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Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Buffalo

Catastrophic injuries are the leading cause of death for New Yorkers under 35 years of age. More than 155,000 New Yorkers suffer serious injuries that need hospitalization each year. Many injury victims have steep medical bills on top of dealing with the stress of their injuries. The attorneys at The Coppola Firm have many years of experience litigating high-value personal injury cases. If you are injured, we offer free consultations and a personalized approach to your case. We can handle the details of your case and obtain the financial compensation owed to you so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

man falling face first on concrete

What Are Common Personal Injury Cases in Buffalo, New York?

Personal injury law allows people to recover damages for injuries caused by another person’s negligence or carelessness. Personal injury cases may involve a wide range of injuries and wrongful acts, including the following:

  • Sudden accidents or events, such as motor vehicle accidents or dog bites.
  • Failure to make sure that a product or location is safe for the public, such as cases involving defective products or premises liability cases like slip-and-falls.
    A breach of a professional duty of care, such as medical malpractice.
    Overt actions that cause harm, such as nursing home abuse.

The Coppola Firm focuses on certain types of personal injury cases but can assist injury or accident victims in a wide range of claims.

Construction Accidents

Construction sites are dangerous places, with countless hazards that could cause injury to workers, bystanders, and others. Injury risks may include:

  • Falls, including slip-and-fall accidents and falls from heights.
  • Falling tools or debris.
  • Electrical accidents.
  • Defective materials or equipment.
  • Misuse of heavy equipment.
  • Truck accidents.

Workers who suffer on-the-job injuries in construction accidents may be eligible for benefits from the New York workers’ compensation system. Other construction accident victims may be able to assert claims for premises liability, product liability, or other negligence-based claims.

Auto Accidents

Automobile accidents are among the biggest causes of injuries and death in Buffalo and throughout New York. Thousands of people suffer serious injuries every year due to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other collisions. Common types of car accidents include:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • T-bone collisions
  • Sideswipes
  • Rollovers
  • Multi-car accidents

Other Personal Injury Cases We Handle

  • Premises Liability 
    • Sidewalk
    • Fire and Explosion
    • Elevator/Escalator
    • Falling Debris
    • Inadequate Maintenance of Property
    • Accident at a Commercial or Residential Building
    • Electrocution
    • Inadequate Security
  • Product Liability
  • Wrongful Death
  • Sexual Abuse (child sexual abuse, New York Adult Survivor Act)
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Boating Accidents
  • Ski Accidents

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me After an Injury in Buffalo, New York?

The Coppola Firm’s team has decades of experience litigating complex, high-value personal injury cases. They focus on each individual and their emotional, physical, and financial needs. They reward their clients with fierce yet compassionate representation in each and every case.

Creative Recovery Strategies

With years of experience in personal injury law, The Coppola Firm’s attorneys have developed many strategies for asserting their clients’ rights and recovering financial compensation for them. They can counter moves by insurance companies and defense attorneys meant to limit the amount they are obligated to pay. They will advocate tirelessly for their clients’ interests in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

Decades of Experience

The Coppola Law Firm’s team of attorneys have spent years developing their skills as litigators and advocates for injury victims. They have delivered countless settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases throughout Western New York.

Guidance Through Confusing Processes

Asserting a personal injury claim, whether against an insurance company or through a lawsuit, can be complicated and confusing. For an accident victim dealing with serious injuries, this process might be one of the furthest things from their mind. The Coppola Firm understands how difficult this time can be. The firm is committed to helping its clients understand their rights, explaining all of their options so they can make informed decisions, and guiding them forward in a way that allows them to focus on their recovery.

Quick Response Times

Personal injury cases often require people to make decisions quickly and then act promptly on those decisions. If you have suffered serious injuries, you need legal representation that can answer your questions and act on your behalf on a tight timetable. The Coppola Firm responds quickly to all inquiries and questions from new, current, and past clients.

I Have Been in an Accident. What Should I Do?

If you have been involved in an accident, you can take several steps to protect yourself and others at the accident scene, preserve evidence of what happened in the accident, and protect your right to recover damages for your injuries.

1. Seek Medical Attention

After a car accident or any other type of accident, your first response should be to receive medical attention for your injuries. Even if you do not think that you have suffered any injuries in the moments after the accident, you might begin to feel the effects later.

Adrenaline can mask the symptoms of some injuries. You only begin to feel pain when the adrenaline begins to wane. Some injuries to the head or neck, such as whiplash, might not manifest any symptoms until days or even weeks after the accident. If you hit your head in any way, you should seek medical attention so they can check for a concussion or other brain injuries.

The doctor can rule out injuries that are not immediately apparent and identify the kind of care you will most likely need. They will create a record of your injuries. You will need these medical records for your personal injury claim.

2. Do Not Admit Fault

It is often part of human nature to apologize after an accident. If you see an injured person at a car accident scene, your instinct might be to apologize for your part in the accident. You must resist this instinct because anything you say to others at the scene could become evidence against you.

Admitting fault can damage your personal injury claim, but it might also be incorrect. Reconstructing the accident scene and determining who might have been at fault is the police’s job, not yours. You were part of the accident and therefore not able to see everything that contributed to it. Witnesses might have seen something that clears you of responsibility. Let them help you.

3. Collect Evidence

After an automobile accident, you should exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers involved in the crash. No matter what kind of accident occurred, you should take pictures of the scene if possible. If you slipped and fell on a broken sidewalk, for example, take pictures of where the fall occurred. Take pictures of your own injuries, if possible, as well as any property damage.

Talk to witnesses at the scene of the accident if you can. Get their names and contact information. Their testimony may help you make your case for damages.

4. Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence and prepare your case. They know all the tricks insurance companies and defense lawyers may use to limit how much they may have to pay in damages. Your lawyer can handle negotiations with them so you can focus on your recovery.

How Do I Win a Personal Injury Case in Buffalo, New York?

In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to prove negligence. New York state law determines how much damages you may receive based on whether you share any fault for the accident.

Elements of a Negligence Claim

The legal theory of negligence consists of four elements. For most personal injury cases, including car accidents and slip-and-falls, you must prove the following:

Duty of Care

The defendant must have owed a duty of care to you or to the general public. For example, a driver on a New York road owes a duty of care to the public to drive safely and obey traffic laws. A property owner owes a duty of care to their customers to keep their premises reasonably free of hazardous conditions and to warn people about known hazards.

Violation of Duty of Care

The defendant must have violated their duty of care. In the case of a driver, they may violate their duty by driving recklessly, speeding, running a red light, or not paying attention to the road. A property owner may violate their duty by failing to deal with a hazardous condition that they know about, such as a broken sidewalk or wet floor.

Causation

The defendant’s violation of their duty must have caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. In the driver’s case, they might have run a red light and collided with the plaintiff’s car, causing the plaintiff to suffer broken bones, bruises, and cuts. The property owner might have failed to repair a broken sidewalk despite repeated warnings, leading to the plaintiff tripping, falling, and suffering a severe sprain or broken bone.

Damages

The plaintiff’s injuries must have caused actual damages for them, such as medical bills and lost wages. A plaintiff who cannot show that they had any sort of direct loss because of their injuries might not be able to win their personal injury case.

Contributory Negligence

Many states reduce the amount of damages that a plaintiff may receive in a personal injury case if the plaintiff shared any part of the fault for the accident. In the case of a car accident, suppose that the following occurred:

  • The defendant ran a red light and collided with the side of the plaintiff’s car.
  • The plaintiff had a green light, and so had the legal right to be in the intersection at the time of the collision.
  • The defendant is able to prove, however, that the plaintiff had been distracted by changing the radio station the moment before they entered the intersection.
  • The plaintiff could have slowed down and possibly avoided the accident if they had not taken their eyes off the road for those few seconds.

Based on these facts, a jury concludes that the plaintiff was 20% at fault for the accident, and the defendant was 80% at fault.

Under contributory negligence, the plaintiff would be barred from recovering any damages if they shared any part of the fault. Fortunately, New York does not follow this rule. Instead, New York follows the comparative negligence rule, which allows a plaintiff to recover damages if they were partly at fault, but reduces the damage award based on their share of fault.

In the car accident case described above, the court would reduce the plaintiff’s damages by 20%. If the jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000, the final award would be $80,000. There are two versions of this rule:

  • Modified comparative negligence allows recovery of damages as long as the plaintiff’s share of the fault was no more than 50%. A plaintiff found to be 50% at fault would receive an award of half their damages. A plaintiff found to be 51% at fault would receive zero damages.
  • Pure comparative negligence allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they were mostly at fault, as long as their share of fault was less than 100%. If a plaintiff with $100,000 in damages was found to be 99% at fault, they could still recover $1,000.

New York uses the pure comparative negligence rule.

Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in New York?

Generally, an accident victim has three years to file a personal injury lawsuit under New York law. The clock usually starts running on the date of the accident or injury, so a person injured in a car accident would have three years from the date the accident occurred.

In some cases, however, an injury might not be apparent for weeks, months, or years after the act of negligence occurs. In those cases, the discovery rule states that the statute of limitations begins to run on the date a person learned about their injury.

New York law also suspends, or tolls, the statute of limitations in some situations:

  • If the injury victim is under the age of 18, the statute begins to run on their 18th birthday.
  • The statute does not run if the injury victim has a legal disability, meaning that they are not legally competent to file a lawsuit.
  • If the person who will be the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit leaves New York State for a period of at least four months, that time does not count towards the deadline.

What Damages Can I Recover From a Personal Injury Case?

You may be able to recover a variety of damages in a personal injury case. In a wrongful death case, an accident victim’s family members can recover damages.

Medical Expenses

You can recover the medical expenses that you have incurred, and that you expect you will incur in the future, that are reasonably related to your injuries. This is a form of “economic damages,” which you can provide by showing medical bills and other documents.

Pain and Suffering

This is a form of “noneconomic damages” that compensates you for the way in which the physical and emotional pain caused by your injuries has affected your life.

Disfigurement

This form of noneconomic damages provides compensation for physical or mental suffering that you have experienced because of disfigurement caused by the accident.

Lost Wages

You may recover earnings that you have lost because of your injuries, such as if you were unable to work because you were receiving medical treatment. You may also recover damages for lost earning capacity if you will continue to be unable to return to your old job.

Loss of Consortium

An injury victim’s loved one, such as a spouse, can recover damages for the loss of intimacy caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Permanent Disability

If your injuries have left you permanently unable to return to work, you may be entitled to compensation for your total loss of income and earning capacity.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Similar to damages for pain and suffering, this compensates you for the impact of your injuries on your ability to take pleasure in daily life.

Special Damages

You may be able to recover damages for other monetary losses caused by the accident or your injuries. You must be able to produce records showing these losses.

The Cost of an Injury Adds Up

Personal injuries lead to financial hardship for many people. You might think you are getting a fair settlement from an insurance company, only to realize you need money for travel, pain and suffering, and other costs you may not have initially incurred. You could find yourself tens of thousands of dollars in the hole for an accident that was not even your fault. You need skilled legal representation to help you recover what you deserve. Call The Coppola Firm before it is too late to get compensation for your injuries. Our Amherst office provides services to those in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region and any of the surrounding western New York areas.

In her 30-year legal career, Lisa Coppola has worked on both sides of cases involving car accidents and other personal injury practice areas. She knows from experience how insurance companies and defense attorneys operate. Her law office is the only woman-owned personal injury law firm in Buffalo, offering:

  • Free consultations for personal injury cases.
  • Free advice videos.
  • A ground-floor Buffalo office location with free parking.

Speak to a Buffalo personal injury lawyer about your case today by calling (716) 839-9700 or filling out the online contact form.

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