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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

What Is The Personal Injury Claims Process?

March 23, 2020 in

If you have suffered injuries caused by someone else’s misconduct, you might be wondering about the personal injury claims process. Each personal injury case has unique facts and circumstances, and it is impossible to say precisely how your particular claim will work out. However, we have decades of experience representing clients in personal injury cases, and we can provide you with an overview of the legal process so that you know what to expect.

Settlement Negotiations

In some cases, settlement negotiations may start before a personal injury claim is even filed. This is common when liability is clear, and there are no questions about the defendant’s responsibility for your accident and injuries. In cases like these, negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company may immediately begin because they know they will be compensating you, and the goal of the negotiations is to determine how much.   Knowing the full extent of your injuries, damages, if future medical treatment is needed, as well as all applicable insurance policies is key to effectuating an early settlement.    

In clear liability cases, settling before trial is beneficial for the defense because they are able to avoid the costs of litigation. Settlement negotiations can and do take place at any point during the claims process. Even if you do not get your case settled before filing a lawsuit, settlement negotiations may be ongoing throughout the trial preparation process. Your claim can be settled at any time before or even during trial. 

Filing Your Claim Or Notice

Depending on who the defendant is, you will commence litigation by filing your lawsuit or notice in the appropriate New York court. If your claim is against an individual defendant or private corporation, the first step is to file a complaint. If your case is against a government entity, such as the state, a municipality, or school district, you must first file a notice of claim. These notices typically have a short 90-day statutes of limitation for filing your claim, and if you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to collect compensation for your injuries and damages.

Discovery And Fact-Finding

The initial phase of litigation is the discovery phase, where attorneys from both sides serve discovery materials, such as requests for production of documents and interrogatories. Attorneys will use each party’s responses to gather more information about the accident, who was responsible, and the injuries and damages sustained. Attorneys will also take depositions, which are on the record interviews with people who are important to the case, including you, the defendant, accident witnesses, and in some cases expert witnesses.  

Settlement Or Trial

As previously mentioned, personal injury cases can settle at any point during the litigation process. As trial nears, defendants and insurance companies may ramp up settlement negotiations, even after prior negotiations were unsuccessful. This is especially true if they learn during the discovery phase that you have a strong case and going to trial will put them at risk of having to pay a large jury award.

Most personal injury cases do settle, but if your case does not, your attorney will present your case at trial. He or she will go over your testimony, questions that the defense attorneys may ask you, and other important trial information. Whether your case settles or is litigated in court, a good New York City personal injury attorney will make sure that you are kept well informed and prepared from the beginning of your case until the end.

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