Reviewing New York Negligence Laws

What is negligence?

Negligence is the determining factor in all personal injury cases, and one of the most common sources of any civil litigation in New York. In order to achieve success in an injury claim, plaintiffs must prove that the responsible person or party’s negligence or carelessness was the direct or indirect cause of the injury. Negligence laws define the term as a failure to behave or perform a task with the same level of care or attention that a reasonable person or party would provide under the same circumstances (or taking unreasonable action when a prudent person would not).

At Michael Sepe, LLC our attorneys understand that successfully proving negligence means convincing the courts of the following:

  • Duty — This means that the responsible party owed the plaintiff a duty. Here are two examples: a doctor assumes duty by agreeing to treat a patient, and getting behind the wheel of a car is automatically assuming duty to all others on the road.
  • Breach of duty — This means that the responsible party breached his or her duty by failing to act as a reasonable or prudent individual would have acted.
  • Proximate cause — This means that the breach of duty resulted in injury or harm to the plaintiff.
  • Damages —This means that the injury caused the plaintiff real measurable or immeasurable damages such as financial costs or mental anguish.

Contributory and Comparative Negligence in New York

Attorneys who handle personal injury claims must be able to anticipate certain defense strategies the defendant might use. Identifying potential arguments that could significantly affect the outcome is almost as important as filing the case within the statute of limitations.

Claiming contributory negligence means alleging that the plaintiff’s own negligence was a factor in the injury, car collision or truck or bus accident. In certain states, proving that a plaintiff was at all contributorily negligent disqualifies him or her from entitlement to any compensation. Before 1975, this was the negligence law in New York.

New York is now one of 13 states that recognizes pure comparative fault. The comparative negligence statute (New York Civil Practice Law and Rules 1411, passed in 1975) states that when both the plaintiff and the defendant were negligent, the court must determine each party’s percentage of fault and award damages proportionally.

Gross negligence

Gross negligence means a conscious or reckless disregard for others’ safety. It’s more serious than simple negligence but less serious than intentional wrongdoing, violent conduct or assault. In a personal injury case, a defendant found grossly negligent may be subject to punitive damages.

Choose an attorney who understands negligence laws in New York

At Michael Sepe, LLC our personal injury lawyers know how to use New York negligence laws to our clients’ advantage.

Respected by their peers

Michael Sepe, LLC is proud to have received the following professional recognitions:

  • Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards, as established by the confidential peer review opinions obtained from members of the Bar and Judiciary.
  • Recognized in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers published by Martindale-Hubbell, which includes only those select law practices that have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the AV Preeminent Rating,  and have been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field. Fewer than 5% of the law firms in America qualify for this rating.

To learn more about how we can help you, call 516-766-0477 or contact us online and schedule a free case evaluation today.

Michael Sepe, LLC represents clients located on Long Island and throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, New York County (Manhattan), Queens County, Kings County (Brooklyn), Richmond County (Staten Island), Westchester County and the rest of New York. We are easily accessible from the Rockville Centre Long Island Rail Road station.