To initially file a lawsuit doesn’t take much time at all. However, it can take a year or more to go through the court system once in progress. There is no set answer as several variables come into play, including:
- The level of compensation being sought
- What evidence is presented
- The schedule of the court
- Whether or not the litigants are willing to settle out of court
- The number of parties to the litigation
- The complexity of the litigation
When both parties are open to negotiations, a claim may reach an out-of-court settlement relatively quickly. If either party is reluctant to agree to a settlement, the process may take months or even years.
- Explaining the Legal Process of Filing a Lawsuit
- Filing Your Lawsuit in Civil Court
- Preparing Your Case for Trial
- Reach Out to Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. to Get Started on Your Case Today
Explaining the Legal Process of Filing a Lawsuit
When you file a compensation claim, it usually begins with listing damages, including economic and non-economic damages. Once this information is compiled, your legal team can begin negotiating with the liable party or parties with the goal of reaching the best possible settlement on your behalf.
In some instances, a lawsuit is filed simultaneously to begin the process. Filing a lawsuit could prompt the at-fault party’s side to reach a fair settlement to avoid a lengthy and often costly trial.
Finding the Right Law Firm
You will want to find a law firm familiar with your type of injury case. New York is a No-Fault state for vehicle accidents, so your insurance may cover part of your medical expenses.
For serious accidents, the standard coverage is often not sufficient to cover the entire amount of your medical expenses. Having a local law firm that knows how to seek damages above what your insurance policy may cover is a good plan.
Having the right law firm is also significant for product liability cases, construction accident cases, wrongful death cases, and all other types of injury lawsuits. A law firm should treat you with compassion, respect, and work to ensure that you receive a timely compensation settlement or resolution that meets your financial and emotional needs.
Medical Care and Follow-Up Treatment
No matter how long it may take to settle your claim or traverse through the courts, one of the most important things you need to do is to continue all your medical treatment. This includes testing, routine follow-up appointments, and physical therapy. It is crucial to follow your medical team’s instructions throughout the entire waiting process.
Completing the Investigative Process
While you continue your medical treatment, your legal team can be working on completing the investigative process. We will begin by compiling:
- Medical information about your injuries
- Wage statements and loss of earning statements from your employer
- Evidence from the scene, including photos, video footage, and the accident report
- Statements from witnesses
- Speaking with experts if necessary
Our legal team will examine all the information we can compile to understand how the accident happened, the factors that caused it, and identify the responsible party. To prove liability, the four elements of negligence must be present.
The Four Elements of Negligence
To prove a defendant was negligent, you must prove the following:
- Duty of Care – the defendant had a responsibility to keep you and others safe from harm
- Breach of Duty – the defendant breached that duty via their action or inaction
- Causation – the defendant’s actions caused the accident or your injuries
- Damages – you suffered damages as a result
When the four elements of negligence are proven, it establishes the defendant’s negligent behavior. A lawyer will include this information in your claim for compensation.
When a claim is filed, the process of negotiation can begin. During this period, our law firm will negotiate in good faith on your behalf. Our goal is to reach the best outcome for you, and settlement of any lawsuit can take place at any time from filing to final court resolution.
The initial negotiations set the stage for much of the process. There is normally some give and take in many instances, with the goal being to resolve the matter to your benefit. Some of the considerations during the negotiations phase will be:
- Will the defendant be able to pay the damages? (In almost all cases, this is a function of the insurance policy limits.)
- Will your case hold up to scrutiny if it goes to trial?
The majority of lawsuits arrive at a settlement before going to court.
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Filing Your Lawsuit in Civil Court
If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawsuit will continue to civil court.
During this phase, there is a specific process:
- The defendant must answer the suit within a specified timeframe
- During the discovery process, both parties exchange their respective items of evidence
- The evaluation process allows both sides to examine and evaluate the merits of the lawsuit
- The trial will occur with both sides presenting their evidence to a jury
During the process, the defendant’s team may convey a settlement offer. If accepted, the process stops there. If the settlement offer is not acceptable, the process will continue until a verdict is reached.
Preparing Your Case for Trial
When a law firm oversees your lawsuit, they will try to resolve it as quickly as possible. In some instances, that may be a short time. In more complex cases, it may take one or two years or even longer. (The shutdown of the courts during the Covid-19 pandemic and the slow startup when the courts reopened, have, unfortunately, lengthened the process somewhat.)
When you consult with our legal team, we will be able to offer more insight based on the merits of your specific lawsuit.
Reach Out to Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. to Get Started on Your Case Today
When you need a dedicated law firm to handle an injury lawsuit, the team at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. is prepared to fight for your compensation. We offer free case evaluations to begin your pursuit of financial recovery right away.