused by disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder

With the help of a personal injury attorney in Brooklyn, you can assign a quantifiable value to non-economic damages using a variety of methods. One common way is to multiply the costs related to medical treatment by a number no greater than five, chosen based on the severity of your injuries. The attorney will also consider your written states and statements from people in your life that can validate your claims.

Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful Death Damages

There are additional damages pertaining to wrongful death cases. Most states allow close family members or dependents to file a wrongful death case when they lose a loved one to an injury caused by negligence. Wrongful death damages include:

  • The deceased person’s lost wages, benefits, and missed investments
  • The loss of companionship and support
  • The loss of consortium suffered by the deceased person’s spouse or partner
  • The costs related to funerals and burials or cremations

While most other personal injury cases set the statute of limitations to three years, most states only allow two years to file a wrongful death case. 

Punitive Damages in a Construction Accident Case

Punitive damages are significantly less common than compensatory damages. The court reserves an award of punitive damages for cases involving apparent gross negligence. In a construction accident case, examples of gross negligence could include:

  • A company or supervisor ignores rules and regulations for scaffolding safety.
  • A company uses toxic chemicals or other materials known as unsafe for its employees.
  • A company does not punish or terminate employees who come to work under the influence of a substance.
  • A company allows employees to continue using outdated or dangerously defective equipment. 

It is impossible to list all the potential examples, so you may benefit from speaking to a Brooklyn construction accident lawyer about the specifics of your incident.

Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Case

The court rarely awards punitive damages in a car accident case. However, a Brooklyn car accident lawyer may argue for punitive damages if the defendant drove while intoxicated or knowingly got behind the wheel of a defective car. As the plaintiff, you and your attorney would need to provide evidence to support the claim that the defendant showed complete disinterest in your safety and the safety of everyone on the road, which is a very challenging claim to prove.  

How Can You Benefit From Hiring Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorneys?

How Can You Benefit From Hiring Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorneys

Injuries from construction or car accidents are sometimes devastating, and victims often face significant burdens, physically, emotionally, and financially. Unfortunately, many of those accident victims are apprehensive about hiring a personal injury attorney. You can choose to handle your case independently, but before you do, consider the invaluable benefits you receive from having an experienced Brooklyn personal injury lawyer represent you. For example:

  • Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is risk-free because they typically work on a contingency basis. You pay nothing for consultation or representation, and the attorney’s fees come out of your settlement or award. Therefore, they only receive a payment if you receive payment.
  • They have knowledge of personal injury law and represent people in similar situations regularly.
  • They represent you in conversations with the insurance company. Insurers commonly try to avoid large payouts using distasteful tactics, such as preventing communication or denying your claim without giving a reason. They are less likely to try this with an attorney.
  • Because they understand the toll that personal injuries can take, they offer friendly support while representing you with objectivity and professionalism. 
  • They build a case for you by conducting a thorough investigation of your accident, hiring outside experts when necessary, and gathering all the evidence required to prove your claim. 
  • They prepare for trial. A significant number of personal injury cases resolve with a settlement. However, an attorney prepares your case for trial should the insurer fail to offer a fair value for your losses.

Our law firm is conveniently located in Manhattan and serves clients in Brooklyn NY and other New York boroughs, and all of the surrounding areas. At William Schwitzer & Associates, we strive to provide our clients with excellent legal representation and exceeded expectations. We know how hard personal injury claims can be, and we will use the full extent of our capabilities to collect a fair settlement or award.

Our commitment is to provide the personal attention you need and the aggressive representation you deserve. Contact us today to speak to an experienced Brooklyn personal injury attorney for your accident case and schedule a free consultation.