steps personal injury lawsuit

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a powerful way of getting the responsible party to pay for your damages and injury. Generally, the only way for an injured victim to get the compensation they deserve is through a personal injury lawsuit. Insurance companies in New York often deny or reduce settlement for complicated injury claims or high-dollar claims unless litigation is involved.

You should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney in New York that understands your unique circumstances. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate when the negligent party and their insurance company are unwilling to compensate you fairly for the damages. While each personal injury lawsuit is unique, there are a few common steps.

In this guide, we will discuss the various steps involved in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

1. Determine the Court to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York

You can file a personal injury claim with municipal courts, small claims courts, county, state and federal courts, and courts of appeal. It’s vital to determine the venue and jurisdiction. Personal injury lawsuits are essentially civil litigations and can be filed in more than one district. Should you file in the county where the injury occurred, you reside, or the defendant does business or resides?

You will need to consult with an experienced NYC personal injury attorney if your injury claim is complex and you want to obtain a high compensation amount. High-dollar cases need knowledge of complex legal procedures. Courts follow strict rules where evidence and pre-trial discovery is concerned.

2. Submit a Summons and Complaint

Personal injury lawsuits commence when the plaintiff or the injured party files a Complaint and Summons in the appropriate court along with the filing fees. This is submitted with the Clerk of the Court. Subsequent filings in most courts are made electronically.

The Complaint will list the legal reasons for you to sue the defendant along with the various facts of your case. The Summons notifies the other party that you are going to sue them. Your attorney can make sure the defendant gets served with the summons and complaint.

Every court has its own “rules of civil procedure” regarding timelines for service and responses, and preparing and filing court documents, among other things. Your attorney should typically have served the Summons and Complaint within 60 days of filing it. The defendant gets 30 days to respond to the Summons and Complaint.

You should know that the insurance company has a “duty to defend” clause added to the insurance policy to represent their policyholder during litigation. Attorneys of an insurance company will fight tooth and nail to keep you from winning the settlement claim. They will employ several legal maneuvers designed to keep you overwhelmed.

Judges apply strict rules of evidence and procedure in courts. You may end up with a folder full of unpaid bills and empty pockets if you fail to meet the time limit or miss a deadline for a motion.

3. Preliminary Hearing and Scheduling Order

There will be a preliminary hearing once the Summons and Complaint have been served. This is usually within a few weeks after the defendant has had an opportunity to respond. The judge meets attorneys and parties of both sides at the preliminary hearing. This is to discuss the trial dates and other important milestones.

The judge will set forth the dates and deadlines through a Scheduling Order after the preliminary hearing. These are a few things included in the Scheduling Order:

  • Settlement conference
  • Discovery cut off
  • Trial date
  • Pretrial motions deadline

4. Discovery Phase

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Opponents in the lawsuit can ask for specific information from each other during the pre-trial discovery. In some complex cases, the discovery phase of litigation can last for several months. These are the common legal tools used during the discovery phase:

  • Interrogatories: This is a list of questions that seeks detailed information about certain specific case facts. For instance, the defendant’s attorney may ask detailed questions about the plaintiff’s injuries, anticipated recovery, and medical treatment. Interrogatories also include questions regarding potential witnesses and evidence.
  • Request for admissions: These are statements that require a hard yes or no from the responding party. Requests for admissions need to be admitted as being true or denied as false. For instance, the defendant may ask the plaintiff to admit that they weren’t injured in a car accident.
  • Subpoenas: These are used by attorneys to obtain private documents, financial records, and medical records from the other side. For instance, if you are injured in a car accident and suspect the responsible driver was on the phone, your lawyer will get a copy of the at-fault driver’s cell phone records by using a subpoena.
  • Depositions: Parties get interviewed by the opposing counsel during depositions. These are taken under oath and are usually done in front of a videographer or court reporter. You and your attorney will be provided with a transcript following the deposition. You should review these for errors.

A robust and accomplished attorney, one who has been through the legal battlefields before and walked away unscathed, will help you get ready for your deposition. You should be aware of the mistakes to avoid when providing sworn testimony. You should also practice answering difficult questions regarding the accident and your injuries. Many personal injury lawsuits get settled following depositions. The responsible party may make an admission of fault that tilts the evidence in your favor, or the other side may agree to a settlement after they understand that you will be a credible witness in front of a sympathetic jury.

5. Participate in the Settlement Conference

Both parties have a clearer idea of the strengths and weaknesses of a case following the discovery process. The courts may require you to attend a settlement conference or participate in mediation. You will need to summarize your position to the judge at the settlement conference.

The judge usually meets both parties separately to discuss a potential settlement. They may act as the go-between for the purpose of facilitating a settlement. The case will go to trial as scheduled if you are unable to reach an agreement with the other party. Stemming from this, you should note that settlement negotiations may continue throughout the process.

6. Pre-trial Motions and Jury Trial (If Settlement Negotiations Fail)

In exceptional circumstances, the settlement negotiations between the plaintiff and the defendant may not work out. In this situation, your personal injury lawyer should be prepared to take the case to trial. It may take a few weeks or months before a jury trial commences. This time can be used for pre-trial motions and jury selection. Motions refer to requests made to the judge for making a legal ruling on an issue. Common pre-trial motions include:

  • Motion for Summary Judgment: This involves asking the judge to decide who wins before a trial commences
  • Motion to Dismiss: The defendant requests the judge to have the case dismissed because the plaintiff doesn’t have a lawsuit
  • Motion in Limine: This refers to a request to not allow certain evidence from coming in front of the jury

 It is important to note that motions are not accepted indiscriminately. The other side has an opportunity to argue why the motion should be ruled out and not granted.

Jury Selection

Jury selection may take 1 – 2 days. Competent personal injury attorneys can usually wrap up a trial in 2 – 3 days. Both sides get an opportunity to interview prospective jurors. The questions asked are supposed to verify a person’s suitability for deciding a case. For instance, the attorney may ask the person if they are related to or know anyone on the defense or plaintiff’s team.

Jury Trial

Both sides will make an opening statement at the start of the trial. The plaintiff’s side will need to prove to the jury that the defendant behaved in a negligent way that caused the injuries and damages. Your attorney will prove the case using police reports, expert witness testimony, cell phone records, and other types of evidence.

The defense will also offer their own testimony and evidence in rebuttal. You may be called for testifying at trial. The judge will provide instructions to the jury once both sides finish presenting their cases. The instructions are meant to explain relevant and applicable law to the jurors. The jury verdict is read aloud in the courtroom when they finish deliberating.

7. Filing an Appeal

There is some chance that the defendant may file for an appeal when you win in civil court. Personal injury case appeal may take months or years. In the meantime, the insurance company’s attorneys will do everything they can to prevent you from seeing any compensation. The defense attorney may also ask you to accept a lower settlement than the jury award in return for not filing an appeal.

Certain injury cases may result in multi-million dollar verdicts. Moreover, you will need to work with a specialized law firm with enough financial resources to cover the costs of electronic evidence managers, expert witnesses, and other legal formalities.

Choose the Most Results-Driven Personal Injury Law Firm with a Track Record of Large Settlements and Verdicts

The experienced car accident attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP will walk you through a personal injury lawsuit from start to finish. Our capable and competent NYC injury lawyers, assistants, and paralegals have the necessary legal knowledge, resources, and dedication to obtain maximum recovery for you.

We will not be satisfied until you are. Our attorneys will fight to obtain maximum compensation whether it is through settlement or trial. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we are determined to invest in a productive and lasting attorney-client relationship, while achieving the best possible outcome in your case. To set up your free consultation, call 212-344-1000 or reach us online

How To Sue For Personal Injury

Any accident resulting in severe personal injury can have life-altering consequences. You may go through prolonged pain and suffering, experience emotional anguish, deal with mounting medical bills, loss of wages, and more.

Your priority should always be to focus on a full and swift recovery regardless of the situation you find yourself in. At the same time, you should not hesitate in safeguarding your financial future and protecting your rights when the unexpected happens.

An experienced and resourceful personal injury lawyer in New York can explain your legal options in detail and help you move forward through the process for obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.

Step 1: Hire a Top-Rated New York Personal Injury Law Firm

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If you have been injured in an accident due to the fault of another and looking for ways to seek the compensation you deserve, you should get in touch with a leading NYC personal injury attorney.

The legal team at the law firm will understand the individual circumstances surrounding your accident and hand-hold you through the entire legal process to obtain your rightful damages from the negligent party.

Depending on the severity of your injuries and the complexity of your claim, the attorney will explain the amount of work required to prepare for your case. A successful and reliable attorney will do the following things to ensure maximum possible compensation for you:

  • Communicate regularly with you to ensure that you know what is happening at each stage of the case
  • Gather the necessary evidence, such as photos, witness statements, forensic details, police reports, and other information
  • Advocate strongly on your behalf when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company
  • File all necessary legal paperwork to ensure your rights are protected
  • Assist with medical arrangements so that you receive the necessary care and treatment for your injuries

The conclusion of the initial consultation with an attorney should leave you with a better understanding of the expected legal timelines, what to expect in terms of financial damages, your legal rights under New York law, and other issues associated with settling the claim or going to trial.

Step 2: Don’t Engage Directly with the Insurance Company

Don’t negotiate your case directly, if you are contacted by an insurance adjuster. Let your attorney handle communications and negotiations for you. You need to understand that the insurance company is not on your side. Their job is to represent the defendant and minimize the payout made to you. To this effect, they employ various strategies.

For instance, the insurance company may make an early settlement offer. You may believe that this is what the claim is worth, even if it seems low on the face value. The truth is early settlement offers are rarely ever fair. They are nowhere near the amount you could possibly receive through a trial or settlement. Based on this, accepting an early settlement offer will also prevent you from seeking further compensation, even when new injuries come to the forefront.

Insurance companies typically make the highest offers when the case is approaching its trial date. It’s fundamental that you wait and allow your physician to provide you with a complete diagnosis and extent of your injuries.

Step 3: Estimate the Value of Your Claim with Your Attorney’s Help

You and your attorney will need to prove that: (a) the other party owed you a duty of care; (b) they failed in performing this duty of care; and (c) their actions or failure to act led to your bodily injury and pain and suffering. You would need to prove that your injuries caused you economic as well as non-economic damages.

Major types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit include medical bills, lost wages (past and future), and pain and suffering. The awarded damages may be reduced if you are found to be partially at-fault for your accident as per NY CPLR Section 1411 of contributory fault rules. The legal process can take more time if your case goes to trial. You may want to speak with the attorney about negotiating a fair settlement with the defendants out of court.

Injured victims rarely have the necessary funds to pay all of their bills while they are out of a job and their injury lawsuit works through the cogs of the court system. While attorneys in New York are prohibited from loaning money to their clients, there are other financial options. You can sue for car accidents, slip and fall accidents, wrongful death, construction accident, medical malpractice, premise liability, and products liability in order to obtain your rightful financial damages.

Step 4: Determine Liability of All Potential Negligent Parties

Your attorney will need to work out which parties are liable for your illness or injury to ensure maximum damages can be obtain from each negligent party involved. In many personal injury cases, claims can get filed against someone unexpected. For instance, if you were injured at work because of faulty equipment, you may need to file a claim against the equipment manufacturer instead of your employer.

 Typical at-fault parties in a personal injury lawsuit are:

  • Road accident claims: car driver or truck driver and trucking company
  • Slip and fall claims: Store owner or local authority
  • Medical malpractice claims: Doctors and hospitals
  • Industrial illness claims: Employer
  • Workplace accident claims: Employer
  • Product liability claims: Manufacturer, distributor and retailer

Step 5: Gather Maximum Evidence to Prove Fault

You need to let your attorney know everything you can remember about the accident, including how it happened and whom do you think is responsible. It will be helpful if you can take photos and make videos of the accident scene and all details that you find relevant. Skilled attorneys perform their own additional investigation as well.

The attorney will get a copy of the police report if the police were involved. You may be able to get a copy of the accident report in some cases from the Health and Safety Executive. In car accidents, dashcam footage can be used as evidence too. It’s critical that you take down the contact information of eyewitnesses. Your attorney will contact them for statements that may help in supporting your claim.

Step 6: Maintain Medical Records Your Injury and Illness

You will need to provide evidence of your injury and the impact it has had on your life. This makes it crucial to seek immediate medical attention and keep up with all follow-up appointments. Your attorney will use your medical records and photos of visible injuries as evidence.

The attorney may ask for the following:

  • Arrange to have a medical specialist assess your injuries
  • Consult specialists for determining the time taken by the injuries to heal
  • Determine the long-term impact of your physical injury

In case of serious injury, you should also arrange for needs assessment with a support and rehabilitation coordinator. The experts will determine whether you need any special therapy or rehabilitation. They will let you know if you need to make changes to your accommodation or care support.

Step 7: Arrange for Thorough Medical Care, Therapy and Rehabilitation

After your emergency medical treatment following the accident, your next step should be to ensure you receive extended medical care, physical therapy, and rehabilitation that allow you to make the best possible recovery. You may want to access private care if you are unable to wait for NHS support. This will ensure that you get the best possible treatment. Your attorney will discuss your recovery goals and help you obtain the best possible care.

You may want to work with medical specialists for understanding the kind of recovery you can make. It is important that you set achievable goals as per your injuries. Personal injury attorneys can get you in touch with the right organizations and people that help you achieve these milestones.

Step 8: Review Your Recovery Before Reaching a Settlement

Your recovery progress can have an impact on the settlement amount. In some cases, a second medical assessment may be required. You should have a fair idea about how your recovery is progressing. An experienced personal injury attorney will make sure the medical experts fine-tune their recommendations based on your recovery to ensure accuracy of the evidence.

Step 9: Calculate the Maximum Compensation You are Entitled to Under New York Laws

Your attorney will calculate the compensation you require based on the following:

  • Your pain and suffering
  • Your injuries
  • Cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy
  • Travel costs related to the accident (to and from medical appointments)
  • Lost income
  • Adaptive equipment, such as accessible car and wheelchair
  • Cost of moving to an accessible home
  • Cost of professional carer or compensation for a family member that spends time taking care of you
  • Property damage

Step 10: Reach a Fair Settlement while Remaining Fully Prepared to Go to Trial

The insurance company may suggest settling your claim for a certain amount, also known as Part 36 offer. You can also make an offer on your own. Multiple offers can be made during negotiations to arrive at a figure acceptable for everyone. Your attorney will provide you with the necessary legal advice and support while communicating and negotiating on your behalf. Pertaining to this, the decision to accept an offer or not lies solely on you.

Your attorney can also take the claim to court if you are unable to arrive at an offer. Moreover, this can be time-consuming, which is why most attorneys try for an out-of-court settlement first. The judge will examine the evidence, listen to witnesses, and decide the compensation amount if the claim goes to a court hearing.

Our Trial Attorneys Have the Experience to Take on Large Insurance Companies. Get a Strong Legal Representation to Fight for Your Rights.

When you hire the legal services of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, you essentially get leading personal injury attorneys in New York with over a century of combined experience. Our resourceful and dedicated attorneys have recovered more than a $1 billion in settlements and verdicts.

If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance following an accident, get in touch with the highly rated legal team at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP with a 95% success rate in personal injury claims. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 212-344-1000 or fill out this online contact form.

How To Win A Personal Injury Case

When you suffer a personal injury due to another’s fault, you have a right to seek financial damages from the negligent party to cover your medical costs, loss of income and pain and suffering. You are probably aware that you will need to file an insurance claim.

It can be daunting if you have never negotiated a personal injury claim before and don’t know your rights. This makes it crucial to hire a personal injury attorney in New York City. An experienced attorney will take the burden of the claims process, evidence gathering, and negotiating with the insurance company off your shoulders so that you can focus on your recovery.

Here are proven tips that can help you win a personal injury case in New York.

Document Everything

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The last thing anyone thinks of when involved in an accident is to take photos. Furthermore, photographs and evidence are helpful in preserving evidence. An image is worth a thousand words. With that said, it’s common for at-fault drivers to apologize at the accident scene when in the moment and change their story later. The insurance company may try to deny the claim by saying that you caused the accident.

Hence, videos and photographs can make all the difference to personal injury claims. You should be proactive in taking photos of the vehicles involved before they are removed from the roadway, damage to the vehicles, and skid marks if you are filing a car accident claim. The same rules apply in every personal injury claim. For instance, you should take photos of the hazard or liquid that caused your slip and fall accident before the store cleans it up.

It's crucial that you ask someone – a friend, family member, or a witness to take photographs from different distances. This will help in getting other things, such as lighting and weather conditions into context. CCTV footage can serve as great evidence as well depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding a claim.

With that said, it’s poignant that you get in touch with an attorney quickly to get access to the video footage. There have been instances where storeowners have hidden or denied the existence of such videos.

Obtain Witness Details

Witnesses are vital to every personal injury settlement. If a responsible party fails to admit that they caused the accident, an independent witness testimony in your favor may become the difference in winning or losing your case. You should take the name, number, email address, and home address of any witness that saw the accident occur.

Witnesses are crucial in every type of personal injury lawsuit, whether you were injured in a slip and fall case or a car accident. You should take contact information of anyone that helped you afterwards or was in the vicinity of the accident.

Get Thorough Medical Care

You should go to an urgent care center or an emergency room following your injury. This is because injuries can be worse than you believe in some instances. There are certain injuries that have delayed symptoms. You won't know the true extent of your injuries immediately. You need to undergo diagnostic testing and follow-up treatments.

It’s vital that you follow the doctor’s instructions completely. You should be on the same page with the treatment plan and any restrictions they may place on your daily activities. Your health will suffer without the necessary medical treatment. You may also miss out on adding undiagnosed injuries to the personal injury claim.

You need to understand that once you accept a settlement offer, you will not be able to seek further compensation. This is even if new injuries regarding the accident come to light. It’s best that you follow your attorney’s advice on whether to accept a settlement offer or not.

Avoid Direct Negotiation with Insurance Adjusters

Insurance adjusters are known for protecting the profits of the insurance companies. They want to minimize or deny the payout. Insurance companies protect their profits by collecting more through insurance premiums and paying out as little as possible to injured people. Insurers are known to do everything possible to protect their money.

It’s common for insurance adjusters to ask for recorded statements and take photos that they later use sneakily to deny or reduce the compensation. The insurance adjuster may show that you are not as injured as you claim to be through your social media posts as well. You should allow your personal injury attorney speak with the insurance company.

You should not give any details regarding the accident or your injury without first speaking with an attorney. In fact, it’s best that your attorney takes over any negotiations on your behalf. Personal injury attorneys have the expertise and skills to prepare a strong claim that compels insurance companies to take them seriously.

Don’t Discuss the Accident on Social Media

Investigators of the insurance company may view your social media account even if you kept the settings “private.” For evidentiary purposes, a judge can ask to be allowed to view all social media profiles. Even if they don’t get a court approved mandate, they can always check out your friends’ profiles to look for photos of you.

You need to remember that anything you post on social media can be used as evidence against you. You should try and refrain posting anything on social media. You will have nothing to worry about in this case.

Choose a Proven and Capable New York Lawyer to Win Your Personal Injury Case

A formidable and proven personal injury attorney will understand the subtle specifics of your case and how much your claim is actually worth. They will also be able to handle the insurance company. Filing a personal injury claim can quickly become overwhelming with the many forms to complete, documents to file, and communications to deal with. Having a personal injury attorney on your side with years of experience can help protect your interests.

You will be able to avoid making mistakes by using your attorney’s skills and knowledge. You can have better odds of receiving a high payment from the insurance company by hiring a personal injury attorney that fights for you. Most injury law firms work on a contingency basis, which means you won't need to pay anything until they win the case for you. Your attorney will be more inclined to settle the claim successfully and quickly.

A hard working and considerate personal injury attorney will always prepare a strong claim, like they were going to trial. This usually compels insurance companies to take plaintiffs seriously and to offer a high settlement offer. Showing the insurance company that you are prepared to fight may persuade them to make a settlement offer faster.

Share All Facts with Your Attorney about the Accident

It’s almost impossible to hide any details of your life in this modern age of electronic medical records, social media, and insurance claim records. You should always be honest about everything regarding your injuries and the accident. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident earlier, you should let the treating physicians know about it if they ask your medical history.

You should let your attorney know about certain things as well. For instance, if your job required you to lift heavy items occasionally even after you are injured, or if you visited a family member six months after being in an accident. Knowing such details can allow physicians to make an accurate diagnosis. Your personal injury attorney will be able to create an effective legal strategy for achieving maximum settlement.

The insurance company will hire their own investigators. They will sooner or later find out such details anyway. Hence, there is no need to be anything but honest. You may harm your case if you are caught lying or hiding factual information.

Trust the Legal Process Your Attorney Follows

You need to be patient when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit. There have been several lawsuits that have taken years to arrive at a conclusion. In fact, one of the oldest tricks used by insurance companies is to delay communication and settlement. They want you to jump through the hoops to achieve fair compensation.

The primary reason behind this strategy is simple. The insurance company understands that injured people usually don’t have enough money to pay for medical bills and that they will eventually settle for a lower and unfair compensation amount. Rather than jumping on the first settlement offer that comes your way, you should trust the process and discuss the impact of your decision with a qualified personal injury attorney.

Skilled and Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorneys in NYC are Here to Help You – Book Your Free Consultation Today

The resourceful and qualified New York personal injury attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you obtain maximum compensation following a personal injury. Our attorneys can take care of any negotiations with the insurance company and the legal process of filing a claim while you focus on your recovery and prepare to move forward with your life.

By working with an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorney at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, you get someone that knows how to get you the financial compensation you deserve. Over the decades, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients win over a billion dollar in settlements with a staggering success rate of 95%. To request your free, no-obligations consultation, call us at 212-344-1000 or complete this online form

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