If you are seriously injured, you may be considering filing a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation and justice from the party that hurt you. Indeed, despite the fact that lawsuits are often lengthy and stressful, many injured plaintiffs will sue anyway, either because they want to see a party in the wrong held accountable because they need financial compensation to deal with their injuries or for any other reason. One of the things you may be wondering about when filing a personal injury lawsuit is your chance of success if the matter goes all the way to trial.
The answer, unfortunately, and somewhat frustratingly, is that it is impossible to predict the chances of somebody winning a personal injury lawsuit because of many reasons. Each case is different, with varying facts, witnesses, and legal arguments. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a jury will decide one way or another on the day of a trial. It is impossible to say what someone’s chances of winning a lawsuit are without further information.
To get a free case review, call our Westchester personal injury lawyers from The Martello Law Firm at (914) 685-6950.
What You Need to Prove in a New York Personal Injury Lawsuit
In order to win a personal injury lawsuit in New York, you have to prove either that someone intentionally set out to hurt you or that you were injured because of negligence. It is difficult to prove intent in a personal injury lawsuit unless the evidence you have is rock solid. In most cases, our New Rochelle personal injury lawyers will be looking to prove that you got injured because the defendant was negligent. In law, negligence means that someone else was careless, and their carelessness caused your injuries.
To prove negligence, you need to establish four “elements” in court. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and injury. We’ll go into those elements briefly below.
A duty is an obligation one person or entity has to another. In general, people have a duty to avoid conduct that has a good chance of harming other people. For example, people driving cars have a duty not to speed and must follow other rules of the road as well.
A breach happens when someone does not uphold their duty. Returning to our car driver example, a driver can breach their duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws by speeding, ignoring stop signs, driving aggressively, or making other bad driving decisions.
Causation means that the defendant caused your injuries. This is a tricky element that is often contested by the defense. You must prove not only that they actually caused your injuries but that they are the “proximate” cause. A proximate cause is something that is closely related to your injuries. For example, suppose our hypothetical motorist cuts off a third driver, and that third driver speeds up and hits you crossing the street. Here, the third motorist would be liable because their speeding up is a cause of your injuries that cuts off the conduct of the other motorist from liability.
Finally, you need to prove that you were injured in order to win a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, this is not a difficult thing to do. You can prove that you were injured through evidence like photos, medical records detailing your treatment, eyewitness testimony, and anything else that can lend credibility to your claims.
“Winning” Vs. Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York
When somebody thinks of winning a lawsuit, they will likely picture a jury delivering a verdict in their favor and the defendant being compelled to pay damages by the court. Indeed, many lawsuits do end that way. However, taking a case all the way to trial is not the only way to be successful in a personal injury lawsuit. You can also settle the case outside of a trial with the defendant.
During a lawsuit, a settlement is when both sides agree to terms before a trial and cooperatively resolve the dispute. Settlements are more common than you might think. In fact, most cases do not make it to trial because they are settled or otherwise dropped beforehand. In a settlement, one side, usually the defendant, offers compensation as well as other terms that they think are acceptable, and the plaintiff gets to accept or reject the settlement offer.
When going through the legal process, it is important to define what a “win” is for you. For many people, winning entails getting the financial compensation they need and are entitled to and nothing more. In those cases, it may be a good idea to accept a settlement offer and avoid a lengthy trial. Moreover, trials are always a coin toss, while settlements have a guaranteed outcome.
However, some plaintiffs may want to see justice done in a more direct manner, in which case going to trial may be preferable. That being said, do not misconstrue a settlement offer for the other side, admitting that they have a weak case. Many defendants will offer to settle in order to save their reputation or as a gesture of good will. They, too, may be trying to avoid a lengthy trial but are fully prepared to see one through should it come to it.
While our Port Chester, NY personal injury lawyers can provide counsel and advice as to what we think is the best way to proceed for your situation, only you can decide whether you want to settle or not, and we will assist you as best we can – no matter what your decision is.
Talk to Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers About Your Case
Our Yonkers, NY personal injury lawyers from The Martello Law Firm can be reached to discuss your case at the number (914) 685-6950.