How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in New York?

New York is a no-fault insurance state when it comes to motor vehicle accident claims, but injured parties still have the right to file a civil lawsuit in the event of a serious, disabling injury. Whether seeking compensation through insurance or via a third-party claim, you probably have concerns about the potential duration of a personal injury case.

The thought of spending months- if not years — caught up in litigation can dissuade a lot of people from seeking the monetary damages they are rightfully entitled. The reality is that most New York personal injury claims resolve through settlement negotiations, and never reach a jury trial.

While 95 percent of cases settle outside of a courtroom, it’s prudent to consult with a New York City personal injury lawyer before accepting the defendant’s offer. This initial offer will be lower than what you could recover with experienced legal representation. If you settle too quickly, the payout may not take into account the full consequences of your injuries, which may be more serious than they initially appear.

How a settlement works in personal injury cases

After you have retained a lawyer, he or she will begin the discovery process. This is the investigative phase in which your legal counsel and that of the defendant ask factual questions, request pertinent documents and records, and take depositions and affidavits. The discovery process may take several months, depending on the nature of your accident and injuries.

Before the lawsuit goes to trial, both sides will typically attempt to reach a settlement. This is a legally binding agreement in which one party (the defendant) agrees to pay a certain dollar amount to resolve the litigation. Once the settlement is paid, the defendant can no longer be held liable in a court of law.

The settlement negotiations begin with a demand letter drafted by your lawyer that reflects you’re your economic and non-economic damages. The other side will either agree to the terms or return a counter-offer. The length of time required to reach a satisfactory settlement will depend not only on the skills of your attorney but the caseload of the defendant’s insurer.

Factors that can affect the timeline and duration

Needless to say, every personal injury case is unique, and certain aspects of your accident and resulting injuries will have an impact on the duration of the legal process.

Why is your personal injury claim taking so long? The following factors may prolong the timeline for resolution:

  • Your injuries are severe and disabling, increasing your demand for compensation
  • You have not yet reached maximum medical improvement, thus allowing your lawyer to calculate the true value of your medical costs and expenses
  • You have suffered permanent injury and need medical experts to testify
  • Both parties dispute liability or legal responsibility
  • The defendant is slow to respond or file motions
  • The insurance company won’t make a reasonable settlement offer

At Douglas & London, our personal injury lawyers prepare every case as it will go before a jury. In the rare event that a fair settlement cannot be reached, our legal team will take your case to trial. A jury trial will inevitably prolong the legal process, as the hearing date is based on the venue, the court’s availability, and the number of existing cases. 

Experienced car accident representation in New York

The best way to improve your chances of getting the money damages you deserve in the most efficient manner possible is by hiring a personal injury lawyer who has proven trial experience and is a competent negotiator.

If you were seriously hurt in a motor vehicle accident, and are worried about the timeline and costs of pursuing a personal injury case, call the law firm of Douglas & London. We represent clients on a No Recovery – No Fee basis and offer free initial consultations. Our veteran legal team has secured millions of dollars for car accident victims, and are ready to fight for you and your loved ones.