Clients frequently approach a lawyer with two, separate expectations on timing and duration of their New York personal injury case. Some clients believe all court cases are lengthy and insufferable. These clients are concerned with spending years caught up in a legal dispute, without any recovery in sight. Other potential clients expect their settlement check within a few weeks of filing a lawsuit. Ultimately, the majority of New York personal injury cases settle somewhere in between. Here’s why.
Every Personal Injury Case Is Unique
Every New York personal injury case is unique, including yours. The type of injury, cost of medical treatment, property damage, and level of emotional distress are just a few factors that make your case different from all others. Of course, these differing circumstances also impact the amount of time it takes to settle your case and obtain recovery for your damages.
Before knowing the specifics of your personal injury and surrounding circumstances, it’s impossible for a personal injury lawyer to estimate the duration of your case. However, as an experienced New York lawyer, I can provide some insight into the factors most likely to impact the timeframe and duration of your personal injury claim.
Facts of Your Case that Impact Timing
Nearly every aspect of your claim is going to change the duration of a New York personal injury case. Some aspects of your case will simply have a bigger impact, and these are the factors of most concern to potential clients and New York personal injury lawyers.
First, how the injury occurred is extremely important. A car accident claim is very different from a slip and fall. Similarly, product malfunction and medical malpractice are dissimilar situations that require different approaches by a personal injury lawyer. Intertwined with questions of how you were injured are a plethora of fact-based inquiries, such as whether there were witnesses, did you collect evidence at the time, and how clear is the other party’s liability. The actual list of questions a New York personal injury lawyer must ask is far longer.
Second, the extent of your injuries can also influence the length of your case. Generally, a New York personal injury case for substantial injuries takes longer than one where the injuries are minor.
Why does severity of the injury impact timing? The other party is more likely to vigorously defend liability claims where the damages are higher. For instance, when a plaintiff requests $1,000 in damages for minor injuries a defendant may settle quickly, but when faced with $5,000,000 in damages usually invests in a tougher defense.
Importance of Maximum Medical Recovery
Also, the severity of your injuries can impact timing because more serious injuries require longer treatment and more medical attention. This means it probably takes longer for the injury to heal and for you to reach maximum medical improvement. This is the legal term related to New York personal injury cases to describe when an injured individual has recovered as much as possible after an injury.
Determining damages and future medical costs is complicated before maximum medical improvement, meaning a case could actually last longer as these issues are disputed between plaintiff and defendant.
External Factors Also Matter for Duration
Certain aspects of the New York personal injury process are outside your control and the control of your lawyer. You have to file a claim in the proper New York court, then you must allow time for the defendant to answer. When that answer is filed, the parties are provided an opportunity for due diligence, such as requesting documents from the other party and scheduling depositions.
New York courts have set procedures for putting a case on the docket and hearing motions, which may speed up or slow down your settlement. If the judge has a crowded schedule when your case is filed, it could take longer to schedule a hearing or receive a ruling on a motion.
As well, many plaintiffs are beholden to the judges for advancing a New York personal injury case. A judge ruling one way or another on motions by your lawyer can break stalemates in due diligence or negotiations. As well, a judge may suggest your case to undergo mediation or other alternative dispute resolution before a court case is heard.
Your Expectations and Goals for the Case
Lastly, a client’s expectations and goals in a personal injury case can have a huge impact on duration. Some clients want to reach a fair settlement as quickly as possible and are willing to settle for less money to make that happen. Other clients want to push for the best possible settlement, even if it means going to court.
When an injured party is willing to accept less in financial recovery, it is easier to settle the case. However, for many individuals, a full recovery of medical expenses and losses is about more than just financial ramifications, and pushing for a liable party to take full responsibility is worthwhile.
Work with a Time-Minded Lawyer
The Law Offices of Jeffrey Bettan have provided New York personal injury assistance to hurt individuals in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the New York metropolitan area for over 40 years. This experience has helped our legal team become very aware of client’s questions in timing and duration in a personal injury case. At all times, we are time-minded and form a strategy that fits your timing expectations and objectives.
To discuss the specifics of your case, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Bettan at 516-642-6636.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from the Law Offices of Jeffrey Bettan or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.