What’s the car accident lawsuit process in New York State?

a firefighter near a car accident

a firefighter near a car accident

Many car accidents are minor, involving minimal property damage, and hopefully no one is seriously hurt. However, the physical, emotional and financial impacts of a serious accident can have long term effects. In these instances, it is important to understand the car accident lawsuit process.


Insurance companies are not always eager to pay out benefits. In most cases, the insurers of the parties involved in the accident discuss the settlement themselves. That can leave a person who’s injured unsure about what’s going to happen next. That stress can make a bad situation worse.


The time it takes to settle even a “standard process lawsuit” in New York can vary widely. However, the car accident lawsuit process normally consists of:

  • Pre-Litigation
  • Litigation
  • Recovering damages


Pre-litigation of a car accident

Pre-litigation is the time before a lawsuit is filed. During this period, car accident lawyer(s) prepare to pursue a claim on your behalf. This usually includes:

  • Collecting and assembling evidence
  • Filing a no-fault claim on your behalf (for PIP coverage)
  • Notifying the at-fault party of the potential lawsuit
  • Beginning settlement discussions


Sometimes in the car accident lawsuit process, settlement discussions reach a fair resolution without the need to go to court. In other cases, the process continues.


Litigation of a car accident

Litigation is the process of filing the lawsuit and negotiating toward a settlement. It can end before a trial, or it can continue through a trial. During this process, car accident attorney(s) usually:

  • File suit
  • Complete discovery, the process whereby all parties obtain evidence from each other
  • Represent you at trial
  • Reach a settlement agreement or advocate for a settlement at trial.


If a case goes to trial, and does not settle during the trial, it will end with a verdict. While a  favorable result at trial is the goal, the process is not complete. Not everybody lives up to their obligations after a verdict or settlement.


Recovering damages

In most cases damages will be paid by an insurance company. However, when that’s not the case it can be a challenge to recover damages. When this happens, an attorney can help to force the at-fault party to pay the agreed-upon amount.


How can a lawyer help?

A lawyer is an essential partner in guiding you through the personal injury lawsuit process. This is especially true when dealing with insurance companies. It’s also true when the parties don’t agree on who’s at fault.


By helping you understand the car accident lawsuit process, an attorney can also help you maintain a positive frame of mind. That’s in addition to negotiating a more favorable settlement.


What kind of damages can I sue for?

There are a variety of damages that you can be awarded money for if you’re in a car accident. These include:

  • Physical damage to your car
  • Immediate medical bills
  • Long-term medical bills
  • Loss of work
  • Death or disability benefits
  • Punitive damages, if the at-fault party’s actions were especially severe


If you’ve been injured in an accident, the attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik can walk you through the car accident lawsuit process. During a free consultation, your legal options will be outlined. Then, if you decide to pursue a case, a Napoli Shkolnik attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.