Timeline of a Personal Injury Case According to a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
Most personal injury claims settle through negotiations between insurance companies and injured parties.
Many factors can impact the timeline of a personal injury case in New York City. We discuss these factors and the typical timeline of an NYC personal injury case below.
Factors That May Affect Your NYC Personal Injury Case’s Timeline
Some things that can affect how long your case takes to settle may include:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- The parties involved in the personal injury case
- The willingness of the insurance company to settle
- The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit
- Whether liability for the cause of the injury could be shared between you and the at-fault party
- The laws governing the case, such as premises liability laws, medical malpractice, product liability, general negligence, etc.
- Whether a government entity is involved in the case
Each personal injury case is unique, and the process of resolving every case varies.
Example of a Timeline for a Personal Injury Case According to an NYC Personal Injury Lawyer
The steps in a personal injury case depend on the facts and circumstances. However, many of the steps overlap. For example, most claims involve an attorney investigating the cause of your injury while you seek medical treatment.
Steps in the timeline of pursuing a personal injury claim include:
Seeking Medical Treatment
You need to seek medical care for your injuries as soon as possible after your accident or personal injury. You must prove that the other party’s conduct caused your injuries. Therefore, you’ll need medical records and bills proving you were injured.
Furthermore, delays in medical care after accidents could harm your personal injury case. For example, the other party might allege that you failed to mitigate damages. In other words, your condition worsened because you did not seek prompt medical treatment.
Another consequence of delayed medical care could be allegations that the accident did not cause your injuries or that a pre-existing injury is the cause of your current condition. The defense may argue that your injuries occurred after the accident, which is why you delayed medical treatment.
Investigating the Accident and Injury
Your attorney will conduct a comprehensive accident investigation to gather the evidence necessary to prove your case. Most personal injury claims are based on negligence. Proving negligence requires proving duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Steps your lawyer will take when investigating an accident or injury include:
- Obtaining copies of the crash report, police report, and other official accident reports
- Searching for videos of the accident or incident
- Taking statements from witnesses and the parties involved in the case
- Working with your physicians to determine the extent of your injuries and impairments
- Requesting documentation from other parties that could prove the allegations, including repair shops, cell phone companies, maintenance companies, property owners, and other parties
- Taking photographs and videos of the accident scene
- Gathering physical evidence from the accident scene
- Consulting expert witnesses regarding various aspects of the case, including medical experts, financial professionals, and accident reconstructionists
- Identifying all parties who could be liable for your damages
- Confirming insurance coverage and filing claims
There could be many more steps involved in the accident investigation. Your legal team will pursue all legal causes of action and avenues to get you the money you deserve.
Waiting to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement
The duration of your recovery is generally one of the most significant factors in the timeline of a personal injury case. Settling your personal injury claim before reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) could lower the value of your claim. Until you know the extent of your injuries, it is impossible to calculate the total value of damages.
Your physician tells you when you reach MMI. The doctor will state that you have fully recovered from your injuries or that your condition is not expected to improve with continued medical treatment. You could receive compensation for future damages if you sustained permanent impairments or disabilities.
Examples of the damages included in a settlement demand are:
- The costs of medical treatment, personal care, and nursing care
- Pain and suffering caused by emotional distress, physical injuries, and mental anguish
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- A decrease in your quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
- The loss of income and benefits, including future lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Disfigurement and scarring
You can assist your legal team by taking pictures of your injuries throughout your recovery. Also, keep copies of bills, records, documents, and statements related to your accident and injury.
Additionally, you might want to begin a pain and suffering journal. The notes in the journal should detail how your injuries impact your daily life. The information can be very useful when calculating the value of pain and suffering damages.
Sending a Settlement Demand Letter
After you reach MMI and complete the investigation, your attorney will prepare a settlement demand letter. The demand letter outlines how you were injured and the details of your injuries. Then, it explains your damages and makes a demand for settlement.
Negotiating a Settlement Agreement
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to settle your claim. The insurance adjuster may accept the settlement offer, deny the claim, or make a counteroffer for a lower amount. Generally, the company issues a counteroffer.
Your attorney will review the counteroffer to determine if it compensates you fully for your damages. They may issue a counteroffer to the company for a higher amount. These back-and-forth negotiations could take several months.
If you agree to a reasonable settlement amount, you’ll sign a settlement agreement and receive your money. Unfortunately, if the insurance company refuses to compromise within a reasonable time, you may need to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York City
Filing a lawsuit lengthens the timeline of a personal injury case. It could take a year to complete the phases of a lawsuit and go to court.
Examples of the stages of a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Filing and serving pleadings (i.e., complaint, answer, counterclaim, response, third-party complaint, etc.)
- Discovery (i.e., interrogatories, depositions, requests to produce, etc.)
- Settlement negotiations, including the possibility of mediation or arbitration
- Filing pre-trial motions
- Selecting a jury
- Going to trial
- Jury verdict and appeals
Some lawsuits do not result in a trial. Your case might settle before going to trial. If not, your legal team will aggressively advocate for you in court.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an NYC Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss the Timeline of Your Case
If another party caused your injury, you could be entitled to compensation. Hiring a lawyer may help you shorten the timeline for receiving a settlement check. Contact an experienced New York City personal injury attorney from Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. for a free consultation at (212) 514-5007 to get a better idea of the timeline of your case.