There are some instances when it's obvious.
It's obvious to everyone who caused your accident.
It's obvious to the cops.
It's obvious to you.
It's obvious to your passengers.
It's even obvious to witnesses and bystanders.
Everyone involved recognizes that there is a link between what happened and your injury.
In law we call that liability and causation.
'Liability' is who is responsible?
'Causation' is the link between what was done wrong and your injury.
In New York, there must always be that bridge, that connection between someone's carelessness and your injury.
One legal strategy that works where everyone agrees it's obvious is to concede.
To concede liability.
To concede causation.
What that means is that the defense says to us, "Listen, we know we can't defend what our client did here. We're going to admit liability."
What that means is that they're not contesting that issue.
They're agreeing that they are liable.
They're agreeing that they're responsible for your car crash.
That means that if your case goes to trial, you don't need to put on proof to establish who, if anyone, is legally responsible for your injuries.
They are. They admitted it. It's one less thing for you to prove.
The same thing for 'causation'.
"Listen, we know our driver was being less than carefull and his carelessness caused you harm," the defense lawyer may say.
That means that you no longer have to present proof at trial about whether the other driver's negligence was a cause of your injury.
They've just admitted it.
When the attorneys eliminate liability and causation, then the only remaining issue to be determined is damages.
Believe it or not, you can have a trial solely to determine how much money to award to you. That is known in legal circles as having a trial on damages.
That is a highly focused trial where the jurors are told that the defense has admitted wrongdoing and their only function in this trial is to determine how much money to award to you. There is no decision for them to make about whether to award you compensation, instead the ONLY question for them to evaluate is HOW MUCH money you are to receive for all the harms and losses you incurred because of their carelessness.
As part of the decision the jury will have to evaluate different subcategories of damages you suffered. This would include past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, medical expenses you incurred in the past, medical expenses in the future, lost earnings, future lost earnings as well as other types of economic and noneconomic damages.
To learn even more about damages in New York, I invite you to watch the quick video below...