How Long Will a Personal Injury Claim Take in New York?

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Key takeaways:

  • New York personal injury lawsuits can take anywhere from months to years to fully resolve.
  • The seriousness of your injuries and the required medical treatment often determine how long your case will take, with catastrophic injuries taking longer.
  • Most cases will resolve with a personal injury settlement before going to trial.
  • An experienced New York law firm on your side can help shorten the length of time your case will take by efficiently prosecuting your case.

Personal injury lawsuits can take a long time to fully resolve, depending on the complexity of the case. The timetable for injury claims generally depends on your injuries, your medical treatment, and the nature of the accident that caused your injuries. If you are looking for solutions, a New York personal injury attorney can help you fight the insurance companies for the compensation you deserve. Whether your case is large or small, you can benefit from having personal injury lawyers by your side every step of the way. Learn more about how long personal injury claims in New York take, and discover how The Coppola Firm can help.

Types of Personal Injury Claims and Their Prospective Timelines

Injured factory worker speaking to his supervisor

The Coppola Firm handles many different types of personal injury cases. Here are some of the types we handle, and we can assist you in navigating the legal process for them. Ultimately, it is the details of your case that will likely affect the overall time it takes to bring your matter to a resolution.

A Deeper Look into the Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline in New York

To understand how personal injury lawsuits proceed, you need to look at the timeline.

Getting Medical Attention

After you initially suffer your accident and injury, you should take certain actions to help your case down the line. And we’re concerned about YOU and your health, first and foremost. The first step is to receive the medical treatment you need for your injury. If necessary, proceed to your local emergency room or urgent care facility, and then follow up with your health care provider. The most important thing you can do to help yourself and your case is make and keep your doctor appointments. Not only will this help your health, but it creates a medical record that can be used as evidence in your case. Follow all care and treatment instructions from your medical provider to protect your claim.

Searching for an Attorney

Immediately following your accident, you should contact an attorney to help you. While hiring an attorney is beneficial no matter which step of the process you are on, it is generally advised to get a legal team as soon as possible, especially before talking to any insurance adjuster.

Gathering Evidence

After the initial accident, you should do what you can to gather evidence. As soon as possible, take pictures of the vehicles if it is a car crash or pictures of the condition that may have caused you to slip and fall. While a lawyer can help with this process, if you or a loved one can secure photos as soon as possible, it will help tremendously in preserving critical evidence. Relevant evidence can also be a record of your injuries, any incurred medical bills, names and addresses of witnesses, and eyewitness accounts.

Filing Your Claim

At the appropriate time, we may prepare a demand letter to the insurance company. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you compile your claim and present it in a convincing way while using the evidence collected to back it up. At times, a demand letter is used in lieu of filing a lawsuit in your case. However, based on strategic considerations that we will discuss with you, we may proceed directly to litigation if it is in your best interests in maximizing the value of your case.

Completing the Discovery Process

Should we file suit, we will then engage in what is called discovery. The discovery process can be lengthy, as it involves all parties exchanging evidence and investigating the facts. The discovery phase also includes taking what are called depositions, or sworn testimony, from the parties and other individuals who may have relevant testimony to share. We will often get the court involved early in the discovery phase to keep the case moving as efficiently as we can and to counter any delay tactics the insurance company and their lawyers may try.

Negotiating a Settlement

After discovery, the parties often try to negotiate a settlement offer before going to court. Sometimes the court will assist with these negotiations. Settlement negotiations can take up to several months, though straightforward cases tend to be settled faster. Note that this could be the last step in the process for many claimants since most personal injury cases avoid trial.

Go to Trial

Going to trial is necessary if you are unable to reach a settlement with the at-fault party. Typically, it takes months and up to a year to get a trial date scheduled, and this happens after all discovery and depositions are completed for your accident case.

Getting a Verdict

At the conclusion of a trial (which may take days or up to a week or two to complete), the jury will render its verdict, which is a final binding determination of the case. Resolving the case prior to a jury verdict removes that uncertainty and gives all parties closure and some control over the outcome.

Getting Compensation

If you received a favorable verdict from the jury in your case, you likely will be entitled to compensation. This can come in installments over a period of time or as a lump sum all at once. This is the final step in the legal process for a case that goes to trial.

Factors That Influence the Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case in New York

A woman checking her watch

Quite a few factors can affect the amount of time it takes for your case to settle, and it largely depends on the overall complexity of the injured party’s condition. Here are the most impactful factors to keep in mind.

  • How easy it is to assign liability in your accident
  • The severity of your injuries and extent of your medical care
  • How long it takes to recover from your injuries
  • How many parties were involved in the accident
  • Who is ultimately at fault for the accident
  • What the insurance company offers as a settlement amount
  • Whether or not your case goes to trial
  • The extent of your medical expenses
  • How long it will take you to reach your maximum medical improvement
  • The details of the police report

A case with multiple parties and serious injuries that goes to trial is likely going to take much longer than a case with a clear, responsible party, minor injuries, and an easy settlement.

Why Clients Partner with The Coppola Firm

When you work with The Coppola Firm, you get the benefit of custom solutions for the unique circumstances of your personal injury case. We understand that injuries can manifest differently with everyone, and we offer a communicative attorney-client relationship that puts your needs first. Take a look at what some of our previous clients have had to say about our services.


“David Goodman went above and beyond to guide me through my case. I was blessed to have his knowledge and expertise. He took away my anxiety about going through such a traumatic experience. There are not enough words to express my gratitude.” — Lisa

“I worked directly with Lisa Coppola and Melissa Goldberg. They were attentive, responsive, patient, understanding, and, of course, knowledgeable. They hung in there with me, surrounding a legal matter that took a very long time to resolve and that no one could have anticipated. I truly appreciated their commitment.” — Michelle

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Personal Injury Cases Take

Here are common questions we hear from our clients.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In the State of New York, under normal circumstances, the time deadline, also known as the statute of limitations, for a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident. In the case of a wrongful death, you have two years from the date of the death to file. However, that time period may be lengthened or shortened depending on the particular facts of your case. And if New York State, one of its agencies, or a city, town, or other municipal entity is involved, the time period is much shorter – sometimes 90 days from the accident. As a result, it is best to consult with our office as soon as possible. You should never wait until the last minute to contact a personal injury lawyer.

Can I Speed Up My Personal Injury Case?

You can speed up how much time your personal injury lawsuit takes by compiling as much evidence as possible that speaks accurately and completely about injuries and how the accident happened. Making and keeping your medical appointments and following the advice of your treatment providers also is very important. Getting an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side early on is a great way to effectively collect evidence, as they often can do it for you.

How Does the Severity of My Injuries Impact the Case Timeline?

More severe injuries often take longer to determine the extent of the damages. Additionally, severe injuries may have a greater value, so insurance companies will be less willing to part with what you are owed.

Serious injury has a specific definition for motor vehicle accidents under New York law, and an experienced attorney should analyze whether you could meet this threshold. Serious injuries could include loss of a body organ or body system, disfigurement, loss of a pregnancy, a permanent or significant limitation of use of a body part, or being unable to perform your functions of daily life for a specified period of time.

Getting a lawyer on your side is a helpful way to minimize the case timeline, even with severe injuries. The Coppola Firm offers free consultations for personal injury matters, so you are granted transparency for your case upfront.

What is the Role of Medical Treatment in the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case?

Getting medical treatment is how you establish a medical record that can be used as evidence for your case. With clear medical evidence on your side, you will have a stronger claim and leave the insurance companies or other parties less room to counteract your claim.

Does Going to Trial Significantly Lengthen My Personal Injury Case?

Yes, going to trial may lengthen your personal injury case, but it may be your best option for maximizing the value of your case if the insurance company or their lawyers are being unreasonable and if a settlement cannot be reached during the mediation process. But remember, in our experience, most cases settle before trial.

What Should I Expect in Terms of Updates and Communication During My Case?

When you work with The Coppola Firm, you can expect regular communication. In fact, we believe that keeping clients updated is critical to the case’s success. In turn, clients should update us frequently about their medical condition, so we can utilize medical evidence for the case.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at The Coppola Firm in Buffalo, New York

If you suffered a personal injury in Buffalo, New York or the surrounding areas, The Coppola Firm’s experienced personal injury attorneys stand ready to help you fight for the fair settlement you deserve throughout the entire claims process. Give us a call at 716-839-9700 or fill out our online contact form to begin your free case evaluation with comprehensive and understandable legal advice from our team.

Lisa Coppola

Written by Lisa Coppola

Founder of The Coppola Firm

Lisa A. Coppola, Esq. understands the challenges her clients face, whether they’re starting a new business, taking their existing operations in a new direction, or facing a claim or threat.

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