Trusted Personal Injury Attorneys in Port Jefferson, New York

Port Jefferson residents who have been injured due to negligence have the right to take legal action and pursue compensation. This compensation may be vital, especially considering the plethora of economic and non-economic damages that a plaintiff may sustain. While New York protects victims’ rights, plaintiffs may face a number of challenges as they pursue settlements or jury awards. In order to overcome these challenges with a degree of confidence and efficiency, many plaintiffs choose to work alongside qualified personal injury attorneys in Port Jefferson.

Why Should I Work with a Personal Injury Attorney in Port Jefferson?

Known simply as “Port Jeff” by its residents, Port Jefferson sits in the town of Brookhaven and has a population of about 8,000 people. The incorporated village draws in many tourists each year due to its picturesque location on the North Shore of Long Island. In the 19th century, the village’s economy revolved mostly around shipbuilding. Today, there is still a maritime influence in the form of a ferry terminal. While the village is certainly pleasant, its residents are not immune from the threat of accidents and serious injuries.

Personal injury attorneys in Port Jefferson can help these injured residents in a number of ways:

  • Offering advice
  • Answering questions
  • Recommending either lawsuits or insurance claims
  • Negotiating for settlements on your behalf
  • Helping you gather evidence
  • Helping you collect documents
  • Representing you in a trial if necessary

Note that trials are somewhat rare in civil cases, as most are settled out of court. This means that the defendant (the person accused of causing the injury) agrees to pay the plaintiff (the person who was injured) a sum of money. In exchange, the plaintiff agrees not to pursue any further legal action.

Personal injury attorneys often play a vital role in settlement negotiations. Insurance companies and their adjusters may offer very low settlement offers, and attorneys can push back and fight for a more appropriate sum. They often employ various negotiation tactics to accomplish this goal.

How Do I Get Compensation for My Auto Accident Injury?

Your route to compensation may depend on the specific type of injury you have sustained. For light to moderate auto injuries, you may need to go through New York’s “no-fault” system. Under this system, plaintiffs can pursue compensation by filing a claim with their state-mandated PIP insurance coverage. Theoretically, this should provide you with a quick route to the compensation you need to cover medical expenses and missed wages.

However, insurers may push back, deny claims, or offer settlements that are far too low. Personal injury attorneys can negotiate for more appropriate sums that cover the full range of a plaintiff’s damages. That being said, the no-fault system only covers economic damages such as medical expenses, missed wages, and funeral expenses (in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit). So while the no-fault system may make it easier to pursue compensation, it is also somewhat limiting. There is a clear trade-off.

If you need to pursue compensation for serious auto injuries that have caused psychological trauma, you may have the opportunity to file a lawsuit instead. These psychological losses are known as “non-economic damages” in the legal world, and they include things like:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of purpose of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Humiliation
  • Disfigurement

A direct lawsuit is the only way to pursue these damages in the case of an auto accident. Your attorney can help you decide which route to choose when pursuing compensation for your auto injuries.

Suing for Premise Liability in Port Jefferson

Aside from auto crashes, other types of accidents may also lead to injuries. Another common type of lawsuit is a premise liability claim. This involves alleged negligence committed by a property owner that directly causes someone’s injuries on their premises. There are many types of property owner negligence that can lead to injuries, but a classic example involves fall hazards. These fall hazards may cause individuals to lose their footing and suffer injuries. Examples of fall hazards include:

  • Spills
  • Debris
  • Dimly lit corridors or staircases
  • Broken stairs
  • Lack of handrails
  • Building code violations
  • Cracked walkways
  • Ice
  • Snow

If a property owner becomes aware of any of these hazards and fails to address them, they may be liable for any resulting injuries. The only exception is in the case of a serious storm. New York has adopted the “ongoing storm” rule, which means that they are only required to clear away ice and snow after the storm has ceased. The definition of a storm’s end is usually the cessation of precipitation.

There are many other types of property owner negligence that can potentially lead to injuries. One example is a dog bite that occurs on someone else’s property. Dog owners can be held “strictly liable” for dog bites, but the “one bite” rule somewhat limits this.

Another example is negligent security. This type of negligence occurs when a property owner (usually a business owner) fails to create proper security measures in the face of obvious threats. A negligent security lawsuit holds property owners accountable for failing to prevent violent acts carried out by criminals.

Employees might also sue a property owner or a contractor for a fall that occurs during normal work. Note that this can only occur under the Scaffold Law, and all other workplace injuries must be resolved through the workers’ compensation program.

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Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in Port Jefferson?

To learn more about this legal process, be sure to book a consultation with a qualified personal injury attorney in Port Jefferson. Choose the Law Office of Frank A. Cetero to get started with an effective action plan. During your first consultation, you can ask questions, receive guidance, and consider your next steps. Remember, the statute of limitations may prevent you from suing if you wait too long, so it’s best to act sooner rather than later if you believe you have a case. Internet research can only get you so far, so reach out today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) For a Port Jefferson Personal Injury Lawyer:

Do you need to have a personal injury lawyer to have a successful case?

While you do not need a Port Jefferson lawyer to get a settlement, having one can help you get more out of your case. Most people who hire a lawyer to help with their personal injury case end up getting more compensation than had they handled the case on their own.

What are my legal options if I was partially at fault for the accident?

In New York as long as you are not found 100% at fault for the accident you still have legal options. If you are found 40% at fault for the accident you can still seek compensation for your injuries.

Should I apologize to the other party involved in the accident?

No, you should never admit any fault or apologize after an accident. You should make sure that the other party involved in the accident doesn’t need immediate medical attention, if they do call them an ambulance, but if they don’t simply exchange contact and insurance information. The less you say the better.

What is the role of an expert witness in a personal injury case?

An expert witness is used to help the judge and the jury understand more about aspects of the case. For example, in a case where someone is asking for compensation for pain and suffering a therapist may be called as an expert witness to explain how the injuries and the accident may have affected the injured person’s emotional well-being. Or if the injured party is asking for future medical expense a medical professional may be called to explain how much more medical treatment is needed and the estimated cost.

If my case has been settled but my medical bills are more than the compensation I was awarded, can I reopen the case?

Once your case is settled you lose your right to ask for more compensation. It is a good idea to speak with a Port Jefferson lawyer to help you determine how much compensation you need to ask for. As well as speaking with medical professionals about how much ongoing medical treatment you will need as a result of the accident.

Can I post about my accident on social media platforms?

No, it is the best interest of your case that you do not post anything about your case until it is over. It is also a good idea to not post on social media much of anything until your case is settled. Anything you post online is considered public and could be used against you in your case.

Do you have to file a police report after a personal injury?

Yes, if anyone was injured or there was any property damage you are required to file a police report in New York.

What if I had a preexisting condition before the accident?

If you have a preexisting condition, you still have a case it will just be more difficult. You will have to prove that this accident directly caused your preexisting condition to worsen or flare up. If you are able to prove this then you could seek compensation for your injuries.