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When Can an Injured Person Sue for Pain and Suffering in New York?

The victim of a personal injury accident often suffers more than just physical injuries. Frequently, a victim also suffers emotional or psychological trauma as a result of the accident. If you have recently been involved in a personal injury accident that caused you both physical and emotional injuries you likely want to know " When can an injured person sue for pain and suffering in New York? " Only an experienced New York personal injury accident attorney can review the unique facts and circumstances of your accident and provide you with individualized advice; however, there are some basic guidelines that apply to pain and suffering damages in New York that might be helpful to you.

First, the type of accident in which you were involved is important. Although people usually envision a car accident when the term "personal injury accident" is used, a wide variety of other injury accidents are also included in the term's definition, such as:

  • Premises liability accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Defective products
  • Aviation and boating accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death

With the exception of motor vehicle accidents, a victim may sue for both economic and non-economic damages as long as the victim suffered some type of compensable injury. Economic damages refer to out of pocket expenses such as doctor bills and lost wages while non-economic damages are what people commonly refer to as "pain and suffering".  In other words, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident that caused you to sprain your ankle you have the legal right to sue for pain and suffering along with suing for the cost of your doctor bills and lost wages. Whether or not you will be successful is another question, the answer to which depends on the specific facts of the case.

Motor vehicle accidents are treated differently in New York because of New York's "no-fault" insurance law. No-fault insurance laws replace the traditional tort based system for car accident cases. In a no-fault system, a victim's own insurance carrier pays for economic damages regardless of who was at fault in the accident. In New York this means that your own insurance company will cover your medical bills and lost wages without a determination of fault. To sue for "pain and suffering", however, you must have suffered a "serious injury" as defined by the New York no fault law. In addition, another party must have been negligent, or at fault, in the collision. If you suffered a serious injury you may pursue a traditional personal injury lawsuit in which you will ask for both economic and non-economic damages, including "pain and suffering".

To ensure that your rights are protected and that you are fully and fairly compensated for all injuries suffered in a New York personal injury accident, contact the personal injury accident attorneys at SIMON & GILMAN, LLP right away.

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