Where to File Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?

Any person who has suffered a personal injury is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in New York. Through this, they can seek compensation for the economic and non-economic damages that they have suffered. However, to be able to recover damages, the victim (called the plaintiff) has to provide evidence of the liability of the party at fault (called the defendant).

where file personal injury lawsuit

When the losses are within the range of $5,000 to $10,000, the claims are usually settled through the local small claims court. In more serious injuries, when the damages exceed this figure, it is best to consult an experienced New York personal injury lawyer who can help you file the personal injury lawsuit.

How is a Complaint Filed in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?

When you first approach a personal injury attorney, they collect all the relevant details to determine if you have a valid case. Once this is established, they will help you file the complaint of personal injury in the appropriate civil court. This official document gives details of the harm caused by the defendant to the plaintiff.

As the plaintiff, you will have to verify and swear to the truth of the details provided in the complaint. When drafting the complaint, it is vital to use a manner that succeeds in obtaining precise responses from the defendant in the ‘Answer’ section.

While filing the summons and complaint with the court, you have to pay the prescribed fees. The court then gives your case an index number that will be used to track your case. If you file any more documents in this case, you must make sure that you mention this index number.

How is the Complaint Summons Served in a Personal Injury Case?

After filing the complaint, the attorney will next move to locate the defendant so that they can serve the complaint on them. The summons notifies the defendant to appear and file their answer within a specified time period that generally ranges from 20 to 30 days from the date of serving the summons.

Serving the complaint basically involves a physical delivery of the complaint in a manner that can stand up to later verification. This is important so that the defendant does not get the opportunity to claim that they never knew about the lawsuit.

Most personal injury lawyers use the services of professional process servers who have the necessary license to provide this service. This is vital because such firms have the necessary experience to ensure that the defendant does not succeed in evading being served with the complaint. The service paper also carries information on the date by which the defendant has to appear in court.

An important fact to remember is that whatever the amount of the claim, the lawsuit is always to be filed only against the party you consider at fault for the personal injury you sustained. The reason why the insurance company of the defendant steps into the process is because it is their duty to defend their client. This is the reason why the personal injury attorney hired by the defendant’s insurance company handles the legal proceedings for them.

What Happens After Serving the Complaint to the Defendant?

Once a defendant has been served with the complaint, they have to provide their written responses to each of the allegations. For every paragraph of the complaint that contains an allegation of the plaintiff, the defendant may respond with “Denied” or the words “Denied upon Information and Belief”.

If there is any paragraph that does not bear such a response from the defendant, it is assumed that they accept and admit to the allegation made in that paragraph. This is one of the prime reasons why having an expert personal injury lawyer draft your complaint can make such a huge difference to the outcome of your case.

When to Sue in a Small Claims Court in New York City?

If your case is a minor injury claim and you decide to handle it on your own, the case will first go through a phase of negotiation with the defendant’s insurance provider. If you are happy with the amount they offer in the settlement, the case ends there. However, if you are not satisfied with their offer, and negotiations fail, you should consider filing a case in a small claims court in New York City. The procedures in such a court are quite simple as compared to the higher courts and the fee is far lesser.

A small claims court trial generally takes only a few hours and if you win the case, all you need to do is to wait for the check from the insurance company. The amount you receive finally will include the amount specified in the court’s verdict along with reimbursement for the expenses you incurred on filing your case.

While such courts are best for dispute settlement without the involvement of an attorney, you must remember that they have limits on how much compensation they can award. Generally, such small claims courts award damages from a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $25,000. So, if your damages exceed this figure, it would be best to consult a seasoned New York personal injury attorney who can help you take your dispute to a higher court.

When Do You Need a Lawyer to Handle Your Personal Injury Claim in NYC?

If your personal injury involves a minor claim amount or if it is a pretty straightforward case, you can definitely handle it on your own. However, when it comes to complicated claims and cases that involve a huge amount of money, it is best to hire a competent personal injury lawyer in New York. Failing to do so could actually jeopardize your ability to recover the compensation that is your rightful due. Here are a few situations when you must strongly consider engaging an attorney familiar with the personal injury claim process:

  • Catastrophic injuries that involve serious damage of the brain or spinal cord
  • Seriously debilitating injuries caused by defective product accident
  • Medical malpractice cases
  • Wrongful death situations
  • Car accidents where the limits of your policy are not sufficient to cover all persons who have been injured
  • Accidents that involve multiple cars where more than one individual may be liable for the accident
  • Cases where you need to sue the Government of New York

How Should You File a Personal Injury Case Against the Government in New York?

If you have sustained injuries in an accident that resulted from the negligence of the government or any agency representing the government, you can sue them for damages. Your attorney will first have to file a Notice of Claim that informs the municipality of your accident.

This document will give information on the name and address of the injured person and their attorney, along with details of the accident and an outline of the injuries sustained by the victim. Within 30 days of filing this notice, the municipality can request a preliminary hearing to commence an investigation of your claims.

Reasons to Hire a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in NYC

If you are not sure about whether to hire an attorney to deal with your personal injury case, here are 3 reasons why most people prefer to work with a knowledgeable and experienced New York City personal injury lawyer:

They know the law

Personal injury cases are a complex legal affair and strict rules are in place to ensure that they proceed in an appropriate manner. The attorney has far greater knowledge of how the system operates and this means they can take all the steps necessary to ensure you get the justice you deserve.

They can get the documentation right

A personal injury claim process involves quite a lot of paperwork that needs to be prepared in keeping with strict legal guidelines. Briefs, complaints, motions, and other forms of documentation need to be filed within specific deadlines and an attorney knows how to do this perfectly because that is what they have been trained to do.

They know what NOT to say in court

Saying the right thing in court is important, but not saying the wrong thing can often make a vital difference to how your case proceeds. Inexperienced litigants who represent themselves have been known to lose their cases because they inadvertently admit fault, or express their guilt about not abiding by the insurance policy terms. A personal injury lawyer will never make such statements and instead, highlight the points that can ensure you maximum compensation.

Contact a Committed Lawyer to Get the Damages You Deserve

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the fault of another person, you have the right to claim damages from them. However, to ensure that you get the compensation, you must act fast under the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney in New York.

Our lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you pursue your case. To learn more about we can work with you, get in touch with us today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free consultation.