How Long Does an Accident Case Take?

A personal injury accident case in New York typically takes anywhere from 6 months to as much as 5 years!

The first thing a lawyer will do is to investigate the claim to determine the identity of all the people and companies that may be responsible for causing your injury and their insurance companies. Claim letters will be sent to everyone.

There is a lot of other work that a lawyer will have to do but the first thing that could delay a case is the type of injury. When someone has a broken ankle, a lawyer can immediately seek a settlement or file a lawsuit.

Where someone has a neck or back injury, treatment can be provided over a long period of time and can include surgery a year or two later. Lawyers will often wait 6-12 months before trying to settle or file a lawsuit.

Once a lawsuit is filed, there are a lot of papers and information that has to be exchanged between both sides; several court conferences attended only by the lawyers; testimony given by both sides at a deposition; and a physical exam by the defendant’s doctor.

Most lawyers try to schedule the deposition testimony of both sides on the same day. This often results in delays of 6-12 months. To avoid this delay, we often have our client testify even if the defendant is not ready. This forces the defendant to stop delaying tactics.

After both the plaintiff and defendant has testified at a deposition, the plaintiff will be examined by the doctor hired by the defendant’s insurance company. After that (approximately 2-3 years after the accident) both sides notify the court that they are finished with their work and the court will allow the case to be placed on the court’s trial calendar to wait for a trial date.

This is the amount of papers in a case that went to trial – it weighed 60 pounds!
Papers in the file of a case that went to trial

We are a “paperless” office so every paper is scanned and stored in our computer server and backed up. Before trial, many of the papers are printed to make it easier to prepare for trial. After the trial, they are shredded. We don’t charge for computer storage and backup, copying, shredding and many other expenses! See our Simple Fee Guarantee

Once the case is placed on the court’s trial calendar, it typically takes 18-24 months before the trial is held.

The court’s trial calendar is similar to going to the DMV where you take a number, sit down and wait to be called. The court issues a calendar number and everyone waits to be called. The only difference here is that we wait 18-24 months and the court requires the lawyers from both sides to come into court frequently to make sure that everyone still wants to go to trial.

If you want to see how your New York personal injury case is progressing through a New York State Supreme Court, you can search for your case on

The fastest we ever settled a case was 7 weeks (for the entire insurance policy). Typically, quick settlements usually take 6-12 months. Other cases may be settled within 12-24 months. After that, cases don’t usually settle until it’s close to the trial date. The time it takes to get to trial is typically 3.5 years to 5 years.

Of course, will try to move your case as fast as possible. Not only do you need the money but we would also rather get the money sooner than later. That’s why we will push to have your deposition done if the defendant isn’t available. There is really no disadvantage and it can save 6-12 months of delaying tactics.

If you were injured in an accident in New York, we will make your case go as fast as possible.


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