If you were hurt in an accident that caused a spinal cord injury that is impacting your daily life, you have the right to sue the negligent party to recover your expenses.
Cases involving spinal cord injuries are complex. That’s why obtaining legal representation to handle the legal details and help you file a lawsuit for compensation is your best option.
A Long Island spinal cord injury lawyer will explain how the process works so you can recover the compensation you deserve on Long Island or in the New York metro area.
- Can You File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Yourself?
- Should You Have a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf?
- What Mistakes Could You Make By Handling Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Yourself?
- How Will a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Benefit Your Case?
- Learn More About How to File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Today
Can You File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Yourself?
You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or entity that is liable for your spinal cord injury. You can file a lawsuit without hiring a lawyer, and no law requires you to hire a lawyer. However, the litigation process has many technical requirements as well as building strategy against adversaries, (insurance carriers and defense lawyers,) intent upon paying you nothing or as little as possible. When so much is at stake, as is typically so in spinal cord injury cases, “on-the-job training”, that is, figuring out how to proceed as you go along, is most likely a terrible idea.
First, you must file a summons and complaint in the appropriate court. As the party filing the summons and complaint, you are the plaintiff, while the other party is the defendant. The court where you file the summons and complaint is typically in the county where either party resides, or where the incident occurred.
After you file the summons and pay the fee, you will have to serve the summons and complaint to the defendant. You can serve the summons by hiring a process server. The defendant will then have 20 days to file an answer, and you must file an Affidavit of Service that you sign before a notary public. Unless you accept a settlement offer from the liable party and/or their insurance provider, you will then proceed through “discovery”, the process by which each party learns the substance of their adversary’s claims, which includes the exchange of documents, depositions (i.e., question and answer hearings under oath,) and physical examinations by medical doctors. Ultimately, a court date will be set for you to present your case before a judge and jury.
The above-described process is a grossly oversimplified summary of a process that can take years, entails, as mentioned above, many technical aspects, and which may be thought of as war without physical violence.
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Should You Have a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf?
If your case involves a small amount of compensation, filing your case in small claims court is an option for you, but what if your case involves a large amount of money and more complex or catastrophic spinal cord injuries?
In this case, we strongly recommend consulting with a personal injury lawyer with experience handling spinal cord injury cases. Situations involving spinal cord injuries in which you should consider obtaining legal representation include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Multiple liable parties
- The government is a liable party
- Defective product
- Catastrophic injury
Your case could be more challenging than you initially realize. The bigger your case is, the more complex and time-consuming it will be. Your case could be worth six or seven figures, and handling it yourself could mean making costly mistakes that result in you receiving less compensation or even no compensation at all.
What Mistakes Could You Make By Handling Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Yourself?
If you choose to handle the lawsuit alone, any mistakes you make could mean less compensation for your injuries and financial losses.
Common mistakes to avoid include:
- Asking for too much or too little compensation: If you ask for too little, you are undervaluing your case and may not receive enough compensation to adequately cover your losses, while asking for too much could make you seem greedy or at least demonstrate that you don’t understand how to value your claim.
- Providing a recorded statement: You should avoid providing a recorded statement to the insurance company because they might use it to deny your claim or use it against you in court.
- Accepting a final settlement offer from the insurer: Insurers will use every trick to avoid paying less to settle your claim, including by telling you that an offer is their final offer. You should only accept a settlement offer if it is fair. A lawyer will be able to evaluate an offer and advise you accordingly.
- Leaving damages off your claim: You may not even realize that you are leaving some damages out of your claim. Damages do not only include medical bills, lost income, and emotional distress. Damages also include home modifications, child care costs, household services, disability, funeral costs, and more. A lawyer will be able to determine what damages apply to you.
- Failing to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires: You have a limited window of time to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in New York, according to CPLR § 214 and EPT § 5-4.1 respectively. You typically only have one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit against a government entity but that is only if you have properly first served a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident
How Will a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Benefit Your Case?
Obtaining the services of a lawyer is a big decision, but it evens the playing field since the liable party will most likely have lawyers representing them.
If you hire our law firm to handle your spinal cord injury case, we will:
- Investigate the cause of your injuries and identify the liable party
- Collect evidence to prove negligence and support your claim
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the liable party and the insurer
- File a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit
- Represent you in court and present your case to a jury
- Meet all deadlines, including the statute of limitations
- Communicate with you, including in multiple languages
- Travel to your location on Long Island or within the New metro area to discuss your case if you can’t come to us
- Advocate relentlessly to win the best possible case outcome for you
We recommend consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury. A lawyer will provide you with options and walk you through the legal process so you are not alone.
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Learn More About How to File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Today
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. is passionate about advocating for spinal cord injury victims like you. We empathize with you and want to handle your case so you can focus on healing without the additional stress of fighting a legal battle.