Expert Witnesses in New York Personal Injury Cases

In a New York personal injury lawsuit, like any other court case, the attorney must use various means and techniques to prove the case. One way to help bolster a case is the use of expert witnesses. The role of the expert witness is an important one that can add creditability to the case. The law provides for certain qualifications for the expert witness, such as them actively practicing in the profession that is relevant to the case and possessing specialized knowledge through experience, education, or training that a lay person doesn’t have.

What is the Purpose of an Expert Witness?

An expert witness supplies critical testimony of evidence that can show proof of evidence that is presented to the judge or the jury. They validate whether specific evidence is relevant where that evidence might be in doubt. Additionally, expert witnesses can help to explain subject matters and topics that may be difficult for a jury to comprehend. For instance, a scientist can present impartial technical or scientific testimony to the jury to help them arrive at a decision. 

The Difference Between an Expert Witness and a Lay Witness

An expert witness has knowledge about a certain topic; they are an expert. In contrast, a lay witness is any witness who gives testimony, but doesn’t qualify as an expert. Lay witnesses give important testimony, but they can’t testify on subject matters that require specialized knowledge or technical or scientific information that goes beyond what can reasonably assumed as “common knowledge.”  

Examples of the Use of Expert Witnesses

Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated due to a convoluted fact pattern, conflicting evidence, and other variables. The use of an expert witness can help to clear up some confusion and to offer clarification and authority on certain matters. Here are a few examples of how expert witnesses are used in personal injury lawsuits:

  • Vehicle accident cases: Mechanics can provide testimony explaining the causes and effects of motor vehicle accidents and technical automotive details. 
  • Construction accident cases: These experts can testify about what is considered adequate safety procedures and the proper use of safety equipment. 
  • Medical malpractice cases: Medical experts, like physicians can testify regarding standards of care, and can explain and examine medical evidence that can indicate that the plaintiff’s claims are correct.  

If You’ve Been Hurt, Contact a NY Personal Injury Attorney Today

When it comes down to it, using an expert witness is one of many techniques that an experienced personal injury lawyer can use to advance your case. That’s why it’s in your best interests to consider speaking to someone like a skilled MOWK law personal injury attorney who can determine whether expert witnesses are appropriate for your specific circumstances. Contact us to get started.

How Will I Be Compensated for My Motorcycle Accident?

If you’re involved in an auto accident in New York and you were injured, you will file a claim with your own insurance company, regardless of who is at fault. This is because New York is a no-fault state for drivers. This is true whether you were injured as a driver, pedestrian, or a bike rider.  However, motorcycles are considered separate vehicles from trucks, cars, and buses, which means that the no-fault laws don’t apply to them. Read on to learn how this distinction can greatly impact the compensation that you can receive after you’ve been in a New York motorcycle accident.

The Differences between Car Accidents and Motorcycle Accidents

For a car accident, the injured person must file an accident claim with their own insurance policy. And in order to receive compensation under that policy, they must meet the “Serious Injury” Threshold. The “Serious Injury” Threshold is met if your accident results in one of the following:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Disfigurement
  • Fetus loss
  • Fractures
  • Medically determined non-permanent impairment or injury that impacts the injured person’s daily activities
  • Permanent loss of the use of body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of the use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of the use of a body function or system

In contrast, the motorcyclist is not covered under New York’s No-Fault Laws. Because the no-fault laws don’t apply, it’s important to determine liability in your motorcycle accident to recover damages to pay the costs of any lost earnings, and your health care and any expenses for your long-term treatment.  

Your own insurance policy and the other drivers’ policy both might be relevant regarding your claim and your potential settlement. A significant aspect of many New York motorcycle insurance policies is whether they contain Personal Injury Protection (PIP). It isn’t automatically a part of many policies, which means the cyclist would be responsible for their own health care costs. However, some of the motorcycle policies have “med-pay,” which at times does provide payment for medical bills. Although cyclists must carry the same minimum liability insurance as motorists, they don’t have to meet the “Serious Injury” Threshold to receive compensation.

However, there are other barriers for motorcycle accident victims. Numerous factors, including unsafe speed, the presence of drugs or alcohol, or reckless lane changes may make it appear to be less likely to recover damages and can make it difficult to prevail. There is a negative perception about motorcycles and about the people that ride them, which is based on the belief that motorcycles are ultrahazardous. Even insurance adjustors might have this view, which can affect a rider’s ability to file a claim. The adjustor might offer you an obscenely low settlement or blame you for your own injuries, even when the other driver is at fault. 

Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident and you try to file a personal injury claim on your own, you may have trouble with the adjustor taking you seriously and offering you a decent settlement. That’s why it’s in your best interests to seek out legal help. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you with increasing your settlement offer, so that you can get the compensation that you deserve. The New York personal injury lawyers at MOWK Law understand the complexity of New York insurance policies and respect the difficulties that motorcyclists endure. To learn about your options, contact us today. 

girl with hand on the back of her head stressed

Settlement vs. Trial for Your Dispute

To settle or not to settle? That is the question. But it doesn’t always have an easy answer. Although the majority of personal injury cases settle, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the way to go. Under some circumstances, it might be preferable to go to court. Read on for a discussion about settlement versus trial to help you decide how you want to deal with your dispute. 

Agreeing to a Settlement 

A settlement is an agreement made between the plaintiff and the defendant and the defendant’s insurance company. It takes place out of court and involves back and forth negotiations between the parties. The final outcome is decided by the plaintiff when they decide to agree to the settlement. 

The Advantages of Settlements

  • The process is quicker and more efficient and costs less because you’re not paying for court costs.
  • Settlements tend to be less stressful. 
  • You have more control over the outcome of a settlement because you have the power to accept or refuse an offer and you are certain of the amount that you will receive.
  • Settlements are generally private. If you value your privacy or you don’t want certain facts disclosed, then a settlement is good for this.  

The Disadvantages of Settlements

  • You might receive less money as compensation than you would receive at trial.
  • It might be not be as satisfying as a trial, depending on your feelings of closure and sense of justice. 
  • Once you accept a settlement, you typically can’t do anything further with the case; you can’t renegotiate a better deal in the future, even if your injuries get worse.
  • Settlements are generally private. If you want admissions of wrong doings, it doesn’t happen. 

Going to Trial

A trial involves both sides making their arguments and presenting evidence to a judge and jury. The jury decides the final outcome of the case. 

The Advantages of Going to Trial

  • You could potentially obtain greater compensation from a jury trial than a settlement. 
  • You could receive money for damages such as pain and suffering; these damages aren’t always offered by insurance companies in settlements.
  • You may gain a greater sense of closure and justice during a trial because it proves the defendant’s fault or liability for your damages.  
  • Unlike a settlement, the facts and details of a trial can become public. If there are things that you want the public to know about, a trial can accomplish this goal. 
  • In some cases, you may be able to appeal the decision.

The Disadvantages of Going to Trial

  • A trial can be lengthy and drawn-out.
  • A trial is typically more expensive than a settlement, with fees for court costs, litigation, and hiring experts.
  • Trials are generally more stressful.
  • You can’t control a trial and negotiate a better deal like you can for settlements. 
  • You may not win anything at trial. It’s a risk that you could end up with zero compensation. 

Talk to a Lawyer about Settlements and Trials 

While it is typical for a personal injury claim to settle rather than go to trial, each case is unique; the facts of your case might indicate that going to trial would be beneficial. If you’ve uncertain as to whether your dispute should be resolved through a trial or a settlement, the experienced attorneys at MOWK Law can help you sort through the issues and make an informed decision based on your specific claim. Contact us today to learn more. 

doctor looking at female athlete patient

Signs You May Have Suffered a Concussion Playing Sports

The New York State Public High School Athletic Associated made an announcement in July that the state’s high school sports seasons would begin on September 21. Though there will be no regional or state tournaments, football players, field hockey players, soccer players, and other fall high school athletes are practicing and playing their Fall sport seasons. 

In the excitement of participating in competitive sports, however, many students fail to understand that a negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous play made by someone else can lead to potentially fatal head injuries like concussions. Worse yet, because many concussions and traumatic brain injuries present no symptoms for several days, failure to seek medical care or inadequate treatment by trainers or team doctors can result in disastrous consequences. Because of the seriousness of concussions, it’s important to know what to look for after a collision or fall during a game. 

Common Signs of a Concussion

  • Ringing in Your Ears – Even if you don’t remember being involved in an accident or receiving a blow to the head, your ears ringing can indicate a concussion is present.
  • Memory Problems – If you find it difficult to remember dates, times, familiar people’s names, or other facts you usually know, you may have a concussion. Becoming easily confused is also a symptom.
  • Sleep Problems – Any unusual sleep patterns may indicate a concussion, especially if you had no problems prior to the incident. This not only includes insomnia, but excessive sleeping as well.
  • Headaches – Pain after a collision involving your head is normal. However, persistent or excruciating headaches raise concerns about a concussion.
  • Inability to Concentrate – Though lack of concentration may just mean you’re tired, it can also indicate more serious issues such as undiagnosed head injuries. 
  • Behavior Changes – Beginning to experience mood changes like irritability, depression, or even aggression could potentially signal a concussion.
  • Vision and Balance Problems – A concussion often produces sensitivity to light and dizziness, which can result in problems like nausea and vomiting.

New York Personal Injury Lawyers

Safety is paramount when playing sports, but even with all proper precautions, things go awry sometimes and accidents cause injuries. Head injuries can permanently affect you, so it’s important you seek medical care and contact the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at MOWK Law today to learn if you may be entitled to compensation. Whether it is a sports concussion or a car accident, our team has years of experience and the knowledge, skills, and resources you need when pursuing recovery for wrongfully inflicted personal injuries. Let us answer your questions, explain your options, and fight for the best possible outcome from an unfortunate situation – contact us today!

How Does New York’s No-Fault Law Affect My Recovery for My Car Accident Injuries?

When someone is injured in a car accident, it’s only natural they want to be compensated for damages sustained because of the accident as well as for pain and suffering as a result of injuries inflicted by someone else’s negligence. New York, as one of only 12 states in the country that has adopted no-fault laws, makes it easy for victims to receive some compensation from an insurance company quickly following their accident. Under No-Fault Law, a car accident victim is entitled to compensation from an insurer for personal injury expenses they incurred such as hospital bills or wages lost due to missed work without proving fault or another party’s negligence.

Even though New York’s No-Fault Law has simplified and streamlined the compensation process for these harms, it does not allow victims to pursue damages for pain and suffering through this same process. A victim must choose within 30 days from their accident whether they want to take advantage of New York’s No-Fault insurance laws or else run the risk of receiving no compensation for medical bills and lost wages.

There is a $50,000 financial award limit under New York’s No-Fault Law that is meant to cover a meaningful portion of:

  • Reasonable, necessary medical expenses for treatment related to the accident,
  • Lost wages (up to 80% with a maximum of $2,000 per months for up to 3 years),
  • Reasonable, necessary transportation costs incurred traveling to and from locations for medical treatment, and
  • Household assistance and other reasonable, necessary expenses.

In the case of a fatal car accident, the No-Fault Law in New York also provides a victim’s estate an additional death benefit.

If a New York car accident victim wants to seek monetary compensation for their pain and suffering, they must first prove another party was negligent or otherwise at fault for the accident and their injuries. Then, even after establishing fault, a victim’s injuries must be grave enough to satisfy certain New York insurance law requirements. Under New York State Insurance Law §5102 (d), the victim must meet at least one of the conditions below to recover pain and suffering damages:

  • As a result of the car accident the victim died, lost a limb (was dismembered), lost a fetus, or suffered a significant amount of disfigurement or scarring.
  • The victim suffered broken bones, parts of bones, or teeth in the accident.
  • Due to the accident, the victim has suffered the “significant limitation,” “permanent loss,” or “permanent, consequential limitation” of the use of at least one bodily system, part, or function.
  • For at least 90 days of the 180 days immediately after the accident, the victim’s injuries have limited them in some way.

New York Personal Injury Lawyer

Looking for a top New York personal injury lawyer to help you get money following an accident? Look no further than the talented team of attorneys at MOWK Law. Aggressive, experienced and always working hard to make sure our clients get paid as quickly as possible – call us today.

When Am I Entitled to Punitive Damages in a New York Personal Injury Case?

Victims of accidents in New York are entitled to sue and recover damages for injuries they sustained because of someone else’s bad behavior. Once liability is established, usually by proving negligence, victims are entitled to compensatory damages they can prove in court for both the economic and noneconomic harms they have suffered. However, in some situations, victims can be entitled to more.

Punitive damages are designed with the dual purpose of punishing a defendant’s exceedingly bad behavior as well as serving to deter that defendant and others from engaging in the same behavior in the future. Punitive damages are entirely at the discretion of the judge or jury – both as to whether an award should be given and the amount. However, the standard for a defendant to recover punitive damages is much higher than simply proving negligence.

New York Punitive Damages

In New York, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant acted with complete disregard for the plaintiff’s safety or health to recover punitive damages. Rather, according to the Second Circuit, the plaintiff must present clear evidence of a defendant’s conduct reflects such a conscious and deliberate disregard of the interests of others that it may be called “willful and wanton.” This standard of proof is much higher than the standard for establishing negligence, which merely requires the plaintiff establish the elements of negligence “more likely than not” occurred.

Currently, there is no strict guideline to determine if clear evidence of “willful and wanton negligence” exists to merit a punitive damage award. However, some cases have given guidance as to situations where plaintiffs may be entitled to punitive damages. The Second Circuit has noted that punitive damages are permissible when a defendant’s actions “evince a high degree of moral turpitude” and demonstrate a criminal indifference to their civil obligations. The Second Circuit and New York Court of Appeal also found “willful or wanton” conduct sufficient to merit punitive damages when a defendant had notice or and even ignored a court order, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.

For example of a case that rose to the level of “willful or wanton” conduct meriting a successful claim for punitive damages in a New York personal injury case: A diabetic, hypoglycemic hospital plaintiff was injected with an insulin reducing drug by a nurse who had already committed a previous medication administration error and was not given additional training or guidance. After the injection, neither the nurse nor the on-call doctor took any steps to monitor the plaintiff’s insulin levels throughout the night during which the plaintiff died. The plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages was upheld on appeal.

New York Personal Injury Legal Help

New York personal injury cases are complicated, emotional and confusing. If you are dealing with an injury or a death and want to learn more about seeking compensation from the responsible party and about the possibility of punitive damages, get in touch with the talented team of New York personal injury lawyers at MOWK Law. We are here to help.

Is My New York Personal Injury Claim Barred by the Statute of Limitations?

In any personal injury case, it is always best to act quickly to prevent your claim from being barred by New York’s civil statute of limitations. Each state has its own unique deadlines for various causes of action, so you should consult with a skilled personal injury attorney in New York to understand the often-confusing laws that may apply your claim.

Failing to abide by the statute of limitations may result in the loss of your claim forever. The party you want to sue can assert the statute of limitations as a defense if you do not file in a timely matter and move the court to dismiss the case. The severity of this repercussion means that while getting in touch with a lawyer may not be what you want to do while recovering from your injuries or loss of a loved one, it needs to be.

When Does A Statute of Limitations Begin to Run?

New York has codified different statutes of limitations for different civil causes of action, but generally the time limits range from one to six years. The time on the deadline will usually begin to run when:

  • The injury-causing incident occurs; or
  • If the harm or incident was not immediately discovered, the first date it becomes known.

What Is My Deadline to File a New York Lawsuit for Personal Injury?

New York has codified several specific, distinct statutes of limitations for many civil causes of action – these are distinct from any statutes of limitation that may attach to any crimes arising from or concurrently with the injury.

Currently, in New York you must file within three years from the date of the accident or harm for:

  • Product liability injuries;
  • Slip and fall injuries;
  • Damage to property;
  • Automobile accident injuries;
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress; and
  • Other negligence not already codified that results in personal injury.

It is necessary to act more quickly in other instances, as New York currently has a statute of limitations set at one year from the wrongful act for:

  • Libel,
  • Slander,
  • Assault,
  • Battery, and
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Personal injury claims for wrongful death must be filed no later than two years from the date the death occurred.

Finally, medical malpractice causes of action require particular care and attention to detail. New York has set the statute of limitations at either:

  • Two years and six months from the date the malpractice occurred; or
  • Two years and six months from the end of continuous treatment that was rendered by the party or the entity you are intending to sue for a specific injury, illness, or condition that has harmed you.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury because of another party, it is important to understand your rights and the actions you must take to avoid losing out on any compensation that may be owed to you. At MOWK Law, we are here to help. Set up you free consultation with us today to lean about our process, how we can help maximize you recovery and get your questions answered.

Can Negligent Security Result in a New York Premises Liability Lawsuit?

In some cases, yes. New York law creates a duty for property owners and operators to ensure the safety of their residents and guests. One of the most fundamental methods of fulfilling their duty to these individuals is through installing and maintaining basic security. Basic security usually entails:

  • Adequate, functioning lighting;
  • Secure entryways;
  • Functioning door locking mechanisms; and
  • Security systems, cameras, or other surveillance arrangements as required.

Failure to ensure these systems are installed or working properly leading to injury can constitute a form of premises liability and victims may be able to pursue damages for pain, suffering, and other economic losses they suffer.

Common Security Breaches

Negligent security can arise from acts or omissions that are all too common, including:

  • Poor, nonexistent, or broken surveillance systems;
  • Broken window and door locks;
  • Poor or malfunctioning lighting;
  • Dangerous conditions not remedied through routine maintenance;
  • Lack of or poorly trained security personnel;
  • Failure to properly screen security staff; and
  • Building entryways that lack security features or staffing.

Assault and Battery Liability

Assault and battery occurring at a property may also give rise to successful New York premises liability claims and damage awards. Property owners and managers have a duty to ensure guests are not at risk of foreseeable crimes. Failing to warn guests or residents of criminal activity in the area may also breach the duty of care legally owed. Premises liability may be found if an injury can be linked to situations arising from negligent security. For example, a shopping center operator who is aware of a recent increase in parking lot break-ins or muggings at their establishment has a duty to proactively add security patrols, post notices in the parking lot, add or replace lighting, or take other steps to protect their patrons and guests from harm.

This liability extends beyond commercial properties such as shopping centers and often affects owners and operators of:

  • Apartment and condominium complexes;
  • Restaurants;
  • Bars;
  • Nightclubs or entertainment venues;
  • Grocery stores;
  • Parking complexes;
  • Public buildings;
  • Hotels;
  • Banks;
  • Hospitals; and
  • Retail establishments.

Recovering Damages Under Premises Liability

Property owners and operators found to have negligent security can be responsible for a variety of damages through settlements and jury verdicts to their victims. Damages may be awarded not only for medical bills incurred from the victim’s injuries, but also:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Lost wages;
  • Future medical expenses that will be incurred;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Wrongful death;
  • Loss of consortium; and
  • Diminished future earning capacity.

Due to the complex nature of premises liability claims and the variety of damages that may be recovered, you should get in touch with the New York premises liability lawyers at MOWK Law immediately. If you are the victim of negligent security it is important to proactively protect your rights and ensure you receive appropriate compensation for any injuries you or your loved ones have suffered.