10steps personal injury claim

The legal system can be confusing and daunting for people who engage with it for the first time. If like many others, you have never pursued a claim with an insurance company or filed a lawsuit in court, all the procedures and paperwork may seem complex and intimidating.

If you are a victim of an accident due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you might need to pursue a personal injury complaint, and probably litigation. The legal process involving the insurer and the courts can be overwhelming when it is added to your hospital visits and the emotional distress from your injuries and damages. 

You will need an experienced New York personal injury attorney to handle the intricacies of your case while you can focus on your recuperation. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, we keep our clients informed as we guide them through the process of a personal injury claim so that they can make empowered decisions.

Let us walk you through the steps in the timeline of a standard New York personal injury claim that you must emulate, in case of injuries suffered in an accident. You must keep in mind that each case is different in terms of its circumstances, and most personal injury cases in New York may settle instead of ending in litigation.  

  1. You Seek Medical Care

Your first concern must be to get immediate medical attention for your injuries. Depending upon the nature and extent of your injuries, you can call 911 for medical assistance at the accident site, or visit an emergency room.

Hesitation in seeking medical help can create problems later as unseen injuries in an accident may take time to become apparent. On top of this, the lack of any medical evidence connecting the injuries to your accident could give the insurance company and the jury, probable cause to assume that your injuries are not serious.

This, in turn, could hamper your legal right to compensation.

  1. You Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

In the aftermath of suffering injuries in an accident because of negligence or misconduct by an individual or entity, you must seek legal counsel as soon as possible. This is essential to protect your legal rights and to help you claim your rightful compensation for your injuries and damages.

An experienced personal injury attorney will want to know the full details of your accident during the initial free and confidential case assessment. You must be prepared to provide all the basic and relevant information related to your accident, and your subsequent injuries. 

Try to find out about your attorney and the law firm, before retaining them for your case. Feel free to enquire about their experience, reputation, track record, and resources.

  1. Your Attorney Conducts an Initial Investigation Based on Your Information

After the initial consultation with you, the lawyer typically conducts an initial investigation of your case. This is to mainly establish if a lawsuit holds merit and if it does, then how to pursue it keeping your best interest in mind.

Your lawyer will need to determine the exact nature and extent of your injuries, and the extent and scope of the other person’s fault in causing those injuries.  The category of your case will also influence the investigation. Some of the questions your lawyer needs to ask if your accident is:

Has your accident caused losses exceeding $50,000 or a serious injury, to allow for a recovery in excess of the personal injury protection (PIP) benefits?

If the NY labor laws are applicable, to allow for a recovery exceeding your workers’ compensation benefits?

If a medical professional’s failure to meet the stipulated standard of care caused your injuries? Another vital part of the initial investigation is a thorough review of insurance policy coverage and terms that dictate your ability to seek and recover damages, to a large extent. 

  1. You Sign a Representation Agreement with Your Attorney

Following the initial investigation, if your lawyer and you agree to move forward with your claim, you may enter into a representation agreement. Mostly, NY personal injury lawyers have a contingency fee agreement, where the client pays the attorney fees only if there is a favorable settlement or verdict. 

  1. Your Lawyer Files a Summons and Complaint on Your Behalf

This is the official announcement of your claim, where you let the defendant and court know about the injuries caused to you and the damages you expect to claim, to compensate for your pain and suffering. Your lawyer must file this lawsuit within the period stipulated in the statute of limitations. There are different statutes of limitations for different categories of personal injury cases, under New York law:

  • Motor Vehicle Accident: 3 years
  • Building & Construction Accident: 3 years
  • Product Liability: 3 years
  • Medical Malpractice: 2 years and 6 months

Certain exceptions, like the victim being a minor at the time of the accident or a delay in the discovery of the injuries, provide relief under the statute of limitations for the complainant to file their case.

  1. Both Lawyers Engage in the Discovery Process

Once you file a lawsuit, lawyers from both sides formally exchange documents containing evidence and information in a process termed discovery.  The entire process involves each side seeking information, asking questions, and requisitioning documents such as medical examinations, insurance policies, witness statements, etc.

If the other party refuses to acquiesce to any request under the discovery process, your attorney will need to file a motion in the court to compel them to submit such details.

  1. You and the Defendant Undergo Examination Before Trial

Both parties offer sworn testimonies in lawyers’ offices under the examination before trial (EBT) process. This is a significant stage in the trial as all the statements are recorded to ensure their consistency and accuracy. These sworn affidavits and depositions often provide a clear indication of the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent’s case.

  1. Both Lawyers Use Mediation or Negotiations to Settle Your Claim

Before going to trial, there is an effort to resolve the case through negotiations. In a settlement, your lawyer makes a demand on your behalf which the defendant’s lawyer may accept or try to reduce further through negotiation.

Sometimes, the court handling your case or a private mediation company might bring in a neutral mediator to facilitate a settlement. If both parties decide to settle, either through negotiations or mediation, the plaintiff must agree to release the defendant from further liability.

In the event of a settlement, your attorney helps expedite the disbursement of the settlement money and guides you in signing the release of liability. A variety of reasons, including expensive litigation, financial risks, protracted court trials, and the daunting discovery process, ensure that almost 95 percent of personal injury cases settle and do not go to trial.

  1. Your Lawyer Goes to Trial, If There Is No Settlement

If there is no settlement by the trial date, your personal injury case goes to trial. However, the negotiations for a settlement can continue concurrently with the trial or even after the judge or jury returns a verdict.

Both sides present evidence to support their claim or defense, in court. The evidence includes documentary, photographic, and video graphic proof of the accident, injuries, and other damages. Witnesses to the accident, family members, and medical or technical experts also take the stand to corroborate the pleas.

A trial mainly consists of two main parts, namely, liability, and damages. As a plaintiff you must prove both, to win a court trial. In cases where the defendant admits liability in face of undeniably clear negligence or misconduct on their part, the focus of the court is on deciding damages. 

  1. Your Case Reaches a Resolution with the Final Judgment

At the completion of a trial, as the jury returns its verdict, the court pronounces a judgment. Both you and the other party have the option of filing a post-trial motion or an appeal to the higher court, or Appellate Division. Any further appeal goes to the Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York.

On the conclusion of all appeals and motions, the judgment is considered final. Your personal injury attorney in New York collects the judgment and helps you pursue the disbursement of funds, in case of a recovery in your favor.

During your trial, if you paid your expenses from other sources like your workers’ compensation or health insurance, there might be liens on the recovery amount. Your attorney will help to resolve these liens so that you receive the maximum part of your compensation.  

The Timeline of an Average Personal Injury Case in New York

New York personal injury cases that go to trial may last for a year or more. However, as we said before in this article, most of the cases settle before going to trial. The capability and reputation of the law firm you retain play a big role in persuading the defendant to settle without litigation.

Work with Competent New York Personal Injury Lawyers

The trusted and competent personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, take great pride in guiding victims and their families to safely maneuver the arduous paths of their legal journeys. Our legal expertise and our compassion come together to allay our clients’ distress as we handle their claims and work towards getting them their rightful compensation.

Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP has continued its unparalleled devotion to helping people in the aftermath of a serious accident recover the compensation they need to move forward and restore their lives. Call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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