If you were injured in New York due to a car accident, defective product, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or other incidents, you could be eligible to seek compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, you might not know how long it will take to recover the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, recover lost wages and other expenses, and move on with your life.
Average Timeline for a New York Personal Injury Lawsuit
How long does a lawsuit take to settle? Unfortunately, there is no set answer since every case is different. Most personal injury claims are resolved through a negotiated settlement between the injured victim and the at-fault party or their insurance company. Both sides usually prefer settlement because it avoids the expense of protracted litigation.
However, settlement negotiations usually do not start until both sides fully investigate the case, which can take several months to a year. If settlement negotiations drag on or the parties simply do not reach an agreement, a lawsuit must be filed. Under New York’s statute of limitations, a personal injury lawsuit must typically be filed within three years of the injury. However, in cases against municipalities, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the incident, and in cases involving wrongful death, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death.
The first step in a personal injury lawsuit involves filing your complaint. The discovery process will then begin, lasting anywhere from six months to a year, and sometimes longer depending on the complexity of the case. Both sides will secure and exchange evidence, such as documents, photographs, medical records, and more. In addition, the plaintiff, defendant, and other witnesses will provide sworn deposition testimony. Once discovery is complete, there may be another attempt to settle the case.
If the case continues to court, it can take an extended period of time for the trial process to be complete and receive a verdict. Both sides will then have 30 days to file an appeal, which may lead to a new trial. If there is a plaintiff’s verdict that is approved by the courts, the final step is to collect your judgment. The defendant (and more likely, its insurance carrier) may pay either in a lump sum or in periodic payments. The structure of the payments will be determined at the end of the case depending on the age of the plaintiff and the amount of the verdict or settlement.
Factors that Could Slow Down the Personal Injury Settlement Process
Various factors can delay or lengthen the settlement negotiation process in your personal injury claim. These factors include the following:
- The severity of your injuries and treatment — Ideally, you will want to wait until you’ve finished your treatment and can calculate your losses before starting settlement negotiations.
- The complexity of your case — A more complex case will take longer to investigate before you can begin negotiating a settlement.
- Whether liability is contested — If the defendant denies liability (whether they did anything wrong) and/or whether their actions caused your injuries, it can take longer to negotiate a settlement agreement that all parties can accept.
Factors that Should Speed Up a Personal Injury Case
On the other hand, factors that can speed up the timeline in your personal injury case include the following:
- You have not suffered severe injuries.
- You have finished treatment for your injuries.
- Your case does not involve complex issues.
- You have strong evidence supporting your claim.
- You have not incurred substantial losses.
- The defendant’s insurance can cover the compensation you are claiming.
- The defendant does not contest liability for the accident or your injuries and losses.
- The courts in your jurisdiction have a smaller caseload.
Reach Out to an Experienced NY Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have more questions about the personal injury claims process, contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable New York personal injury lawyer. We have extensive experience helping those injured in New York. We’re ready to discuss the specifics of your case when you reach out to us by phone or online.