Tompkins County, home to Cornell University, has a county seat of Ithaca. Major highways in Tompkins County include New York State Route 13, Route 13A, Route 34, Route 34B, Route 38, Route 89, Route 79, and Route 96. Accidents on these roads or in other settings can result in serious injuries, such as crushing injuries, amputations, broken bones, paralysis, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries may require expensive medical treatment and may also necessitate that you take time off from work, hire someone to do chores around the house that you would normally do, get assistance in taking care of your children, or go to therapy or rehabilitation. Our Tompkins County personal injury lawyers may be able to recover damages from the parties responsible by filing a lawsuit on your behalf.Holding a Defendant Accountable for Your Injuries
Many accidents are results of negligence. To establish another party's negligence, you will need to show that the defendant failed to act safely and that you were harmed as a result. The level of duty that is owed depends on the situation and the relationship of the parties. Likewise, the breach of duty depends on the situation.
In a truck accident case, for example, a truck driver might breach the duty to use reasonable care by failing to obey the hours of service rules and driving while fatigued. A trucking company might breach its duty to use reasonable care by failing to check an interstate truck driver's logbooks or looking the other way at obviously falsified logbook entries. You might be able to hold the truck driver liable under a theory of negligence, and you might also be able to hold the trucking company liable under a theory of negligent supervision.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the truck accident, other theories under which a personal injury attorney in Tompkins County might be able to recover damages from the trucking company include negligent hiring or vicarious liability. In some situations, it may be appropriate to investigate further or hire an expert to determine if there is any truck part that was defective that could have caused the accident. A manufacturer may be held strictly liable for a defective product.
Often, a defendant's strongest defense is to look for ways in which a plaintiff might have been negligent and ask the court to apply a theory of comparative negligence. The jury will evaluate the arguments and evidence, determine what the damages were, and assign each party a percentage of fault. Your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of fault that you were assigned. For example, if you were speeding and weaving through traffic on a Tompkins County highway, and you wound up in a truck driver's blind spot, the truck driver may argue that you contributed to causing the resulting collision. Our Tompkins County personal injury attorneys can help a victim gather evidence to fight this argument. Suppose that the jury determines that the damages are $1 million, but you were 40% responsible for your injuries, and the truck driver was 60% responsible. In that case, you would be able to recover $600,000 from the truck driver.
Damages that you may be able to recover if you successfully prove liability include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and replacement services. The nature and amount of the damages will depend on the severity of the injuries. Generally, you are expected to mitigate your damages. Mitigation of damages means taking reasonable steps to reduce the impact and losses related to your injuries. This can include, for example, going through physical therapy if your doctor asks you to do so. It could include seeking retraining if doing your current job is no longer feasible, but you are still able to work in other jobs.Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Tompkins County
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another person or entity in Tompkins County, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties through a personal injury lawsuit. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment to discuss a motor vehicle collision, medical malpractice, construction accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury case.