Top Factors in a Personal Injury Case

Watch the following educational legal video by New York Personal Injury Lawyer Anthony Rattoballi as he outlines the top factors in a personal injury case in New York.

Typically, personal injury cases are comprised of three factors: liability, damages, and exposure. Some cases, such as a dog bite case, would have an additional factor. Let’s discuss those factors. They are:

  • Liability – was someone’s carelessness the cause of your injury? Were they negligent? If so, they are liable, but if the accident was your own fault, there is no liability. Let’s presume the accident was caused by someone else. That person is liable for his carelessness, or negligence, in causing your accident.
  • Damages – Although someone might be negligent or careless, if you didn’t suffer any damages, meaning you don’t have an injury, your case is not worth bringing. If, on the other hand, you do have damages – if you are injured or the accident caused you to miss work – you are said to have damages, and you’re entitled to be compensated for them.
  • Exposure – Finally, the person may be at fault and you may have serious physical injuries; but, if that person doesn’t have adequate insurance and you don’t have your own underinsurance to protect yourself, you may not be able to collect all the money to which you’re entitled.

I am currently working with a woman who was hit as a pedestrian. She has a fractured skull, a fractured wrist, a fractured clavicle, a fractured leg, a punctured lung, and a traumatic brain injury. At the time of the accident, she was working full time. The tortfeasor – the owner of the car that hit her – only carried insurance for up to $300,000, while her own underinsured motorist policy has $1 million in coverage. I believe she will be able to obtain $300,000 from the tortfeasor and another $700,000 from her own insurance policy that insures her against an underinsured motorist in this situation. That $300,000 may seem like a lot of money, but when it’s weighed against the extensive injuries my client sustained in this incident, it’s not nearly enough. It’s a good thing she has a million dollars in underinsurance. Although her underinsurance covers up to $1 million, there is a set off. The $300,000  from the other party will be deducted from that amount. I anticipate that she will be able to collect a combined total of $1 million regarding this accident. However, if $10 million in insurance were available in her case, I believe – based on the severity of her injuries – that she would be entitled to the whole thing. It’s very difficult to collect money against an individual.

We’ve covered the three basic aspects of a personal injury action; however, earlier, I mentioned the dog bite case and here’s the additional aspect of that specific type of case. Whenever you sue a dog’s owner for a dog bite, you have to prove that the dog has a vicious propensity.

If you’ve been injured, you can count on the experience of the attorneys at Aiello & Cannick. Anthony J. Rattoballi brings over 30 years of legal experience to the firm and has spent much of his career focusing on personal injury – many of his cases have ended in settlements exceeding $1 million. Contact us at our Maspeth, Queens office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.


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