Lawsuits can take weeks or even months to complete. It is one of the reasons that most personal injury lawsuits are resolved before the case goes to court. If you or someone you know has been injured in a workplace accident, car accident, or medical malpractice in New York or New Jersey, you may be wondering when you will settle the lawsuit, receive compensation, and move on with your life.
The amount of time it will take to settle your case depends on various factors. Here are some of the things that impact a personal injury lawsuit timeline to give you an idea of the process and how long it usually takes.
What Type of Damage Is a Personal Injury?
The victim, or person who is injured, starts the legal procedure in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if you are injured in a truck accident or slip and fall due to apparent negligence, you may qualify for compensation for your physical and emotional suffering.
One of the most common types of damage is compensatory. If the defendant is found guilty, they should pay compensation to the person for injury or loss. The injured person receives compensation based on the damage type.
In the case of personal injury, there are two categories: general and special damage.
General damage includes:
- Physical or mental impairment
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
In one of these scenarios, the plaintiff needs to prove that physical or emotional damage happened due to an accident and not previous conditions.
Special damage includes:
- Replacing or repairing a property
- Lost earnings
- Covering extra costs due to an injury
- Compensating for irreparable items
When replacing or repairing property and requiring compensation, the plaintiff must prove the property or the items were damaged in the wrongful event caused by third parties.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline
Below is a breakdown of the stages of the personal injury lawsuit claim.
If you are injured, it is essential to seek medical attention at the local hospital in New Jersey or New York. It is critical to check how serious your injuries are and gather the medical records necessary to file a claim. Knowing what kind of medical treatments and medications you will need and getting a copy of your bills will give your attorney a rough idea of the amount you may be willing to settle for.
Although you can settle before receiving medical care, making rash decisions is not a good idea. Instead, it is best to wait until your condition is stable and you have an evaluation of what kind of medical care you’ll need.
Building a solid personal injury case requires as much medical evidence as possible to back up your claim. If possible, include documents from the accident scene, contact information from witnesses, and photographs of the accident.
Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer
After a car, pedestrian, train, or boat accident, it is essential to reach out to an attorney to talk about your case and options. The attorney will need time (days or weeks) to investigate your case and gather evidence.
The Demand Letter
Once the investigation process is complete, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the person responsible for your accident and their insurance company.
The demand letter includes the evidence of your physical or emotional injuries, the facts of your case, as well as a copy of your medical records, police reports, and witness information.
During this period, the person responsible for your injury may contact you with a settlement amount. You can discuss the amount with your attorney and decide whether to accept the offer. If you want, you can also send a counter-offer with a higher amount.
Filling the Claim
Not all personal injury cases can be settled through negotiations. The negotiations can be time-consuming and stressful, but your lawyer is there to help you and advise you on your options.
In the next phase, the lawyer should prepare, outline, and file the lawsuit. In New York, the statute of limitations of general and special personal injury cases gives the claimer up to three years from the date of the injury to go to court and submit a lawsuit. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations gives claimers two years to submit their cases. There are different statutes of limitations for each personal injury type under New York Law:
- Construction or building accident: 3 years
- Motor vehicle accident: 3 years
- Product liability: 3 years
- Medical malpractice: 2 years and six months
- Wrongful death: 2 years
Once the lawyer submits the paperwork, the defendant has up to 30 days to file a response. Filing a lawsuit shows that you are serious about your claim and you aim for higher compensation.
After filling the case, the next step is preparing for your trial. During the discovery period, each side should gather evidence and information to prepare the case. For some claims, there are pre-trial motions that may take time, depending on the injury.
The final step is going to trial and waiting for the jury to decide your case. The trial may be scheduled months after the accident, based on how busy the New York or New Jersey court is.
Going to court is stressful for both sides as you can’t predict how the jury will react to your case and their ultimate decision.
The Timeline of an Average Personal Injury Case in New Jersey and New York
Personal injury cases that go to trial in New Jersey or New York may last for one year or more. Some injuries require an aggressive approach, and the timeline may extend up to two years. However, if the case is clear and the person responsible for the accident admits their actions, you can settle before going to trial, saving you time and energy.
The reputation and the capability of the law firm you work with play a significant role in researching the case and persuading the person responsible for settling without going to court. Here are some other factors that may prolong the process.
If the insurance company or the person responsible for the accident fails to agree to a settlement offer, your lawyer will file a lawsuit. Even if you receive a favorable verdict from the jury, it is not the end of the process. The defendant has the right to appeal and delay the process for a few years.
After a catastrophic accident in which the victim suffers severe injuries and permanent impairment, it will take longer to settle while the person recovers. These are more complex cases, and the settlement value is usually higher, so it may take longer to resolve.
Statute of Limitations
Failing to file the lawsuit within three years means you cannot go forward with the case. There are a few exceptions to this timeline, but they are usually shorter. For example, if a government agency is involved in the case, claims require filling within six months or less.
After the case is settled, it takes approximately one month to access the funds.
How To Extend the Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Medical Expenses for Treatments and Medications
The plaintiff can receive compensation for all medical assistance, hospital bills, medications, and physical therapy necessary to recover after the accident.
Loss of Earnings
The victim is eligible to receive compensation for loss of earning capacity because of the injuries. You can qualify for lost wages or bonuses, fringe benefits, commissions, and salaries.
Loss of Future Earning Ability
Plaintiffs can file a claim to recover the number of future earnings (the amount of your salary, bonuses, and commissions) if they cannot work due to physical or emotional injury.
Work With Competent New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys
The competent and reliable personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates take great pride in helping victims and their loved ones maneuver the challenging paths of their legal journey. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to handle insurance companies and build a case to protect your legal rights and interests.
At Sadaka Associates, we provide clients with the support, care, and guidance necessary to secure fair compensation. If you or your family member has been injured due to an accident or someone else’s carelessness, you have rights under New York law to seek compensation.
The types of personal injury cases we deal with include:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Boat accident
- Bicycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Train accident
- Slip and fall
- Dog bite
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wrongful death
Contact a New Jersey and New York Personal Injury Attorney
Our goal is to help victims recover the compensation they need to move forward with their lives in the aftermath of an accident. We will ask several questions to learn more about your accident and the effects on your life to make an informed decision about future steps.
Contact The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates at 1-800-810-3457 today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options.