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How Long Does a Traffic Accident Lawsuit Take?

May 15, 2018

By Van Der Veen, Hartshorn, and Levin

If you are injured in a traffic collision, your injuries need to be treated immediately. You obviously cannot postpone necessary medical procedures in order for a lawsuit award or a settlement to come in. So how long does the average lawsuit take to win and what can be expected from it in terms of compensation? The answers to both of those questions are, unfortunately, difficult to give because every case is different.

Going to Court vs. Settling

In terms of time, settling out of court is much faster than filling a lawsuit and letting a judge and jury make the final decisions. The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court.

A case that goes to trial will likely take at least a few years from the injury date to the conclusion of the lawsuit. Typically, the larger the lawsuit damages are, the longer it will take due to the fact that the insurer of the negligent driver will not want to take a large financial hit, and fighting the lawsuit, at this point, has become their last option to reduce their losses. Cases that are settled out of court can also take many months to settle. Larger cases can take well over a year before a final decision is made by the injured party. Typical practices used to finalize the agreement include negotiating directly with the other party, mediation, and in some cases arbitration. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania is just two years, pursuant to 42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(2), meaning that the injured party must have accepted a settlement offer before two years, or else they will not have the option to file a lawsuit as a last resort.

How Much Can I Expect to Get?

This question is similar to that of “how long will a lawsuit or settlement take” in that it varies based on the plaintiff’s degree of injuries. Typically, the higher the medical costs, the larger the settlement offer or lawsuit award will be. Pain and suffering is calculated based on the injuries as well, with a rough estimate being as follows: pain and suffering is equal to medical bills multiplied one to five, with one being a minor injury and five being a severe injury. As you can see, the pain and suffering of a severe injury, such as disfigurement or amputation, would be valued more than the medical costs by five times. Pain and suffering is the largest part of compensation for serious injuries. However, the final amount that you get greatly depends on the insurance policy of the negligent party.

A Personal Injury Attorney is Here to Help

The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim have assisted thousands of clients receive fair and substantial compensation for injuries sustained in all manners of auto collisions. For help today, call to setup a free consultation.



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