Your New York City slip and fall case will only go to trial if you and the defendant are unable to reach a settlement. Many victims of these accidents would prefer to settle before trial– to receive compensation due them– much sooner. However, in some cases, it pays to be patient and go to trial because the victim’s financial compensation may significantly increase.
How Likely is it That My Case Will Go to Trial?
There is no way to know if your case will conclude with a settlement or go to trial. There are, however, different factors that make a trial more likely. The defendant in your case will have a significant impact in determining this. Some defendants refuse to make a settlement offer no matter how strong the case for negligence might be. In other instances, the defendant might not have the financial resources to pay the full value of your claim. When that happens, they might choose to risk a trial with the hope of avoiding liability entirely.
Out of all the relevant factors, few are more important than the issue of liability. If there is clear and convincing evidence that the property owner is at fault for your slip and fall accident, the chances of a settlement are much higher. On the other hand, if the property owner believes they have a viable case and can prove they took reasonable steps to prevent your accident, a trial might be more likely.
No attorney can promise with certainty that your case will not go to trial. However, our firm is prepared to build the strongest case possible.
How Long Will My Case Last?
There are no guarantees in the legal process, and there may be a number of twists and turns in your case. Some cases that seem relatively simple– end up taking years to resolve, while others that at first appear more complex may settle within months. There is no telling how long your particular case will last.
A settlement can be reached at any time in the legal process— ranging from shortly after the accident occurs until right before a trial verdict is reached.
Why Slip and Fall Cases Can Take So Long
While it may be in your best interests to hold firm and take your case to trial, you should take note that it can be a lengthy process– especially here in New York. It can easily take 2-3 years from the day you file until the trial date. In fact, some cases take even longer than that. In general, the more defendants that are involved, the longer it will take. Similarly, the more insurance companies that are involved, the longer it will last.
Most of the slip and fall cases that our New York City personal injury lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C. have handled have settled before trial. However, there are a few cases where the defendant refuses to present our client with a fair offer, so a trial becomes necessary.
What is the Timeline of Events I Should Expect After My Accident?
Once you hire an attorney to represent you, there are several phases of the legal proceedings that will unfold:
- Your New York City slip and fall lawyer will investigate what happened in the accident to determine all of the parties that may share at least some of the blame. Your attorney will discover the type of insurance available to all parties and also assess your damages. At that point, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company requesting full financial compensation.
- In New York, the statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is three years. Your attorney may decide to file a lawsuit shortly after the accident occurs. Another option is to first attempt to negotiate with the other side in the hopes that a fair settlement will be offered to you without the need for litigation, and then file a lawsuit if they don’t.
- Once the lawsuit is filed, the defendant has 20 days in which to file an Answer.
- Next comes the discovery phase, wherein both parties have a chance to question the opposition and determine what evidence the opposing party has. This phase can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year.
- The next phase is settlement discussions, which may include mediation. Again, how long this phase takes varies significantly, and it often depends on whether or not the defendant presents a reasonable offer to you. The reality is that insurance companies handle these cases all the time. On the other hand, the vast majority of slip and fall plaintiffs are going through this for the first time. Insurance companies know how stressful this process can be for the victim, so many plaintiffs have an incentive to accept a less-than-ideal offer. This where the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney is invaluable.
- If a settlement is not reached, then your case will go to trial. The trial itself typically takes less than a week, but you may need to wait several months before it begins.
- Lastly, if you do go to trial and the jury finds in your favor, you rarely receive the money owed to you right away. Defendants may appeal, or even attempt to settle after a verdict is reached.
Contact Us Today
Our attorneys have a wealth of experience advocating for New York City’s slip and fall injury victims. If you were seriously hurt after falling on someone else’s property in NYC, you deserve a legal team that will help you get the most out of your claim. Call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green right away to schedule your free consultation.