Frequently Asked Questions- Personal Injury

Construction Accidents

What damages am I entitled to when I can establish liability?

Your injuries are valued by your pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that is caused from the date of the accident, and, if permanent, for the rest of your life.  If you are unable to earn at the same level as before, or not work at all, you are also entitled to past and future lost wages.  While often the Workers’ Compensation payments for the healthcare and wages paid has to be partially reimbursed, compensation for pain & suffering and wages can be very significant.

How can these other parties be sued?

The New York State Labor Law has several sections that are very favorable to workers.  The laws are written to provide a remedy for injured workers by placing the responsibility for worker safety on more than just the employer.  One section – Labor Law 240 – provides strict liability against landowners and general contractors, in most cases, when a worker falls from a ladder, scaffold, roof, or other place with any significant height.

Can I sue my employer for negligently causing a work accident?

You cannot sue your employer under most circumstances.  However, for many work related there are other parties who may be found responsible and can be sued for the full value of your permanent injuries: landowners, general contractors or other sub-contractors.

Who pays my wages and medical costs after a construction accident?

Your employer is required under New York State law to carry Workers Compensation insurance for work-related injuries.  Your medical expenses and lost wages will be paid through that insurance company.

Auto Accidents

If a trial is necessary who will try my case?

Lee Greenstein is an experienced trial attorney and is ready, willing and able to take a case to the jury when the insurance company is unwilling to offer fair compensation.  Your case will not be handed off to a different attorney.

Do most cases settle or result in a trial?

The vast majority of cases are resolved with a settlement rather than a trial. Clients always prefer a satisfactory monetary settlement that avoids the anxiety and risk of a trial. The length of a case is often dictated by the course of treatment and recovery, and litigation is often a necessary tool to leverage the best possible result.

When can I make a claim against the vehicle?

You can make a claim against the other vehicle or vehicles in a car accident if (1) they are all, or partially, responsible for causing the accident, AND (2) you have suffered a “serious injury” as that is defined in the New York Insurance Law.

What is a “serious injury?”

A “serous injury” is defined as follows in Insurance Law 5102:

A personal injury which results in (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant disfigurement; (4) a fracture; (5) loss of a fetus; (6) permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; (7) permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; (8) significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or (9) a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

Who pays lost wages and medical expenses after a car accident?

Your auto insurance company provides “no-fault” benefits resulting from a car accident.  Your company is obligated to pay reasonable and necessary medical expenses and lost wages that result do to injuries from a car accident.  These benefits are yours regardless of fault for the accident.  The completed no-fault application must be provided to the insurance company within 30 days of the accident or your no-fault benefits may be lost.

Slips and Falls

Should I take pictures?

Everybody has a cell phone – use it!!  Photograph or video whatever it is that caused you to fall.  Unless it is a pothole, that ice or piece of lettuce will be gone the next day.

What should I do if I fall at a store or parking lot?

Tell the owner or manager and ask to complete an incident report.  If is very important that the fall be documented or at the very least that you advise a company representative and get their name and title.

When can I make a claim for a fall down injury?

There are many situations when you can make a claim that is covered by insurance for injuries resulting from a fall.  Landowners, businesses, homeowners and municipalities are all responsible to maintain their premises in a safe manner, and avoid creating dangerous conditions: after a storm is over ice and snow must be removed from walkways, sidewalks, entrances and other common areas; holes, deep cracks and other damage must be remedied, or a warning or protection must be provided; supermarkets, shopping malls and other retailers must keep areas where customers walk free of debris, electrical cords or other unexpected items that may cause unsuspecting shoppers to fall over.

Pedestrian or Bicycle Accidents

Are these accidents easier or more difficult that two cars?

They are generally easier to settle for two reasons.  First, the law imposes a general obligation to be aware of their surroundings. Second, insurance adjusters and juries are, for obvious reasons, sympathetic to people on bicycles or on foot who are struck by automobiles.

What if the accident was partially my fault?

You can still make a claim if the collision was caused by a combination of fault from you and the driver.  The same rule applies when two cars are both to blame – the amount of the value of your injuries is diminished by the percentage that you are deemed responsible.  If your injuries should be compensated with $100,000.00 and you are ¼ to blame, then you receive $75,000; if you are ½ to blame you would receive $50,000, etc.

Am I entitled to no-fault benefits?

Yes, you are.  The no-fault insurance company for the car that struck you will be the no-fault provider.  Even though the same company will pay for the pain and suffering claim, the no-fault and liability claims are handled by two different adjusters as if it were being handled by two different companies.

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