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New York Negligence Laws

In general, negligence is a complicated and confusing area of the law. Broadly defined, negligence usually occurs when one person acts carelessly or fails to act when they have a duty to do so, which somehow (either directly or indirectly) causes some type of injury or harm to another person. Negligence often comes down to a failure to act prudently when you owe another person a duty to do so. Take, for instance, something being spilled on the floor of a local store. If the spill was not promptly cleaned up before a customer slipped on it, fell, and broke their arm, that person may have a negligence claim against the shopkeeper.

This article provides a general overview of New York negligence laws.

New York Negligence Laws

Negligence statutes are usually fairly similar from state to state. The degree to which negligence is shared (when both parties are partially at fault) does vary, however. In some states, if a plaintiff contributed in any way to the accident (i.e. is found to be at fault even 1%), they cannot recover damages at all.

New York does not follow this rule. The state still allows plaintiffs to recover if they contributed to their own injury, but their damages are reduced in proportion to the amount they contributed to the injury. This is called "comparative negligence."

The chart below lays out the basics of New York negligence laws. See Negligence: Background for more general information.

Code Section

Civ. Prac. L. & R. §§ 1411, et seq.

Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law​

Comparative Negligence

The claimant can still recover damages from the defendant so long as the claimant is not found to be 100% responsible for their damages

Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery


Contribution Among Tortfeasors

Yes; Civ. Prac. L. & R. §§1401 et seq. – Two or more tortfeasors who are liable for damages for the same personal injury may seek contributions from one another regardless of whether or not the tortfeasor is a party to the lawsuit or a judgment has been rendered against them.

Uniform Act


Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New York personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Resources

For more information on negligence laws in New York, you may find it helpful to consult the links provided below. They lead to additional resources discussing negligence, as well as to the actual statutes in the New York Code.

You can also reference FindLaw's section on Negligence, which contains not only a discussion of the different elements and filing requirements involved in a negligence claim, but also descriptions of the various types of negligence cases, such as personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice.

Research the Law:

Related Resources for Negligence Laws:

Learn More About New York Negligence Laws from a Local Attorney

New York has a wide variety of negligence and tort laws. If you've been harmed in New York and you deserve compensation, it's best to speak with a local personal injury attorney who will be familiar with the state's negligence laws and how they affect your case.

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