Personal Injury Lawyers in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, NY

A personal injury can change your life. If you or a family member was injured in an accident or incident that was not your fault you may be entitled to compensation. Personal injury law exists so that injured parties can secure the justice they deserve when they have suffered due to another person’s negligence.

Unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in New York. Every year, approximately 7,700 New Yorkers will die from accidents. About 1,100 of those accidental deaths will happen in Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse.

Many more New York residents will survive their injuries but suffer long-term disabilities. Residents of New York make 700,000 visits to the emergency room every year as a result of accidental injuries. These injuries range from superficial cuts to traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Not all accidental injuries will support a claim for injury compensation. An experienced injury lawyer at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, can help evaluate your case and secure the compensation you need to make yourself whole.

Legal Liability for Accidents in New York

A personal injury, or tort, claim is a lawsuit filed by an injured party to claim compensation for injuries suffered in an accident. This compensation is broader than what is generally available from insurance coverage. New York law recognizes three forms of legal liability for injuries to others: Intentional Torts, Unintentional Torts (Negligence), and Strict Liability.

Intentional Torts

Personal Injury Lawyers in Buffalo, NY Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC

Intentional torts are injuries that occur due to someone else’s intentional actions. Intentional torts require proof of general or specific intent.

For example, someone who pushes you in a brawl might not intend to hurt you. When you fall and fracture your skull, that person has committed an intentional tort and you may have a claim for injury compensation. Common intentional torts are intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault and false imprisonment.

The state uses criminal laws to punish people for their criminal acts. Injured people use tort law to secure compensation from wrongdoers for their injurious acts.


A negligent tort is an injury that occurs when one party owes a duty to another party and fails to act  as a reasonable person under the circumstances.

Unlike intentional torts, it is not necessary to prove that the at-fault party intended to engage in the injurious action. Instead, you only need to prove that the at-fault party did something that a reasonable person would view as dangerous.

Specifically, the elements of negligence include:


The at-fault party must owe you a duty of care. Some relationships give rise to a special duty of care.

A motorist has a duty to other drivers to drive in a reasonably prudent manner. A healthcare provider has a duty to patients to provide reasonable standard of care under the circumstances. An owner or occupier of premises owes a duty to guests and invitees to take reasonable steps to identify and fix hazards on the premises.


The at-fault party must have breached their duty of care. For example, a distracted driver who causes an automobile accident has breached the duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner.

But if your injuries happened when a truck driver’s semi-trailer gets blown over by the wind, your injuries might have resulted from an accident, rather than negligence.


The breach must have caused your injuries. Causation has two parts. Cause-in-fact means that the breach was in the chain of events that ended with your injury.

Proximate cause means an injury was a foreseeable result of the breach. This does not require the at-fault party to foresee your exact injuries. Instead, it only requires that your injuries would be a reasonably expected result of the at-fault party’s actions.


You must suffer damages. When you suffer an injury, you will probably have damages. Damages can include your medical expenses, lost income from missed work, and pain and suffering.

Strict Liability

Strict liability applies when the at-fault party’s intent does not matter. Strict liability in tort law applies broadly to possession of certain animals and abnormally dangerous activities. In New York, dog bites are a common example of strict liability.  In products liability, strict liability applies when a defective product such as asbestos causes injury.

Examples of Injury Incidents in Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo, NY

Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse experience the same kinds of incidents you will find in other parts of New York. The attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, have experience litigation personal injury claims, including:

Automobile Accidents

Every month, Erie County sees about 450 injuries and four deaths due to automobile accidents. Monroe County experiences about 330 injuries and four deaths every month. Onondaga County reports about 150 injuries and two deaths every month.

Car Accident Attorneys in Buffalo, NY Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC

Most of these accidents result from driver errors, with only a small percentage coming from road hazards and mechanical failures. As a result, many of these injured motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists could have a case for negligence if their no-fault insurance benefits fail to cover all their damages.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse can often support two types of injury claims. The perpetrator committed the intentional torts of assault and battery. As such, you can probably sue the perpetrator for your child’s damages.

A business, church, educational institution, or youth group might have been negligent in allowing the perpetrator to victimize its child members. Negligence in hiring and supervising the perpetrator might expose the organization to injury claims.

Similarly, an organization that fails to properly investigate reports of sexual abuse can become liable to the victims.

Medical Malpractice

Healthcare providers must provide reasonable care to patients. When a doctor, dentist, nurse, or other healthcare provider fails to meet this standard of care, they may have committed medical malpractice.

Some examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed or missed diagnosis
  • Failure to obtain informed consent
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Birth injuries
  • Prescription errors
  • Anesthesia mistakes

Medical malpractice cases often require experienced personal injury lawyers to assemble and present these complicated negligence cases.

Toxic Exposure

You might be exposed to toxic substances in the workplace, at your school, or even your home. For example, asbestos was once used as a brake liner, pipe insulator, and fireproofing material.

Claims for injuries caused by toxic substances fall under strict liability. If you can prove that the toxic substance was inherently dangerous or that the manufacturer failed to warn of its dangers, you might have a claim for your damages.

Construction and Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents almost always entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits. New York requires almost all employers to carry workers’ comp insurance to guarantee benefits for on-the-job injuries. In exchange, New York protects employers from lawsuits for most workplace injuries.

Construction Accident Attorneys in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, NY

But workplace accidents can open the door to a third-party claim for injury compensation. Defective equipment, car accidents, and toxic substances can support a claim against someone aside from your employer.

Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC is one of the few law firms in New York State operating in the area of mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer to have a Workers’ Compensation Attorney on staff ready to assist in the filing of a claim for disability benefits or death.  A claim for disability benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Law may be filed in cases where an occupational disease interrupts a period of gainful employment.  The claim is filed against the last employer for whom the claimant worked while experiencing injurious exposure to the toxic substance that caused the occupational disease. Assuming that there is adequate proof of exposure and related disease, the employer or its insurance carrier will be directed to pay a weekly wage replacement with a maximum award of approximately $800 a week, together with payment for all medical bills reasonably and necessarily related to the treatment of the disease.

Damages for Injuries

If you have a claim, a skilled personal injury lawyer at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, can usually seek economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include all of the ways your injuries measurably affected your finances. These damages can account for:

Medical Expenses

You can seek compensation for past and future medical treatment, physical therapy, mental health counseling, and medication. Personal injury lawyers typically prove medical expenses with copies of your medical bills.

Lost Income

Your compensation can include your past and future lost income. You can include the income you lost while hospitalized or receiving treatment. You can also include the difference in the income you earned while on desk duty or otherwise excused from your job by your doctor.

If you need to change jobs or retire due to a long-term disability, you can include your diminished earning capacity with your damages.

For example, suppose that you worked full-time before your accident but needed to change jobs and work part-time due to your injury. You can claim the difference in your income for the rest of your working life.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages compensate you for all of the non-financial ways your injuries diminished the quality of your life.

Some examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain
  • Mental suffering
  • Loss of sexual relations
  • Loss of activities
  • Inconvenience

Personal injury lawyers typically prove non-economic damages with records from your doctor and your mental health treatment provider.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?

The statute of limitations in New York State differs depending on the type of injury. For negligence resulting in personal injury, an action must be commenced within three years of the date of your injury or the claim is barred. If the personal injury resulted from medical malpractice, then you must file a lawsuit within 2 years and 6 months from date of malpractice, or from the end of continuous treatment rendered by the party or entity you intend to sue. If a person has died as a result of the personal injury, an action for wrongful death, if one is filed, must be filed within two years of the date of death or the claim will be barred. The identity of the defendant and the particular facts and circumstances related to your claim may change the statute of limitations that applies to your case.

Applying the statute of limitations to the facts of a particular case requires the exercise of professional judgement by a licensed attorney. If you have a question about the application of the statute of limitations to your case, please call our office.

The Role of Personal Injury Lawyers After Your Accident

Personal injury lawyers provide legal advice, representation, and advocacy. When you turn to Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, an injury lawyer will evaluate your case and present your options for obtaining compensation.

If you choose to pursue your case, your injury attorney might start pursuing injury compensation from an insurer. In the case of automobile accidents in New York, your claim will probably start with your no-fault insurer.

Your personal injury lawyer will prepare an insurance claim along with proof of your losses. We will negotiate with the insurer to try to settle your claim without filing a lawsuit.

If we cannot settle the claim, you will need to decide whether to file a lawsuit. We will prepare a lawsuit against the business or person who caused your injuries. The lawsuit will explain how the person or business is liable for your damages.

During the lawsuit, we will represent you before the judge. We will also continue to negotiate with the at-fault party to try to settle your case. If your case reaches trial, we will present your case to a jury.

Throughout your case, we will pursue the most favorable outcome under the law.

If you or a loved one has been injured in Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse due to the negligent or intentional actions of another, Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, can help. Contact us for a free and confidential evaluation with a skilled injury attorney.

Recent Review

There are surely many excellent, smart, and hard-working attorneys and John Comerford and Zach Woods rank as those. What sets John and Zach apart from those other excellent, smart, and hard-working attorneys are two factors. The first factor is passion. They truly care about what they do and they truly are in it to help people. The money they make (which is substantial) is a result of that passion and not the root of what drives them. The second factor is, for lack of a better phrase, simply “customer service.” If you call or email John or Zach, they will either pick up right away or, if they are busy, they respond quickly that “hey, we will get right back to you.” And then they get actually back to you. So if you have suffered a substantial, life-changing, catastrophic injury, the burden of that injury is enough. You shouldn’t also contend with passionless and aloof attorneys – and that is why you should choose John and Zach. – Justin C.