This timeline of a personal injury case includes a timeline of a personal injury claim up to settlement as well as a timeline for a personal injury lawsuit up to trial and possible appeal. It is rather simplified and general, so it will fit into the timeline of a personal injury case. But if you are wondering how long should a personal injury claim take, this personal injury timeline should help.
You go to the hospital or see a doctor and/or call a lawyer (some people don’t call a lawyer until much later but see why you should call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident)
Your personal injury lawyer immediately begins investigating the accident and insurance coverage and sends claim letters to all parties and insurance companies
When medical treatment is completed, or you received sufficient treatment, your lawyer will request your medical records
If your injury is established and negligence can be determined, your lawyer will send your medical records to the insurance company and see if your case can be settled.
Note: if underinsured or uninsured coverage applies, your case can usually be settled within months after your accident.
Do Not Settle
A lawsuit is started by filing a Summons & Complaint in NYS Supreme Court
The defense attorney responds with a legal document called an Answer to the Complaint
A Preliminary Conference Order is issued by the court scheduling a timeline for everything to be done in your case
This is the beginning of the “Discovery” stage.
Each side exchanges documents, photos, and information with the other side about the accident, insurance, and injuries
The plaintiff and defendant are asked questions by the opposing attorney at a deposition. Questions and answers are recorded by a court reporter
See how to know if the insurance company will use an investigator to spy on you with video surveillance. It is likely to happen within days or weeks after your deposition
A Compliance Conference is held by the court to make sure everything was done. If not, depositions and a defense medical exam are scheduled again
Defense Medical Exam
The plaintiff attends a medical examination by a defense doctor who will write a report and testify at trial
This is a time when a settlement is possible because the insurance company now knows what their doctor says, and your case is finished
This court conference is to make sure everything has been completed and give permission to file a “Note of Issue,” which puts your case on the trial calendar
A “Note of Issue” is filed, which puts your case on the trial calendar
Waiting & More Conferences!
Your case will wait for a trial date on the trial calendar for 18-24 months (approx. 2 months if you’re over age 70 or have a terminal illness). Many more conferences will be held during this time. (Only the attorneys appear at court conferences)
If not yet settled, cases are almost always settled now because both the insurance company and plaintiff start getting nervous about going to trial
A jury is picked, and your trial starts, which can last 1-2 weeks
Your case may be settled after picking a jury and before the trial starts. Even after a trial has begun, cases are sometimes settled in the middle of trial
If not settled, the jury will issue a verdict
The defense will frequently offer a settlement lower than the jury verdict and threaten to file an appeal if not settled (we usually refuse settlement offers lower than the jury verdict)
If your case isn’t settled immediately after a trial, the defense may file an appeal to see if you’re willing to settle for less than the jury verdict (see why below)
If the case is not settled, the appeal takes another 1-2 years. Lawyers never include legal fees for appeal in the original retainer. The legal fee may now be increased from 33% to 50% of the total recovered or by a specified dollar amount.
Now you know the timeline of a personal injury case. If you have a question about the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case? Click to leave a comment below and we’ll answer it!
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