The amount of time it can take to receive compensation for a personal injury lawsuit varies depending on dozens of factors. Many injury victims might be tempted to file through insurance or accept a settlement to get quick money, but these settlements often fail to account for all of your needs. The process of suing for personal injury in Queens takes multiple months, on average, but taking the time to file a lawsuit and fight your case in court can often mean getting additional damages for pain and suffering. It can also cover other damages insurance may refuse to pay for. To find out how long your personal injury lawsuit might take in New York City, talk to the Queens personal injury lawyers at Sullivan and Galleshaw today. For a free consultation on your case, call our law offices at (718) 843-0300.
How Long Does an Injury Case Take in New York City?
The length of a personal injury case depends on a number of factors. First, there are built-in timeframes that come with any lawsuit. The first to take into account is your time limit to file. The longer you wait to file, the more time there will be between your injury and the day you receive payment. Still, New York State law allows you 3 years from the date of the incident to file your case. This is called the “statute of limitations,” and your case must be filed with the court before this time runs out.
After you file, the defendant has a limited amount of time to respond to your complaint. The general rule requires the defendant to file their response within 20-30 days. The other party may ask to have the case dropped based on the information in your complaint, which may mean your Queens personal injury attorney needs to respond to that motion. Ultimately, this back-and-forth could last multiple rounds, and each side gets time to respond. This means this step could easily last a couple of months.
Once the initial complaints and any counterclaims are settled, both sides must exchange evidence during “discovery.” During this stage, one side may send the other a request for certain pieces of evidence, questionnaires related to specific questions, or even requests for a deposition. During a deposition, witnesses and each party may be called into an office setting to answer questions about the case as if they were on the stand in court. This process can take time between each request and response, but it is one of the most important parts of the case and should not be rushed. After discovery, the other side may once again request the case be dismissed for lack of evidence. After the judge denies their motion to dismiss, your case should be quickly scheduled for trial.
The preparation for trial may last a few weeks while both parties finalize their cases, witnesses, and evidence. The judge may require a pretrial conference between both parties to see if going to trial is completely necessary, or if they can come to a settlement first. If the case is not settled, it will progress to trial.
Trial itself rarely lasts more than a week, and most trials last only a couple of days. First, a jury is empaneled, then each side makes their opening statements. The plaintiff (the injured party) then gets to present their case. If they establish every element of the case, the defense will have an opportunity to present their own case. The plaintiff may get to present additional evidence to counter the defense’s case in a “rebuttal,” then the defense gets one more chance to respond. After that, the attorneys present their closing arguments, and the jury decides the case.
Once the jury rules in your favor, payment should happen quickly. If the payment is not handed over promptly, your attorney can request the judge to order immediate payment or attachment of physical property to help get the other side to pay quickly.
Overall, many cases take a few months – though this can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case and whether either side is willing to settle.
Should I Settle My Injury Case?
Settlement is a chance to end a case early and get compensation quicker. However, the choice of going to trial or accepting a settlement is always a calculated risk. If your evidence is strong and you have a good case, the jury could award high damages at trial. Alternatively, accepting the defendant’s offer to settle may save money at trial, and is a guarantee you will be paid damages. However, you may miss pain and suffering damages or punitive damages during a settlement. Talk to an attorney before accepting a settlement to ensure that it covers your needs.
Queens Personal Injury Lawyers with Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, such as a slip and fall, a car accident, or a dangerous product accident, talk to an attorney today. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and going to court may be your best option to collect that compensation. Though your case may take a few months, it may fully cover your needs, making it worth the time and effort. For a free consultation on your case, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Sullivan and Galleshaw today at (718) 843-0300.