Personal Injury Attorneys in New York City

The law enables people to recover for damages wrongfully caused by others. The circumstances in which a person seeks to recover in court for physical, mental, reputational, or property damage whether caused intentionally, accidentally, or negligently by another person, a company, or even a municipality or other government agency is one of the broadest areas of the law. You may hear lawyers or others call this area “tort law.” This section deals with non-property-related tort law, injuries to the body or mind of a person, otherwise known as personal injury law.

What’s a “Tort”?

A tort occurs when one person acts wrongfully and, in doing so, causes injury to another person. The injury can occur because of a fall, a car accident, a malfunctioning product, a botched medical procedure, false accusations, poisoning by toxic chemicals, police misconduct, unlawful serving of alcohol to a minor, criminal activity, etc. The list of potential causes of torts is as broad as the activities that occur in society. However, the defining aspect of a tort is the injury—without injury or harm, there is no tort, even if someone acted wrongfully:

  • Example: You slip and fall on a wet floor in a grocery store. If you get up and walk away without any harm, there is no tort and no personal injury case, no matter how careless the store was in not cleaning its floor.
  • Example: A car goes through a red light, causing you to dive to the ground. Again, if you get up and walk away with no injury, there is no tort, despite the actions of the driver.

People injured by the wrongful conduct of others can recover monetary damages by suing in a civil court.

What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do For Me?

The time for filing a claim to recover damages for a personal injury can be extremely limited. Regardless of your situation or your age, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you investigate the basis of your claim and ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner, enabling you to eventually recover any and all damages that you have suffered as a result of the wrongful acts of another.

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Personal Injury Cases in New York Our Attorneys Can Help With

The law allows individuals to seek compensation for damages inflicted unlawfully by others. This encompasses situations where individuals pursue legal recourse in court for physical, mental, reputational, or property harm–whether resulting from intentional, accidental, or negligent actions of another individual, a corporation, or even a municipal or governmental entity.


Assault occurs when one person intentionally causes another person to believe that they are in imminent danger of being the victim of harmful or offensive contact. In other words, the person must fear that they will be the victim of battery, but no physical contact actually occurs.

To prevail, a plaintiff must successfully prove these two elements in an assault case:

  1. Intentional conduct (simple “fighting words” are not enough); and,
  2. The conduct must place the plaintiff in apprehension of imminent harm (but actual physical contact does not occur).

Auto Accidents 

Auto accidents in New York are governed by unique legal parameters, particularly concerning insurance obligations. The state enforces a no-fault insurance law mandating that all registered motor vehicles must be insured. This insurance coverage is designed to provide immediate financial assistance for medical expenses and lost wages (up to a maximum of $50,000), irrespective of fault. However, for additional compensation beyond this threshold, such as damages for pain and suffering, pursuing legal action is necessary.

It’s important to carefully consider settlement offers from insurance companies. While opting for a settlement may offer expedited resolution and guaranteed recovery, it may not fully compensate for damages compared to potential court judgments. Moreover, the financial limitations of the at-fault party could affect the feasibility of collecting compensation beyond the insurance coverage. Seeking advice from a legal expert is essential in assessing the fairness of settlement offers and navigating the complex legal landscape surrounding auto accidents in New York.


Battery refers to the deliberate and injurious contact initiated by one individual towards another. Examples of battery range from physical assaults such as striking with fists, shoving, or causing more severe harm through actions like stabbing, shooting, or inflicting injury with a dangerous object. It’s important to note that most, if not all, instances of battery can result in both criminal prosecution and civil liability.

A plaintiff must show two elements in a battery case:

  1. Intentional contact with the plaintiff’s body
  2.  Injury

Unintentional harmful contact does not meet the criteria for battery. In such cases, any legal claim would likely be based on negligence instead.

Construction Site Accidents 

New York has established specific provisions to address the heightened risks encountered by construction workers due to the inherently hazardous nature of construction sites. These environments often expose workers to perilous conditions, leading to potentially severe injuries. While workers injured on construction sites are typically covered by workers’ compensation, this coverage frequently proves insufficient to address the extent of injuries sustained. Additionally, construction sites commonly involve multiple employers, including contractors and subcontractors, simultaneously operating on the premises. Consequently, instances arise where a third party, not directly employing the injured individual, may be liable for the injuries sustained.

In cases of negligence, injured workers possess the right to pursue legal action against third-party contractors responsible for hazardous conditions that directly contributed to their injuries. To establish liability, it must be demonstrated that the third party had control over the dangerous conditions and either knew or should have known about the associated risks. Comparative negligence, a factor in determining liability in negligence claims, also applies to cases involving injured workers. However, if compensation is obtained through a third-party claim, any workers’ compensation received will typically require reimbursement.

Dram Shop 

Dram Shop laws restrict the sale of alcohol to specific groups of individuals. Judicial interpretation of these statutes pertains to incidents stemming from the improper dispensation of alcohol. In accordance with New York regulations, it is illegal to vend alcohol to individuals who are either “actually or apparently” below the age of 21 or visibly intoxicated. Courts may authorize compensation for injuries resulting from the violation of these regulations by alcohol vendors.

False Accusations 

When an individual spreads false accusations or remarks about another person and shares them with a third party–either in written or spoken form–resulting in harm to the targeted individual’s reputation, character, or integrity, the victim of such statements may seek damages from the originator of the falsehoods. This legal offense is termed defamation of character.

Defamation comes in two forms:

  1. Libel: Libel refers to defamatory statements that are put into writing, such as in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet.
  2. Slander: Slander involves defamatory statements that are spoken, such as in speeches, broadcasted over the airwaves, or made in informal conversations.

Infliction of Emotional Distress 

When one individual’s actions lead to emotional or psychological harm to another, the affected party might be eligible to seek compensation for the mental anguish endured. Such distress can stem from deliberate, reckless, or negligent behavior. However, in cases of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED), the standard for proving injury is more stringent compared to cases of intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

IIED arises when an individual’s extreme or outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly inflicts severe emotional distress, mental trauma, and/or bodily harm upon another person. Bodily harm is not necessary to establish this tort. A plaintiff can seek damages for both emotional and physical harm resulting from such conduct. IIED is notoriously challenging to substantiate.

Medical Malpractice 

Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, arises when a doctor, healthcare professional, hospital, or other medical facility fails to provide care in line with the accepted standards of the medical field, resulting in injury, illness, or exacerbation of a condition for the patient.

To succeed in a medical malpractice claim, you must demonstrate the following:

  1. You were under the care of a physician.
  2. During the course of advising, diagnosing, or treating you, the physician deviated from the standard of care expected in their specialty. Evidence of such deviation comes by way of a medical expert.
  3. Consequently, you suffered injury, illness, or worsening of your condition.

Police Misconduct

Misconduct by law enforcement officers may stem from deliberate, negligent, or reckless actions that violate their obligation to dutifully enforce New York’s laws and lead to harm. This harm may not necessarily manifest as physical injury but could encompass community humiliation, loss of employment, missed job prospects, false imprisonment, and any resultant physical injuries. Those affected by police misconduct have the option to seek damages from the municipality employing the officer and occasionally pursue legal action against the officer personally. It’s essential to note that the regulations governing lawsuits against New York municipalities also apply to claims of police misconduct.

Premises Liability 

If you sustain an injury while lawfully present on someone else’s property, the owner can be held accountable for your injuries if their negligence led to the incident. This legal concept is known as premises liability. While slip, trip, and fall incidents fall under premises liability, the scope is broader as it encompasses any hazardous condition and resulting injury–regardless of whether it involves a fall or not.

To establish a premises liability claim due to an unsafe condition on a property, you must demonstrate the following:

  1. You were lawfully present on the property (either as an invitee or employee), or if trespassing, the owner was aware of your presence on the property.
  2. The property owner was negligent in addressing the unsafe condition, meaning they either knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to rectify it, adequately warn about it, or cordon it off.
  3. The negligence directly caused your injury.

Product Liability 

When a product inflicts injury due to factors such as poor design, manufacturing defects, malfunctions, or failure to meet performance warranties, the injured party has the right to pursue compensation from various defendants involved in placing the defective or hazardous product into the market. These defendants may include parts suppliers, designers/manufacturers, and even retailers, all of whom contributed to the product entering the stream of commerce.

A plaintiff in a product liability case can pursue legal action based on several legal theories:

  1. Negligence: In these instances, the injured party contends that the manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care in the design, production, or warning about the product’s dangers, resulting in injury.
  2. Breach of Warranty (express, implied, or fitness for a particular purpose): In these scenarios, the manufacturer has assured that the product will perform in a specific manner; if it fails to do so, causing harm to the buyer or foreseeable users, both the manufacturer and retailers may be held liable.
  3. Strict Liability: This theory is increasingly utilized for products causing injury, particularly when proving negligent design or manufacturing is challenging. It resembles a breach of warranty claim but focuses on the inherent danger of the product itself. While strict liability doesn’t entirely absolve the need to prove the defendant’s fault, it centers on the product’s dangerous nature rather than the defendant’s actions.

Proximate Cause 

Proximate cause is a necessary element of proof in any negligence case. Whether pertaining to property maintenance, malpractice, the operation of a vehicle, etc. a claimant (plaintiff) must prove the act or omission at the heart of the case was a substantial factor in bringing about the injury, in other words, that reasonable people would regard it as a significant cause of the injury. There may be more than one cause of an injury, but to be substantial, the negligent act or omission by the defendant cannot be slight or trivial.

Slip/Trip and Fall 

A slip, trip, and fall incident occurs when an individual sustains injury due to encountering a hazardous condition on a walking surface, whether indoors or outdoors. Such hazardous conditions may include the presence of water, ice, oil, soap, holes, cracks, or other defects that result in slipping, tripping, or losing balance.

If you experience a slip, trip, and fall incident resulting in injury due to a property condition, you must establish that the property owner was negligent in addressing the hazard. This entails demonstrating that the owner either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition but failed to adequately address it. This failure could involve neglecting to clean the hazard, attempting to clean it in an ineffective manner that did not resolve the issue or exacerbated it, neglecting to repair the hazard, failing to cordon off the area, or neglecting to warn others about the condition.

Sovereign Immunity

According to the legal principle known as “sovereign immunity,” the United States, as well as states like New York, cannot be sued for torts arising from conditions on their property or actions committed by their employees and representatives.

If you’re injured while on government property or by a government representative, you have the right to file a lawsuit. In New York, sovereign immunity has been waived, allowing victims of torts to pursue legal action against New York State or municipal entities, provided they adhere to strict guidelines. To avail themselves of this waiver of sovereign immunity, individuals must file a “notice of claim” as mandated by New York law. This notice requirement is separate from the statute of limitations established by state law for claims against government entities.

Wrongful Death

A legal claim for compensation can be initiated when an individual’s demise is a result of another party’s wrongful actions. Such cases can stem from various incidents including construction accidents, medical malpractice, vehicular accidents, police misconduct, and product liability issues involving defective or hazardous products. Accidental deaths can generate two sorts of claims – one for economic losses incurred by the next of kin and the other for compensation for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering before death.

In New York, only the appointed personal representative of the deceased, designated by the Surrogate’s Court, can pursue a wrongful death claim. The representative is required to demonstrate that the defendant:

  1. Acted negligently.
  2. The negligence directly resulted in the death of the deceased.
  3. Surviving spouses, children, or other beneficiaries or dependents exist.
  4. The surviving party(s) have incurred financial losses as a consequence.

Request a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

The window for filing a claim to recover damages for personal injury can be very short. Regardless of age or circumstance, engaging the services of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can be invaluable. Contact us today to request a referral to one of our screened and qualified New York City Bar Legal Referral Service (LRS) lawyers.

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Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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