New York City Car Accident Settlement Timeline

New York City Car Accident Settlement Timeline

In October 2023, there were 8,518 motor vehicle accidents in New York City. This means that at any given point in time, thousands of people could be trying to navigate the New York City car accident settlement timeline. 

A settlement may be able to help you receive the compensation you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Here are the common steps involved in this timeline. 

Gathering Information at the Accident Scene 

An accident claim begins at the scene of the accident. 

The accident will be quickly cleaned up, so it’s important that you preserve the scene as much as possible by:

  • Asking the other driver for their name, insurance information, and contact information
  • Writing down a description of the vehicle and license plate number
  • Requesting names and contact information for any witnesses
  • Taking photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, and your injuries

You should also report the accident to law enforcement so they can respond and prepare a report. You will need this accident report when you file your insurance claim. 

Medical Treatment 

It is vital that you seek prompt medical attention after an accident. If you require immediate assistance, request an ambulance when you call 911 to report the accident. If you’re not taken immediately to the hospital, go to one as soon as possible. It’s crucial that your injuries can be properly diagnosed and you can begin receiving treatment. 

Create a folder with the following:

  • Medical records and test results
  • Medical bills
  • Receipts for prescription medications and devices
  • Appointment dates
  • Doctor’s notes

Keep all of your appointments and follow your doctor’s orders so the insurance company cannot claim that you worsened your injuries. 

Free Consultation With a Car Accident Lawyer

The sooner you hire a car accident lawyer, the sooner they can start seeking compensation for your claim. 

Personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation where you can:

  • Ask questions about your claim
  • Learn about your legal rights
  • Explore your legal options for recovery
  • Find out how a lawyer can help

After you hire a lawyer, the lawyer can take over communication with insurance companies on your behalf. They can help file your claims and conduct an in-depth investigation. 


Your lawyer may investigate and gather additional evidence to establish fault and whether a particular insurance policy applies. 

This investigation may include the following:

  • Reviewing accident reports
  • Obtaining pictures or videos of the accident scene
  • Interviewing witnesses 
  • Analyzing statements of losses
  • Reviewing insurance policies

The investigation can form the basis for your insurance claim. 

Make a Claim

New York requires all drivers to maintain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that they make a claim against after a car accident. This remains true regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, if your damages exceed the amount of that coverage or you suffered a serious injury, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver. 

An experienced car accident lawyer can prepare your claim by:

  • Gathering copies of your medical records and consulting with your doctors to understand the seriousness of your injuries
  • Retrieving financial records such as check stubs and tax returns to show your lost income
  • Citing the particular traffic laws that were violated to show liability
  • Referencing evidence that establishes fault for the accident

Your lawyer can take all this information and prepare a written demand for compensation. 

Under New York law, insurance companies have 15 days to acknowledge a claim. They also have 15 days to initiate an investigation. They can request additional information during this investigation, further extending the NYC car accident settlement. 

Settlement Negotiations 

The insurance company has 15 days to respond to a demand and acknowledge whether it is approving or denying a claim. In most situations, the insurance company will not immediately accept the lawyer’s demand. Insurance companies are skilled at minimizing the value of claims to protect their bottom line. 

Your lawyer will want to obtain maximum compensation for you, including compensation for your pain and suffering. This puts your interests and the insurance company’s interests at odds. 

Your lawyer and the insurance company may repeatedly go back and forth, making different offers and counteroffers. However, as the client, you ultimately decide whether to settle your case or proceed to trial. 

Receive Compensation 

If you agree to settle your case, you should receive your settlement check within a few days of signing the agreement. As part of this process, you will give up your right to sue the defendant or seek more money from the insurance company. You cannot recover more compensation even if you find out your injuries were more severe or incurred unexpected expenses. For this reason, ensuring your settlement fairly compensates you for the full extent of your damages is vital. 

Once your lawyer receives your settlement check, they will deduct legal costs and fees. Any other outstanding amounts, such as medical liens, will also be paid off. You will then receive the remainder. 


If you do not agree with the insurance company’s assignment of fault or its offer is too low, your attorney may proceed with taking your case to court. This process begins by filing a complaint and summons. The complaint sets out the facts of the case and your demand for compensation. The summons states there is a pending lawsuit and notifies the defendant that they have a specific amount of time to respond to the legal action to avoid a default judgment. 

A lawsuit must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations. In New York, car accident victims generally have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. 

After the complaint is filed and the defendant is served, the defendant files an answer to the complaint. The parties then prepare for trial. Their respective attorneys may file various motions and request information to use at trial through the discovery process. 

Contact an Attorney for a Free Case Review

You can reach out to an experienced New York City car accident lawyer for help with the potential timeline for your case. Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers can walk you through every step in the claims process to recover compensation after an NYC car accident. 

The process can be long and confusing, and it’s helpful to have a skilled advocate to help you navigate it. Contact us today for a free case review.