It’s rare for personal injury cases to go to court. It’s rare for judges to dismiss these cases.
All the same, it does happen.
As your personal injury attorneys, we work hard to help you avoid the pitfalls that could lead to the dismissal of your claim. Still, we feel it’s wise to give you an idea of the kinds of issues that could stop a personal injury case in its tracks.
#1) You waited too long.
New York has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. You must start the process no later than three years from when you were injured or when you were diagnosed with your injury. If you are suing the city, you have just 30 days to serve the city or most other government entities with notice that you intend to pursue a claim.
Often, clients wait too long to bring the lawsuit because they try to deal with insurance companies themselves. They may also (erroneously) believe that they cannot involve a lawyer until certain milestones have been reached.
We’re here to tell you that you’re welcome to involve us from Day 1 of your case. You can call us the day you get injured, and we’ll be happy to help you. This ensures you don’t miss important deadlines. It also gives us a chance to get at evidence that might not be available if we wait.
#2) The defendant isn’t the responsible party.
Establishing liability isn’t always straightforward in a personal injury case. One of the first things your lawyer will be doing is determining which party or parties should be named as a defendant or defendants.
Defendants may challenge the case on the grounds that they did not owe you a duty of care or are not the actual responsible party in your case.
If they are successful and correct, you might be able to launch a new suit against the real responsible party. Still, this draws out the process and means waiting longer to receive your personal injury money.
It’s far better to work with a lawyer who is responsible enough and skilled enough to send the suit to the right party at the right time.
#3) You’re in the wrong venue.
This doesn’t come up very often when you have a lawyer unless you are dealing with a brand-new attorney.
The court system is confusing, and there are times when the case goes to the wrong court. The court will not hear such a case. Instead, the judge will dismiss the case, and you’ll have to re-file in the appropriate court.
#4) The defendant won a motion for summary judgment.
Prior to a case going to trial, both parties generally try to get the judge to make a decision before the trial starts. A Motion for Summary Judgment asserts that the facts of the case are crystal clear, so clear that they don’t really need to be heard by a jury. The Motion then asks the judge to make a ruling.
Judges don’t award summary judgments in personal injury cases all that often, but it can happen. If it does, you and your lawyer will need to discuss options. For example, you may be able to appeal the judge’s decision in a higher court.
#5) You failed to show up for court.
Make your court date.
If you don’t, the other side may win by default.
Dodge Pitfalls With an Experienced Lawyer
You can avoid most problems with a personal injury lawsuit by dealing with an attorney who cares deeply about helping you succeed and who has decades of experience helping people like you win cases like yours.
Have you been injured in an accident? If so, contact our law firm to get help today.