October 26, 2014 • Car Accidents
New York’s streets being what they are, car accidents are as common here as they are anywhere else. On a wonderful day, you may get away with just a few scratches on your car. But on a bad day you may suffer injuries―some of them minor, and some bad enough to keep you in a hospital bed for days.
Of course you are entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered and you can use a New York personal injury lawyer’s help to file a valid lawsuit. But you need to know some important information before you approach the court. And this has everything to do with the nature of compensation you can expect for your injuries if your case goes to trial.
How a New York Jury Decides Compensation
In the state of New York car accident cases are often judged by the jury depending on the extent of injury that the plaintiff has received. The plaintiff has the option of settling the case out of court if the settlement meets his expectations, but if the plaintiff chooses to go to trail his case will be heard in front of an empanelled jury. And the settlement amount will also be decided by the members of the jury as per the facts presented before them.
Of course it goes without saying that the trial will go to settlement only if the plaintiff can prove without a doubt that the accident was entirely the defendant’s fault and the plaintiff’s injury are a result of the accident. Proving causation is critical in a personal injury case. But after the link between the accident and the injuries has been established, the jury looks at the nature of the plaintiff’s injury as the most pivotal factor in deciding compensation.
By law, New York courts reject personal injury cases where the plaintiff has received only soft tissue injuries (bruises, minor cuts, whiplash). In those cases where the injury is much more severe (dismemberment, fracture, loss of fetus, permanent loss of body) the jury has to evaluate the damages and decide what the value of the plaintiff’s injuries are worth.
Long Term Injury vs. Short Term Pain
A long term injury where the plaintiff requires hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation is worth far more than a short term injury which lasts only a couple of days. A fractured femur (the bone in your thigh) for example will keep you in bed for months together, and you may not even be able to work during the period. A sore pinky on the other hand will improve within a few days and cause no long lasting effects.
Simply Improving Your Odds
When a jury awards a settlement, they not only look at the pain and suffering the plaintiff has undergone in the time period following the incident and up to the trial, but they also take into account any future losses the plaintiff may endure. It is therefore crucial that you document your injuries post an accident carefully, and provide due evidence of your sufferings and losses in court. This will help your personal injury lawyer handle your case better, and you can win a settlement amount that truly compensates you for your losses and pain.