Car accidents are prevalent in New York City. According to the New York DMV, 299,452 car accidents occur each year. This breaks down to about 24,954 car accidents per month, 5,758 car accidents per week, 820 car accidents per day, 34 car accidents per hour, or one car accident per two minutes.
While some accidents are relatively minor and result in slight damage to the vehicle, others are more severe and result in traumatic injuries. If you have been involved in a car accident and have suffered serious injuries, here is a complete guide to a car accident lawsuit.
Step 1: File a Complaint
An NYC car accident lawsuit begins when you file a complaint with the court. A complaint is an official document that consists of numbered paragraphs listing the legal basis of the lawsuit, what occurred, and the claimed damages.
Step 2: Serve the Complaint To the Defendant
You need to inform the defendant about the NYC car accident lawsuit by serving them with a copy of the complaint. You have 120 days to serve the defendant. This deadline is not usually fixed, as it can be extended if the defendant is difficult to track down.
Step 3: The Defendant Files an Answer
In an answer, the defendant responds to your complaint and either denies or admits the allegations listed in the complaint. The defendant can also use the answer to present any legal defenses.
Step 4: Discovery
Discovery is a process where the plaintiff and defendant exchange relevant information that is likely to lead to the discovery of credible evidence. The purpose of discovery is to allow both parties to see all the facts pertaining to the NYC car accident lawsuit so that they can plan their side of the case, come up with compelling arguments, and build evidence. Usually, the discovery process involves:
- Requests for the production of documents;
- Interrogations (questioning to obtain evidence).
- Depositions (a sworn, out-of-court oral testimony);
Step 5: Trial
After discovery is complete, the plaintiff and the defendant will have all the information they need to present their case in court. Usually, the trial will consist of the plaintiff and defendant:
- Making opening statements;
- The plaintiff presenting their evidence;
- The defendant cross-examined the plaintiff’s witnesses;
- The defendant presenting their evidence;
- The plaintiff cross-examined the defendant’s witnesses;
- Closing statements.
After the closing statements, the jury will deliberate and reach a verdict in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant. If the judgment favors the plaintiff, your NYC car accident lawsuit will have a successful outcome, and the defendant will be ordered to pay damages for your injuries.
Seek the Services of an Attorney in Your NYC Car Accident Lawsuit
If you have been involved in a car accident, you have a legal right to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation for injuries or lost wages. Follow the above guide, which will direct you through the filing process and increase your chances of getting compensated.