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Will My NYC Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

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Will My NYC Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Will My NYC Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

When you’re injured in an accident, it can dramatically affect the daily workings of your life. You must grapple with the injury’s pain and the subsequent treatment and recovery. You might have to miss work. Expenses are piling up, and the stress of getting them paid increases daily.

Ideally, you want your personal injury case to settle quickly. The best-case scenario is getting a great settlement offer from the insurance company and returning to the business of your life. The worst-case scenario is a lawsuit that you lose in court, resulting in you getting nothing for your injuries.

The resolution of a vast majority of NYC personal injury cases is somewhere between these two outcomes. What happens to your claim depends on the facts and circumstances of your particular case. An experienced personal injury lawyer in New York City will be able to advise on the best path based on your situation.

An NYC Personal Injury Case: Settle or Sue?

An NYC Personal Injury Case: Settle or Sue?

Approximately 95 percent of personal injury lawsuits settle before making it to court. There are a few basic reasons why this number is so high: time, money, and fear of risk.

Going to court can take time – time to prepare, get a court date, wrangle with the other side, and so on. The longer it takes, the longer you don’t have any money to help with your expenses. Adding to the time factor, there is no guarantee you will win. That’s a big risk to take.

Agreeing to a settlement and avoiding court means you walk away with something, which is always better than nothing. However, you may recover more compensation at trial than you would in a settlement. These are considerations your attorney will take into account when evaluating a strategy for your case.

How Do Insurance Company Claims Work?

In personal injury claims, most people are compensated for their medical and other expenses through insurance benefits. Depending on the nature of the accident, your insurance policy may cover you.

For example, if you are in a car accident, it’s important to remember that New York is a no-fault auto insurance state. So whether you caused the accident or not, your insurance company is where you go first for coverage.

If the accident was not a car crash and you weren’t at fault, you will likely seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Filing a Claim is Not the Same as Filing a Lawsuit

All the terms and jargon used in personal injury cases can be confusing. Wrapping your mind around terms like claims, damages, negligence, and liability can be difficult.

An insurance claim is not a lawsuit. The claim is between you and the other party’s insurance company and possibly your own insurance company.

After the accident, with your attorney’s help, you will assess and document the circumstances surrounding the accident and which party was at fault. Witness statements, police reports, and photographs of the accident will be crucial evidence in your case.

Then you will catalog and document your damages to get a total value that you would like to recover for all of your expenses incurred due to the accident.

So now you have determined who was at fault in the accident and calculated your damages based on all of your documented expenses. The next step is to file a claim with the relevant insurance company asking to be compensated.

Insurance Company Tactics and the Claims Process

Once you have submitted your claim, the insurance company will investigate the accident, review your claim, and decide whether to pay what you have requested.

They could answer in any number of different ways, including:

  • Denying that their insured was at fault
  • Arguing that you were partially at fault
  • Making you a counter-offer

It should be noted that insurance companies are businesses, and they will do their best to find reasons why they should pay you less than what you have requested. That’s why you want a seasoned personal injury lawyer by your side who is experienced in dealing with insurance companies and the way they approach claims.

In New York, there are pure comparative fault rules in personal injury cases. So if you were 20% at fault for the accident, the sum you recover will be reduced by 20%.

This is one of the many angles insurance companies will use to argue why you aren’t entitled to the full amount of your claim.

In the case of a counter-offer, your lawyer can go back and forth with the insurance company, but at some point, the insurance company will give you its final, take-it-or-leave-it offer. Now you have a choice to make.

You can:

  • Accept the offer
  • Appeal the decision internally through the insurance company
  • File a lawsuit in court

Remember, just because you file a lawsuit doesn’t mean your case will actually make it to court.

Preparing for Trial Doesn’t Mean You’ll Go to Trial

Filing a lawsuit isn’t ideal, but it may be necessary in your particular case. Just because you are preparing to go to trial, you should know there are many stops along the way that provide opportunities for settlement.

Typically, this is what the process will look like.

Your attorney will file a lawsuit against the insurance company in the applicable court. Then the discovery phase can begin. This is when each side asks for information from the other using tools like depositions and requests to produce documents.

This process can be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive for both sides.

An Opportunity to Settle

When discovery is completed, you may engage in pre-trial settlement negotiations. This encourages the parties to settle the case. They will often agree to an alternative dispute resolution, like mediation or arbitration.

Last Chance to Avoid Trial

If the settlement negotiations don’t work, each side can ask the court to make a decision about the case. Basically, you will file a motion that the court should rule in your favor, and the opposing party will argue that the case should be dismissed. Both sides will present their argument, and the judge will issue a ruling.

The Big Gamble: Going to Trial

If the judge determines that the case should proceed to trial, both sides will present their cases to a jury. If the jury rules in your favor, they will decide how much you will receive. If they don’t rule for you, you lose and get nothing.

Clearly, going to trial is a big gamble.

Contact an NYC Personal Injury Lawyer For a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Case

Personal injury cases are often people’s first exposure to insurance claims and potentially the court system. Accidents, injuries, and getting compensation for them is a complicated process.

Contact an NYC personal injury attorney for a free consultation. They will assess your situation and be your trusted guide as you navigate the world of personal injury cases.

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