Many people wonder why a lawsuit takes so long to resolve. There are various reasons for this, including court congestion and overworked and understaffed law firms. But, one of the biggest reasons is perhaps the immense amount of work that goes into completing the necessary steps to conclude a case.
Prior to starting a lawsuit, there should be a thorough investigation of the facts. This will include gathering all information from the investigating police agency, such as a police accident report and witness statements. If the accident was severe, the police may have inspected all vehicles involved, taken photographs and mapped the scene. The map may contain valuable information such as skid marks and debris from the vehicle. This investigative information should always be obtained prior to starting a lawsuit.
Next, a thoroughly prepared attorney may want to hire their own accident investigator to review the police work, visit the scene to obtain measurements and conduct witness interviews.
The investigation of the case should also include gathering all relevant medical records from all treating providers and any past records that may relate to the same parts of the body injured in this case. This information may need to be discussed with a physician hired by the plaintiff.
Once the investigation is complete it is time to draft the Summons and Complaint. These are the documents that initiate the lawsuit once filed and served upon the defendants. The Summons and Complaint is a broad list of allegations detailing the reasons you believe the other party is responsible for your injuries and should have to pay for your damages.
Once this document is served upon the defendant, they must forward it to their insurance carrier, who will hire a law firm to represent the insured. Some insurance carriers will assign in-house counsel to represent their insured. Others will hire outside firms. Either way, the defendant has 30 days to serve an Answer to the Complaint. An Answer is a formal response to every allegation in the Complaint. The Answer will either deny, admit, or deny having enough information to answer an allegation.
Once an Answer is interposed, the parties will begin discovery in the case. Discovery in the case is usually overseen by the Court. Therefore, one party will need to request judicial intervention. That is a fancy phrase for requesting a conference with a judge. At that conference, the judge will set up a formal discovery schedule. He will also set up a return date known as a Compliance Conference, at which time it will be expected that discovery is complete.
Discovery entails exchanging all accident reports, witness names, expert witness names with their reports, insurance information, medical reports, depositions and physical exams of the plaintiff. Once complete, the judge will sign a certification order stating all discovery is complete. They will then shift the case to the trial assignment part.
From the filing of the Summons and Complaint until completing discovery it can usually take anywhere from one to two years. Once a case is transferred to the trial assignment court it will await its turn for an available judge to hear the case. This process can take up to six months to a year due to the vast amounts of cases in the system. Once a trial date is assigned the case will proceed to trial. A trial can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the complexity of the case.
A trial entails opening statements, presentation of evidence, closing statements, instructions to the jury, deliberation, and a verdict. A case can be settled at any time during the process from the time the lawsuit is filed up to the time the jury returns a verdict.
Often, people get frustrated with the court system because of the length of time it takes to resolve a case. While the process is long and complicated, it is the best way I know of to resolve disputes peacefully.
As someone who has represented car accident victims for 20 years, I have seen cases where people will unknowingly do things that can be fatal for a personal injury claim. These are the 5 biggest mistakes that either ruin or significantly reduce the deserved compensation when injured in a car accident.
After getting into a car accident, it is not unlikely that the other party’s insurance company will contact you after the accident for information. It’s important to be careful about what information you give them. You have three years to file a lawsuit against the company and you are not obligated to speak with them during that time at all. Insurance companies are only going to be looking out for themselves.
Anything you say to them they will try to use against you if possible. They want to justify handing out as little money as possible. This is especially true if you speak to them early on and your injury ends up being worse than it initially seemed. Therefore, the general rule of thumb is to not speak to the insurance company if there is any kind of injury involved. Additionally, if you have hired an attorney, let them speak on your behalf.
When an accident initially occurs, your body is going to naturally kick into “survival mode” because of the shock of the accident. Your body might initially use adrenaline to subdue any kind of pain or injury. You might initially think that you are ok and any pain you feel really isn’t bad. The problem is the injuries could be much worse than you realize but may take some time for you to notice. Therefore, if you feel any pain after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Even though you have three years to sue the insurance company if you have a serious injury following a car accident, your case may be adversely affected if you waited to seek medical attention. The insurance company can make the claim that your injuries are not resulting from the car accident. They will try to say that something else after the accident caused your injury.
In the state of New York, you can get your medical bills and lost wages paid for if a car accident, whether or not it is your fault. What you may not know is that if you do not complete a no fault application within 30 days of the accident, the insurance companies do not need to pay for those bills.
The application, known as Form NF-2, can be downloaded from the New York State Department of Financial Services’ website. The first portion of the form asks for basic information, such as your name, address and phone number. You will also describe the events of the accident. Use the police report for reference when describing the accident.
You should provide a complete list of your injuries. You should even document minor injuries, like scrapes or bruises. Then you should record the health care providers that are treating you along with the claim number so that the insurance companies can pay the correct healthcare providers. Additionally, you should record your proof of employment and proof of disability. The time you missed from work will be incorporated as lost wages.
This is extremely important. Insurance companies will be keeping track of all of your social media trying to gather as much information as possible to use against you. Even if you are private or think you have the correct accounts blocked from your social media, there really is nothing stopping them from being able to see anything you post…even if you delete it. It is actually possible for the judge to allow all of your post history (including deleted posts) to be provided if the insurance company requests it.
The most obvious things you need to avoid is talking about the case at all or talking about the financial struggles the accident has caused you. Don’t post pictures of the scene or pictures of your injury. Don’t even talk about how you are feeling regarding your injury; it can be used against you. You even need to be very careful about posting your day to day activities as it will cause the insurance companies to question how the injury has affected you. A simple night out of dinner with your family could potentially encourage insurance companies to undermine your injury. If you post something like this, there could be little the lawyer can do to help you.
The closer you speak to an attorney after a car accident, the better. And there are many reasons why. You can remember the events clearly. You can record pictures of your injuries and the scene of the accident. They will also make sure you will receive good medical treatment and ensure that you have the necessary documents. Right when an accident occurs, the insurance companies are already likely building there own investigation to protect themselves. You need an attorney to warn you of the things an insurance company will use against you.
As you can see, a lot can go wrong if you want to file a personal injury claim. A lot of these things you might not even think about as hurting your case. The initial steps are very important and an experienced lawyer will help you build your case. If you have been injured on Long Island, New York, let us help you secure your compensation.
As rainy fall weather sets in, and recently we’ve seen considerable rain, the road conditions can become hazardous.
Such was the case when a 31-year-old Medford man died in an accident early Wednesday at 3:03 a.m. Alan Bradley was driving a 2002 Hyundai on Granny Road on slick roads when his car slid, crossing over into the opposite lane and striking a utility pole, according to Newsday. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the police impounded his car for safety inspections.
Taking safety precautions when driving in the rain may help you or a loved one prevent a tragic accident like this one. AAA recommends the following safety tips:
Ensure your car is road safe. When windshield wipers don’t clear the windshield or leave streaks, replace them. Ensure all vehicle lights — headlights, brake lights and taillights — are working. Ensure proper tire inflation so you have good traction.
Use headlights. When driving in the rain use highlights to compensate for poor visibility.
Don’t use cruise control. When you brake while using cruise control, the braking isn’t gradual. Abrupt braking can cause the car to skid. Avoid cruise control and brake slowly when driving in the rain so you don’t lose traction.
Reduce speed. Drive more slowly to avoid the possibility of hydroplaning, which can occur even with as little an amount of water as one half inch on the road.
Keep your distance. Allow more distance between your car and other cars so you can brake less often and more gradually when you do need to brake.
Learn how to drive in a skid. Turn the wheel in the direction you want the car to go. Avoid fast braking and stay in control.
Be safe. Our lawyers at Palermo Touhy Bruno hope you find these safety tips useful.
Medford Man Killed in Single Car Accident on Slick Roads
On Tuesday night October 13, 2015, Suffolk County police began pursuit an intoxicated driver of a 2010 Mercedes at Grand Boulevard and Carlls Straight Path around 10:00 p.m. The officer in pursuit lost sight of the Mercedes but spotted it again on the Long Island Expressway overpass at Dix Hills where it hit a 2011 Dodge Ram.
Newsday also reported that while the male driver of the Dodge Ram was okay, his son was transported to Huntington Hospital. He had minor injuries.
The Mercedes driver also suffered from minor injuries and was charged with driving while intoxicated and taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.
Where does an incident like this stand in terms of your rights to compensation under New York law?
New York is a no-fault insurance state. What does this mean? It means no matter who is at fault for causing an accident, your insurance company will cover damages up to a certain limit. The limit is $50,000. For more information, please see our No Fault Insurance Claims page.
Because injuries in this accident were minor, accident victims would not have the right to pursue damages under the NY serious injury threshold established by NY statutes.
When injuries are serious, you should most definitely consult with an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible. Palermo Tuohy Bruno offers a free consultation to accident victims. Our attorneys explain your rights and the prospects for pursuing compensation. Also, if we take your case, you owe no fees unless we recover through settlement or verdict.
Drunk Driver Causes Accident in Deer Park During Police Pursuit