Introduction to New York Car Accident Claims
You or a loved one have just been injured in a car accident in New York: as a result, you are likely in need of money or funds because of your medical expenses, having to replace your vehicle or other property, and meet your everyday living expenses without the benefit of a regular, steady income. Unfortunately, financial help may not come immediately: even though New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, the monetary compensation you recover from your own insurance company may not be sufficient to address all of the expenses that are piling up fully. Successfully pursuing compensation through a car accident case can help you “fill the gap” between what your insurance company provided to you and your total financial obligations and losses, but these cases can take some amount of time to complete.
How Long Will My New York Car Accident Case Take to Complete?
Predicting how much time it will take for your New York car accident case to complete is not always a straightforward task. If you are able to file a New York car collision lawsuit, it is usually because you have suffered significant and/or permanent injuries as a result of the accident – which also means your case is likely to involve complicated evidence. Knowing the general timeline for these sorts of cases, however, may help you prepare yourself and your family for what may be a long journey toward compensation:
- Within 30 days after the accident: You must report the accident to your insurance company within 30 days of the accident in order to be able to obtain the benefits of your policy. Contacting your insurance company more than 30 days following your accident may jeopardize your ability to receive the benefits of your no-fault insurance policy. Once your insurance company has received your claim and processed it, determining that your claim is legitimate, you should receive your benefits shortly thereafter.
- Within three years of your accident: If you have been severely or permanently injured and require additional compensation beyond your insurance policy benefits to address your losses, a car accident lawsuit needs to be commenced within three years of the date of the accident (note that you do not get “extra time” to file your lawsuit if you also file an insurance claim).
- Within 60 days of filing a car accident lawsuit: Once your case is initiated and the person or people you allege caused your accident have received a copy of your lawsuit, this person or these people will then have an opportunity to respond to your allegations. Certain legal defenses that the other party or parties believe they may have also need to be raised during this time period so the court can consider them. Depending on the complexity of your case and the legal issues involved, and the amount of extensions granted to file these necessary papers with the court, you can expect this part of your claim to be wrapped up in a couple of months.
- Several months following the filing of initial pleadings: The next step that must be completed in your car accident case is known as “discovery.” During this process, you and the other parties gain access to the witnesses and evidence each one has or knows about. (There are some exceptions: for example, a statement you made to your religious leader may not have to be disclosed in certain circumstances.) Any experts that one party may intend on calling at trial (such as an accident reconstruction expert or a medical expert) may be deposed – that is, required to answer questions under oath – during this time as well. There is no set duration for the discovery process: complicated cases with mountains of evidence may require several months (or longer) for discovery, while other cases may not require but a few weeks. The court has general control over the discovery process and has the ability to set deadlines if it appears the discovery phase of the lawsuit is taking too long.
- Between 60 and 90 days after discovery is completed: Once discovery has finished, the car accident lawsuit is generally ready to be tried. Before a trial is held, however, there may be one or more pretrial issues that the court needs to consider. Some of these issues may resolve the issues in the case such that a trial is not necessary. A trial date is usually selected with input from both the court and all attorneys involved in the case. Generally speaking, the more complicated your case and/or the larger the jurisdiction in which your case is filed, the longer it will take to secure a trial date. In most cases, you will know of the verdict (or decision) of the case and what compensation you are able to receive at the conclusion of your trial.
This is only a general timeline: the specific facts and circumstances of your car accident injury case can profoundly impact whether your case moves more quickly or more slowly than this timeline. What is more, at any time you and the other party or parties involved in the case can reach a settlement agreement that resolves the dispute and ends the lawsuit in one manner or another. A settlement will almost invariably resolve your case sooner than a trial.
Once the Trial is Over, Then What?
A trial is not necessarily the end of your car accident case. The losing party may have an ability to have the trial decision reviewed by an appellate court if that party believes the state supreme court made errors during the course of the trial. If an appeal is filed, this may result in delays in receiving your compensation from the lawsuit.
Contact a New York Car Accident Injury Law Firm Right Away
If you need advice in understanding and exercising your legal rights following a severe car accident, let your dedicated and experienced legal team at Parker Waichman LLP assist you. Call our office at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation
Have you or a loved one suffered from a serious injury due to an accident?Click To Get A Free Case Review