A personal injury attorney focuses on lawsuits having to do with someone suffering an injury caused by someone else, whether through direct action or because of negligence.
There are some specific categories of personal injury law within that broad label:Construction accidents
Personal trainer negligence (injuries sustained because of work done with a personal trainer
Injury caused by defective products
Medical malpractice (where a doctor made a careless mistake that caused undue harm)
In each of these areas, the central issue is that someone else cut corners, was not paying enough attention, or did not do their due diligence. The end result of those things being true was that someone else was seriously injured.
Personal Injury for Emotional Distress
Emotional distress can certainly be a factor in a personal injury lawsuit. However, it’s generally suited to being an add-on point, if you will, to a larger batch of complaints against another party.
This is primarily because emotional distress can be difficult to prove, and difficult to quantify. For instance, even if you can get a mental health professional to definitively say you’ve suffered direct emotional distress as the result of an injury, to what degree has that impacted your life? If there were a dollar figure you’d be seeking as restoration, how would you establish that?
This is not to say it’s not done or that those who have suffered emotional distress have not successfully reached settlements for it.
But to reiterate, it’s usually a much stronger argument when emotional distress is stated alongside other more tangible injuries with specific dollar figures we can seek. It enhances the case and creates a stronger picture of what you’ve had to endure. That’s not to make light of your situation, but of course when it comes to legal matters against institutions the details are important to ensure a victory.
How Much Does A New York City Personal Injury Attorney Cost?
That varies from lawyer to lawyer. In our case at Smiley & Smiley, LLP you only pay when you win.
As a general guideline, here is the sliding scale for medical malpractice cases:
Thirty (30%) percent of the first $250,000.00 recovered;
Twenty-Five (25%) percent of the next $250,000.00 recovered;
Twenty (20%) percent of the next $500,000.00 recovered;
Fifteen (15%) percent of the next $250,000.00 recovered;
Ten (10%) percent of any amount recovered over $1,250,000.00.
Essentially this means that we will fight as diligently as possible for you, and that when we win we will take our portion of the settlement with your opponent as our fees for doing so. Our portion of the overall winnings will depend on how much the settlement totals.
We find this an ideal way to offer our services to clients, since when they’ve suffered a serious personal injury the last thing they want to worry about is a bunch of expensive legal fees.
In this structure, the client doesn’t have to pay anything to get started on the lawsuit, and doesn’t have to come out of pocket when they win, either. Our portion of the winnings is automatically deducted, and you the client receive the rest.
In the event that we are not successful in the lawsuit, you the client pay no legal fees.
I Was Injured A Ways Back. How Long Do I Have To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Generally the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of your injury. So if you were injured a year and a half ago, for instance, you can still file a lawsuit against the party responsible.
(You have less time to file suit if the lawsuit is against municipalities like New York City itself -- usually one year and 90 days from the date of the injury.)
Note of course that in some cases the longer ago it happened the more difficult it can be to produce evidence or documentation. Or if you need witnesses to offer testimony that can be more difficult to obtain reliably.
Still, don’t let that stop you if you feel you have a strong claim.
In the unfortunate event that a loved one suffered a wrongful death, such as a construction accident from which they did not survive, you generally have 2 years from the date of their passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.