How Long Does a New York Car Accident Case Last?

Personal Injury Lawyer
New York Attorney

If you are hurt in a car accident, you have a lot on your mind. First, you want to make sure you are okay physically. Then, of course, there are the financial aspects of a car accident – repairs, car loan payoffs, body shop estimates, medical bills, and so forth. Long Island car accident lawyers are often asked one question, in particular: How Long Will this Take? Unfortunately, the answer can be a little complicated. In general, though, here are some things to keep in mind.

Intake Process

Hiring a personal injury lawyer should be fairly simple. Most auto accident lawyers charge based on a contingency fee, so you should never have to pay a fee for a consultation, and you should not be required to pay any kind of expenses or fees upfront. Once you meet with your attorney, you will complete paperwork in order to get the process started. Most of this can be done in one meeting, but you may need to make follow ups or send in forms from time to time. Some important documents a lawyer will need you to complete may include:

  • Contract for Representation
  • Medical Release and Authorization
  • Medicare Forms (if applicable)

Your Medical Care and Progress

Once you have hired an accident attorney to represent you in your car crash case, you will be encouraged to focus your energy on getting better. You should keep your doctors’ appointments and follow their recommendations. Keep your lawyer updated on your improvement and progress. Make sure to stay in touch, and by all means, make sure you let your lawyer know if you move or change phone numbers. Your attorney will be following your medical care and progress closely to make sure that he or she understands your injuries and the care that was required.

The length of time it takes for you to get care will largely determine how long your case takes to resolve. If you just need a couple follow up appointments with a doctor, your case will be over quickly. Of course, this also indicates that your injury is probably not very severe. Therefore, in most cases, serious injuries requiring surgery or extended treatment typically require months or even years of medical care. Most of the time, an insurance company will not offer to settle a claim until the full extent of injuries can be determined. This is why it is important to make sure your attorney is fully aware of all treatment.


Long before you ever file a lawsuit, your personal injury attorney will gather your medical records and bills and begin negotiations with the insurance company. These may be quick, or they could take a long time. It depends on how complex your injuries are and who the insurance company has working for them. Some companies will have high turnover and go through numerous adjusters. This can create delays.


Even once a settlement amount is agreed upon, your attorney will still have to work to resolve any medical bills and liens that are outstanding. Medical providers can be slow to respond to requests for reductions in their bills, so you should be patient with your attorney. Remember that you both want the same thing – to resolve the case and obtain compensation.


If you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, you and your attorney may decide that it is best to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This will greatly increase the timeframe because once a lawsuit is filed, you and your attorney no longer are in control of the process. A court docket will schedule things, and the case will likely take a year or two to resolve. In serious cases involving death or permanent disability, many lawsuits take over five years to just reach a jury trial. Thus, there is a strong incentive to settle claims when possible. If settlement is not an option, an experienced auto accident lawyer can help you navigate the litigation process from start to finish as efficiently as possible.

Hiring the Right Long Island Personal Injury Firm

This blog post was submitted by the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. Please call their office for a free consultation 24/7. Their phone number is 866-878-6774.

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