One or more parties may be liable for your New York personal injury. It’s important to identify all of those parties in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Liability is legal responsibility for an injured person’s damages. This includes paying compensation for a person’s physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
The person who directly caused your injuries is at fault. They might or might not be liable. Other parties could be liable too. Other parties could be liable instead of the at-fault party. Liability can be complicated.
A party can be liable for your injuries based on several personal injury laws.
Most injury victims base personal injury lawsuits on negligence. Negligence is a failure to uphold a duty of care that causes someone harm. People are generally required to act as a reasonable, prudent person would under the same kind of circumstances. This is called the ordinary duty of care. When a person doesn’t behave as carefully as they should, they’re negligent. Negligence doesn’t mean a person intentionally tried to hurt someone.
Gross negligence is more serious conduct than carelessness. It means someone acted recklessly or disregarded other people’s safety. A grossly negligent person might’ve acted maliciously or intentionally.
A party might be automatically liable for a person’s injuries. Strict or absolute liability doesn’t require someone to have done anything wrong. The person or business doesn’t have to be careless or reckless. Strict liability is common in product liability and dog bite cases. In New York, building owners and general contractors could be absolutely liable when a construction worker’s injuries are a result of a New York Labor Law violation. A labor law violation is considered a per se breach of duty, aka negligence. This is a common issue in the construction industry.
A party could be responsible for someone’s injuries if those injuries were caused by their breach of an implied or explicit warranty. A warranty is a promise. An implied warranty is a promise guaranteed by law. An explicit warranty is said or written, like in a contract. This theory of liability comes up in product liability cases.
A party who doesn’t uphold a contract could cause someone physical or emotional harm. The contract might be oral or written.
The party who is liable for a person’s injuries might be the party who directly caused the accident. It also could be a party that wasn’t involved at the time at all. Direct and indirect liability can be confusing.
The party who directly caused the accident and your injuries might be fully or partly liable for your damages. You might file a personal injury lawsuit against this person.
Vicarious liability means someone can be liable for another individual’s actions. A person or business might be liable for your injuries through their relationship with the at-fault party.
One of the most common forms of vicarious liability is the employer-employee relationship. An employer is liable for your injuries if an employee who was on duty and acting in the scope of their employment at the time of the accident caused you harm.
Hospitals and medical facilities that employ doctors, nurses, and other health care providers can be responsible for their employees’ medical negligence.
One of the ways in which hospitals and other employers escape liability for someone who acts on their behalf is to work with independent contractors and not employees. Businesses are not usually liable for an independent contractor’s conduct. We have run into this issue before and take a close look at the actual working relationship between the two parties. It might be that the business treats the person as an employee and intentionally mislabeled them.
The principal-agent relationship is similar to the employer-employee relationship, though the two parties might not be engaged in a direct employment situation. The agent must have hurt you while acting in the scope of their activity for the principal or at the direction of the principal.
A party can be held liable for another person’s actions if that party entrusted an instrument to the person knowing that the instrument would be dangerous in the person’s hands. The party gave or lent the other person a vehicle, weapon, or other instrument, knowing that the person would probably act carelessly or recklessly. Negligent entrustment is a common issue when a negligent driver is in a borrowed car.
In New York, there are circumstances in which parents can be liable for their children’s harmful actions. Parents could be liable based on their own negligence that contributed to the child’s conduct. Parental negligence could be failing to supervise the children or consenting to dangerous conduct. They could be responsible if their child was acting as their agent when the child caused someone harm. Or, the parents could be liable if they negligently entrusted an instrument, like a car or firearm, to a child they knew would use it negligently or dangerously.
An investigation of your accident may find that a state or municipal government agency is liable for your injuries. This complicates your case. Government entities have limited liability by law because of a legal concept called sovereign immunity. In New York, you can sue, but only if you follow New York’s guidelines. There are strict deadlines for injury claims. You have 90 days to file a Notice of Claim with the appropriate government entity. If the government doesn’t resolve your claim within 30 days, we can file a lawsuit. Some municipalities and governmental agencies have shorter time periods to file a notice of claim.
The party that’s liable for your damages might not be obvious. You might not know the negligent driver was working at the time. You might not realize an irresponsible teen driver was given the car keys by his dad. You might not learn right away that the construction accident involved a Labor Law violation.
You need an experienced New York personal injury lawyer to investigate the accident and uncover who was responsible. Submit your information through the online contact form or call (212) 490-5700 to speak with an experienced attorney at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. We offer free consultations, and we accept cases on a contingency fee basis. There is no up-front fee.
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