Accident And Injury Attorneys


Abogados De Accidentes


Timeline of a Car Accident Lawsuit

If you were injured in a crash in New York, the timeline of your car accident lawsuit will depend on several factors. Your case could be completed in a few months, or if it is complex or involves serious injuries, it could take several years.

The car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can determine how long your case is likely to take.

Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit Timeline

After seeking emergency help after the accident, pursuing compensation to cover your costs typically includes:

  • Reporting the accident
  • Investigation and research
  • Settlement negotiation
  • Filing the lawsuit
  • Discovery
  • More negotiation
  • Going to trial

According to New York law, you must report an accident involving property damage or injuries to the police (NY VAT § 600). You also must report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days (NY VAT § 605). Even if these requirements don’t seem relevant to your lawsuit, ignoring them can affect your chances of recovering damages and put you at risk of fines or other punishments.

After these steps, our team investigates and works to possibly settle your case without filing a lawsuit. We generally have three years to file, providing us time to understand your case and pursue appropriate damages (NY CVP § 214). If we can’t reach a settlement with the other party, we file a lawsuit, conduct more investigations, share information in the discovery phase, and try to negotiate before going to trial.

New York’s No-Fault Insurance Laws

You don’t have to wait to receive some benefits. Under your no-fault insurance coverage, you can immediately file a claim to pay for some medical costs and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault.

However, no-fault coverage only provides basic benefits. If you were seriously injured, this coverage may not be enough for your expenses. Additionally, it does not provide pain and suffering, or similar compensation.

You Can Obtain Legal Representation at Any Time

One question you may have about your car accident lawsuit’s timeline is when to contact our team. You can call us at any point in your case. You don’t need to wait until you feel you must file a lawsuit. We can help by:

  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Explaining your rights
  • Translating legal jargon into understandable terms
  • Helping with appointments and day-to-day issues
  • Determining the value of your case

Don’t worry about consulting legal help “too soon” or asking “dumb” questions. We are here to help you navigate this in whatever way we can.

Factors That Can Affect the Length of Your Case

Assigning a strict timeline to a car accident case is challenging because so many aspects can impact how long it may take. Some variables that could play a role include:

  • Injury type and severity
  • Maximum medical improvement
  • Statute of limitations
  • Insurance company cooperation

Injury Severity and Maximum Medical Improvement

One of the criteria for pursuing a lawsuit in New York is suffering a serious injury, which includes injuries ranging from fractures to loss of use of an organ or body member. If you suffered a serious injury, it will naturally take longer for you to reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Many lawyers wait to file a lawsuit until you have reached MMI so we know what costs and losses we should fight for you to receive. Thus, if you were seriously hurt and/or take longer to reach MMI, your lawsuit may take longer as well.

Statute of Limitations

While the deadline is typically three years, some scenarios can change that:

  • Suing a municipality
  • Incapacitation
  • Cases involving a minor

In New York, you must notify a government entity that you are going to pursue a lawsuit. This is called a notice of claim and must be filed within 90 days of an accident (NY GMU § 50-E). You have one year and 90 days to file the lawsuit.

Other factors may lengthen the statute of limitations. For instance, the deadline can be “tolled” if you are a minor, allowing the case to proceed once you are no longer underage. If you were left incapacitated by the accident, your statute of limitations may also be tolled.

Insurance Company Cooperation

Settling a car crash lawsuit requires all parties working together to reach an agreement. If your crash was complicated, involved several liable parties, or led to arguments over who should bear responsibility, your case could take longer.

Moreover, insurance companies are typically reluctant to pay and will use many strategies to lower the settlement amount. Sometimes, this results in prolonged negotiations or taking a case to trial. Regardless, intractable insurance companies can lengthen how long a car accident lawsuit takes.

When in Doubt, Connect with Our Lawyers

The timeline of your New York car accident lawsuit depends on how the accident affected you, how the other party behaves, and other unique factors. Identifying those factors is not your job, it’s ours.

Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today to receive a free consultation about your crash: (516) 358-6900.

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