When you have sustained serious injuries due to the negligence of another party, one of the first things you may wonder is the average time to settle a personal injury case. Although New York is a no-fault state for car accident claims, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party if you meet the definition of serious injury.
It’s also important to understand that New York imposes a three-year time limit starting with the date of your injury for filing a lawsuit. While you should take prompt action on your case due to the car accident claim time limit, it can still be difficult to determine how long it will take to prepare and argue your case as well as how long you will wait for a settlement check.
The attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine work diligently to receive maximum compensation in the shortest time period. With many variables involved, the best option to understanding how long it may take to settle a personal injury claim is to speak with an attorney about your specific situation and the parties involved, however, knowing the basic process of a personal injury claim can help you set proper timing expectations.
The Process Of A Personal Injury Claim
Although every personal injury case is unique, most follow a traditional timeline when it comes to pursuing a lawsuit. Each case starts with the injury itself. It’s important to seek prompt medical attention after an accident, even if you don’t feel like you sustained any injuries. Many injuries, including concussions and whiplash, don’t have obvious symptoms right away. Another reason why seeking medical care is essential is that the claims adjuster representing the other party’s insurance company will assume your injuries weren’t all that serious if you didn’t require medical care.
It’s time to hire a lawyer when you realize that your injuries are serious and that they have a substantial impact on your quality of life. Keep in mind that experience matters when it comes to achieving a successful outcome with your personal injury lawsuit. The injury attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine have been serving the legal needs of injured New Yorkers since 1992 and would be honored to do the same for you.
After you decide to retain our law firm, the lawyer assigned to you will begin investigating your claim and gathering evidence to support it. This starts by conducting an extensive interview with you to learn more about your background before the accident, how the accident happened, your current medical condition, and the treatment you expect to need in the future. We will also ask about your work history and whether the accident has affected your earning capacity. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks to months to gather the relevant medical bills and records.
We are now prepared to negotiate with the insurance company or attorney representing the other party. If you can financially afford to wait, it’s best to put off these negotiations until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). The risk in not doing so is that you could receive an offer too low to meet your needs.
Personal Injury Trial Period
While many claims may reach a fair settlement through mediation, our attorneys prepare every claim as if it will be taken to trial. Our lawyers are prepared to aggressively represent your interests to a jury of six of your peers. If a fair settlement can’t be reached during mediation your personal injury case will go proceed to court. A personal injury trial is then scheduled based on the court’s availability, depending on many variables, such as the where your case is venued, the litigation reputation of the defendant, or volume of existing court cases, a trial may be scheduled out as far as one to two years in the future.
During the trial, your attorney and the attorney representing the other party will each present evidence that proves or denies who is responsible for causing the accident that injured you. Besides the three-year statute of limitations in New York, it’s crucial to understand that it follows a pure comparative negligence rule when it comes to personal injury claims.
Pure comparative negligence means that the jury will reduce your financial compensation by the percentage of fault that it assigns to you. For example, if the jury decides that the other party is only 75 percent to blame for causing your injuries, it would deduct 25 percent from the amount you receive in your winning lawsuit.
How Long Does Court Take?
Once your case comes up for a court trial, it can take anywhere from a few hours to several months to complete. It’s common for judges to delay trial dates for personal reasons, such as taking a day off or being too busy with another case. If you experience a case delay and don’t understand what is happening, just ask your Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm personal injury attorney for clarification.
The Personal Injury Settlement
In addition to asking how long does a personal injury lawsuit take, plaintiffs typically want to know how much they can expect to receive if their lawsuit is successful. To answer the first question, it all depends on how much money you’re trying to receive and how long it takes to gather the evidence to prove your claim. Generally, you can expect the case to take longer to complete if you’re asking for a substantial amount of financial compensation. Complex personal injury cases such as medical malpractice and product liability also take longer to process.
An insurance adjuster or jury considers several factors before coming up with a final settlement offer. The first thing they look at is your actual financial losses associated with the accident. This includes such things as past and present medical care, time missed from work, and property damages. They also consider the potential of future medical costs and whether you will be able to return to work in the same capacity as before the accident. If not, your financial compensation package should reflect this.
Adjusters and juries also consider non-monetary losses in serious injury cases. This includes such things as emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. These categories can be more difficult to prove and require an experienced attorney who understands how to elicit sympathy from a jury.
Do you have questions about how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim? We can help. To speak with an attorney about the claims process, or to learn more about your legal options following a serious injury, contact us online or call 212-268-3222 for a free consultation.