How long does it take to settle a car accident lawsuit?
An average of 120,000 to 130,000 vehicle crashes occur in Pennsylvania every year. Approximately 80,000 injuries occur every year in Pennsylvania car accidents. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) defines a serious injury as one that is not fatal and results in one or more of the following:
- Crush injuries,
- Skull injuries
- Chest injuries
- Abdominal injuries
- Severe lacerations
- Significant burns
The PennDOT lists minor injuries as those which are not fatal or serious, including:
- Minor lacerations
Whether the victim suffers minor or serious injuries, the physical, emotional and financial effects may result in medical bills and other monetary obligations. The victim’s daily activities and well-being may be altered, and they may want to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for their injuries and damages from the at-fault driver(s). The time it takes to settle a car accident lawsuit may be as short a few weeks or can last for years. The time frame for a lawsuit differs from case to case.
After a car accident, police may investigate the accident if it involves serious bodily injury or death. For car accidents without serious bodily injury or death, the driver must give a written report to the PennDOT within five days of the accident. The victim of the auto accident may be required to report the accident to their own insurance company under the terms of their insurance policy. They may also decide to sue the at-fault driver for any injuries and property damage sustained in the accident.
After filing a complaint in the appropriate court, the at-fault driver must respond to the lawsuit. If they fail to respond to the complaint within 20 days, then the person who filed the lawsuit wins by default. In this scenario, the car accident lawsuit can be concluded within a few weeks of filing the lawsuit. Before the lawsuit goes to trial, one party may request a pretrial conference, during which, the judge will discuss settlement. However, the conclusion of a car accident lawsuit may take months or years if the case goes to trial.
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