Filing a personal injury case in court can help you get compensation for your injuries and get justice if you were the victim of a serious accident. If you work with a Queens personal injury attorney, the attorney will handle most of the technical details like filing your case and managing deadlines for motions and briefs. However, as the person at the center of the case, it is important to understand some of what you can expect. A Queens personal injury lawyer at Sullivan and Galleshaw explain the general process for filing your personal injury lawsuit and getting compensation for your claim. For help with your personal injury case, contact our law offices for a free consultation.
Personal Injury Claim Process in Queens, NY
First, it is important to understand what types of cases fall under “personal injury.” The expectations are different for many different types of lawsuits, and “personal injury” is just one of the types of cases you can file for in Queens. As opposed to contract cases or real estate issues, personal injury lawsuits deal with compensating victims of bodily injuries and the emotional distress that comes with it. This means that personal injury cases include things like car accident lawsuits, slip and fall injuries, and defective product injuries. The process behind a personal injury lawsuit usually unfolds as follows:
Preparing to File
After your injury, you should gather information about the accident. This involves keeping a record of the location of the accident, the parties involved, any witnesses, how the injury happened, and what injuries you faced. You should also get medical attention, especially for severe injuries. If your injury is too severe to gather information immediately, see if a friend or family member can help you out while you get your injuries treated.
You can hire a Queens personal injury attorney as early as this stage of the case to help get your case started on the right foot. An attorney can help you research your case by tracking down security camera footage of the accident, seeing if there are any businesses or property owners to hold responsible, finding out what company manufactured any dangerous products, or tracking down the employers of dangerous truck drivers (depending on the specifics of your accident).
Filing Your Case
When your attorney files your case, they will prepare a document called the “complaint.” This is the legal document that states you are filing a personal injury claim, who it is against, and what facts you have to support your claim. Your Queens personal injury attorney will take this to the appropriate courthouse for your claim, file it with the court staff, and send a copy of the complaint to the at-fault party. From there, the defendant (the at-fault party) has a limited amount of time to respond, or else the court rules in your favor.
Motions on the Pleadings
The defendant will try to get the case dropped at that point by claiming that even if everything in the complaint is true, you should still lose your claim. Both sides will send documents back and forth arguing why their side is right. If your claim is strong, the case will likely proceed to the next step.
Both sides will exchange evidence and answer questions to clarify the facts of the case. Each side can be ordered by the court to turn over documents, pictures, video, or other items necessary to prove or defend against the claims. Each side can also ask the other questions or call for witnesses or party members to make “depositions.” Depositions are similar to testimony given at trial, but they are performed in a more informal meeting environment, typically without a judge present. A court reporter still comes to write a transcript of the interview, or an audio/video recording will be made.
If both sides are unable to convince the judge that they should still win the case, the case proceeds to trial. Motions may be made to block evidence or witnesses before boing in front of a jury, which could make or break the case each side tries to build. Once the motions are settled and a jury is empaneled, the trial itself may only take a few days. Each side gets to present their case, and both sides have opportunities to cross-examine the evidence and witnesses the other side presents. The case ends with each side’s attorney making closing arguments summarizing the evidence and declaring why their client should win your case.
After the judge and jury hear the evidence, the jury deliberates and decides who wins the case. If they rule in your favor, you win, and the defendant will be ordered to pay you damages. If you lose your case, you may be able to appeal the decision if the judge made mistakes. In some cases, you may also be able to make last-minute agreements with the other side to set aside the verdict and accept what they are willing to offer you. In fact, many cases settle before ever getting to trial.
Queens Personal Injury Trial Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured in a serious accident in Queens, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. The New York City personal injury attorneys at Sullivan and Galleshaw represent victims and their families and help them file cases for compensation. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (718) 843-0300.