What to Expect When You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York

Most personal injury cases in New York are settled out of court. However, in some cases, insurance companies are unwilling to offer enough to fully compensate a victim for their damages. In those cases, a lawsuit may be necessary.

The first step in filing a lawsuit is determining where to file. The suit may be filed in the city or country in which either party resides or is employed/transacts business in. If you are suing the City of New York, the suit will be filed in New York County, or in the county in which the accident or injury occurred. The New York City Civil Court hears cases in which the damages are less than $25,000. For all other cases, the suit will be filed in one of the five New York Supreme Courts.

After the suit is filed, the defendant will be served with a summons and will be given 20 days (or 30 days, in some cases) in which to appear and file an answer. If the defendant does not file an answer within the specified time period, the plaintiff may ask the court for a default judgment.

In personal injury cases involving the City, or where an insurance company is involved, an answer will be filed, and the case will move on to the next step.

After both parties have filed their answers, the discovery process begins. This process may take weeks, or even months, depending on the complexity of the case. During the discovery process, both parties will try to learn as much as they can about the evidence that the other will present at trial. Some of the things you may expect during discovery may be:

  • Requests for documents: Each party may request copies of any documents, photos, recordings, or other evidence that will be presented at trial.
  • Interrogatories: Interrogatories are a series of questions about the case that must be answered under oath. A party may ask about the details of the incident that led to the lawsuit, detailed explanations of the damages suffered by the injured person, names of witnesses, and other relevant information.
  • Depositions: During a deposition, both parties, their attorneys, and a court reporter appear at an agreed location. The person being deposed may be one of the parties to the lawsuit, or witnesses that may be called to testify at trial. Both attorneys are allowed to ask questions, which must be answered under oath.

After the discovery process is complete, or at any time during the discovery process, the parties may decide to settle the case. If the case still cannot be settled after discovery, a date will be set for a trial. Either party may request a trial by jury, or the parties may agree to have a judge hear the case.

New York Personal Injury Attorneys

When choosing a personal injury attorney, make sure you choose someone who is willing and able to take on big insurance companies in court if necessary. Talk to a seasoned personal injury trial expert at Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. today. Call 212-227-4000, or visit our website for more information.