Being injured in a car accident and going through the recovery process, or facing the terrible prospect of a killed loved one in a car accident, are enormous undertakings. Yet, when the fault of the accident rests with another individual, you may be able to petition for fair and reasonable compensation to cover injury-related expenses and other financial damages caused by the accident and subsequent injuries. As standard insurance may not cover all of these expenses, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in a New York court.
We at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier understand the immense difficulties you may face after a severe car accident, and our team of NYC car accident attorneys are ready to represent your case and vigorously litigate for suitable compensation to cover your expenses, both for now and for the future. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, call our NYC car accident law firm today at (212) 777-9400.
In the meantime, we’ve prepared a guide outlining New York’s personal injury process. Call our attorneys today to let us fight for you, and continue reading below for more information.
New York Personal Injury Laws
Before understanding the personal injury lawsuit process in New York, it’s important to become acquainted with New York’s personal injury laws and statutory requirements. These laws apply no matter the legal action you’re seeking, whether via an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. Some of the important personal injury laws that you should know include, but are not limited to:
- New York No-Fault for Car Accidents. For a personal injury claim arising out of a car accident, your legal options are quite limited at first due to New York’s no-fault insurance rule. For instance, with regards to compensation, you’re forced to first collect from your own insurance company, no matter who caused the accident. If you meet the “serious injury” threshold or the damages exceed the $50,000 available under no-fault, then you may be able to seek legal action in court or file a lawsuit.
- New York Shared Fault. In some car accident cases, the other party may try to argue that you’re to blame, at least partially, for the incident. If this is true and can be proved, then your share of the overall fault could reduce the amount of settlement available to you. This is known as the “pure comparative negligence rule,” and New York courts are obliged to follow this legal doctrine. Keep in mind that outside the court system, such as when negotiating with insurance adjusters, you’re free to negotiate what the impact of shared fault has on your claim.
Statutory Requirements in New York
Following an accident, you do have a time limit to file a lawsuit. Once this time limit has passed, you may be unable to seek compensation in New York courts. In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the injury (or for the underlying accident). New York’s law on the statute of limitations can be found through the New York State Unified Court System website.
Stages of a Car Accident Injuries Lawsuit in New York
It’s important to start a car accident lawsuit as soon as possible, not only because of the statute of limitations, but there are other reasons as well. In many personal injury lawsuits, there are very long waits before you’re given the chance to litigate in court. Additionally, keep in mind that over 90 percent of car accident lawsuits in New York end in a settlement, and settlement can occur at any stage of the entire personal injury lawsuit process.
Below are the standard stages of a car accident injury lawsuit in New York, but it’s important to remember that every case, and every process, may be different and depending on the unique circumstances of your situation.
Before even bringing your case to court, there are some prerequisites that need to be covered. For instance, you should make sure to gather as many photographs or video, or other pieces of evidence, after the accident, but only if it is possible (always focus on resolving any health or injury-related issues first).
Additionally, if you are planning on bringing a civil action against another individual, your first step should be to consult with a New York car accident attorney who has the experience and expertise to represent your claim. Working on your behalf, your car accident attorney will assist in collecting and assembling evidence, filing a no-fault insurance claim, notifying the at-fault party(s) of your potential claim, and initiate discussions regarding a fair and reasonable settlement for your injuries.
Generally, the entire personal injury lawsuit process begins by filing a complaint or a petition at the appropriate New York courthouse. Your judge may put the case in mediation where you and your car accident attorneys meet with the defendant and his/her attorneys for talks moderated by a third-party mediator.
If the case goes to trial, then there will be a discovery stage where both parties, their attorneys, and investigators obtain evidence and facts. Once a trial is set, there may be a bench trial or a jury trial.
Call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier for NYC’s Top Car Accident Lawyers
The stages of a car accident lawsuit detailed in this guide are only a brief overview of the complicated process of filing and pursuing a car accident lawsuit. Additionally, even if you win your case, there still may be some challenges obtaining the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation with our NYC car accident attorneys, call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier at our East Village law office by dialing (212) 777-9400.