How Do You Start a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?

Posted: July 27, 2022

personal injury lawEvery motor vehicle accident lawsuit is different, but most personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents begin the same way. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be wondering how to start, or “commence,” a personal injury lawsuit in New York. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process.  

Initial Steps

Before a lawsuit can be commenced, the injured person seeking to bring the lawsuit (normally known as a “plaintiff”) will usually conduct a pre-suit investigation into potentially liable parties, as well as available causes of action that can be asserted against those parties. In the case of an accident, the plaintiff will normally review the police accident report and conduct other informal discovery to identify potential “defendants” who may have caused or contributed to the motor vehicle collision.  

An experienced attorney can help identify potentially liable parties and put their insurance companies on notice. An attorney may attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies for the potentially liable parties to help maximize the injured person’s recovery. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the next step would be a lawsuit.   

Filing a Summons and Complaint

The first steps to commencing a personal injury lawsuit in New York involves filing a Summons and Complaint. The plaintiff’s attorney will generally prepare a document that outlines for the court and the defendants the general nature of the lawsuit, including background information about the parties, and describes how the Court has jurisdiction to hear the controversy. The Complaint must always state a “cause of action” that is recognized by law, and an experienced attorney can make sure that various pleading requirements are met. The Summons, which is usually served with the Complaint, explains why the case is “venued” in a particular location and notifies the defendant that they must appear and file an Answer to the Complaint within a certain period of time, among other things.  

The Defendant’s Answer

If the defendants do not serve an Answer within a certain period, they will be deemed in default. In formulating an Answer, the defendants can, among other things, admit, deny, raise an affirmative defense, assert a counter-claim against the plaintiff, or assert a cross-claim against another defendant.  

Once the defendants have served Answers, the case will generally continue into a new phase, known as discovery or “disclosure,” where the parties attempt to gain information about the facts giving rise to the lawsuit.  

Do You Have a Car Accident Injury Case? 

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may have questions about what a personal injury lawsuit entails. The attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. handle personal injury cases involving car accidents regularly. Contact an experienced attorney at William Mattar, P.C. today to determine your legal options following an accident.  (844) 444-4444. We are here for you 24/7.

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