Type of Case
The applicable law is different in a medical malpractice case as compared
to a slip and fall case, as compared to a construction case, as compared
to a motor vehicle case. This will affect what a plaintiff will be required
to prove in order to win his or her case and produce during the lawsuit.
Some cases are complex, requiring multiple experts and physical and oral
exams. Some are simple, with only two parties, and no experts at all.
In addition, depending upon the type of case you have, you may be assigned
to a specific part in Court or be required to bring your case in a specific
Court. For example, all cases involving New York State must be brought
in the Court of Claims.
Value of Case
Numerous factors determine the settlement value of a case, from the Court
a case is pending in to the amount of insurance coverage the defendant
may have. Generally, however, the value of a case is determined by the
severity of the injuries, judged in light of the degree of responsibility
of the defendant. The more seriously someone is hurt, the higher the monetary
value of their injury. This is offset by the amount an injured plaintiff
contributed to his or her account. So, for example, if a jury awards a
plaintiff $1 million, but finds that the plaintiff is 20% responsible
for the accident, the plaintiff will receive $800,000. Many people believe
that the time it takes for a lawsuit to be completed should factor into
the value of a case and increase it. It doesn’t. Likewise, you don‘t
get interest on an award until a judgment is entered and attorneys' fees,
as well as the expense of a lawsuit, come out of the settlement or verdict.
If you and the defendants are prompt in the delivery of all information
requested, your case will proceed more quickly than if you or the defendants
are slow or miss appointments.
Each judge works at his or her own pace. One judge could take years to
complete paperwork before assigning your case to the calendar; another
could schedule your hearings six months in advance and leave it to your
attorneys to collect the relevant paperwork. It’s the luck of the
draw - you have no control over the judge assigned to your case, how many
other cases the judge is handling, or the speed at which the cases ahead
of yours will be disposed of.
Number of Parties Involved
The more parties (and lawyers involved) the longer time it takes to get
everyone to comply and to set Court appointments. Some parties, typically
New York City and State agencies, are very slow at complying with Court
orders, setting appointments and forwarding settlement checks.