How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident in PA?

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It depends on many factors and some of these variables are in your control. When you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you need to know how long it’s going to take to settle your case.

The Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers explain how long it takes to settle a car accident in Pennsylvania, and what you can do to speed up your case. Talk to a car accident lawyer at our firm today.

How Long a Car Accident Takes to Settle

A car accident case may take anywhere from six weeks to two years to settle. Straightforward cases may settle in several weeks, shortly after the insurance paperwork is complete.

Complex cases can take significant time to settle. The amount of time your case takes depends on the circumstances and how you pursue the case.

How long a car accident claim takes also depends on the stage where the case settles. Sometimes, you may settle in about a month directly with an insurance company. However, if a case proceeds to a formal legal filing, discovery and trial, a case may take up to several years.

Several years!? I can’t wait that long for my compensation!

Rest assured that most car accident cases don’t take years to settle.

When liability and damages are clear, the case can be resolved with little dispute. When there are honest questions about liability, contested damages or missing information, litigation can take much longer.

Is It Always Best to Settle Your Case Right Away?

Definitely not. A settlement that fully reflects your damages may take time. It’s a balance of resolving the case promptly and seeing that you are fully compensated. An important way that our lawyers assist our clients is by working efficiently on your behalf.

Talk to a lawyer

Are you wondering how long your car accident case might take? Talk to our lawyers. The Gibbons & Crichton car accident lawyers can give you a personalized evaluation of what the timeline might look like in your case.

Stages Where a Car Accident Case May Settle

A car accident case may settle at any of these stages:

  • When the insurance company has all the paperwork
  • Following a demand letter and negotiations with the insurance company
  • After a formal case is filed in court
  • During the discovery phase, after preliminary motions
  • Formal mediation
  • Final settlement conference, as trial approaches
  • With a trial judgment

A case may settle at any time until the jury has returned a verdict.

Things that May Speed Up a Car Accident Settlement

  • Knowing what your case is worth: When you know what your case is worth, you know what you’re pursuing. You can prepare a demand letter and engage in settlement negotiations.
  • Carefully completing insurance forms: The insurance company needs certain information to process the case and make an offer. A lawyer can ensure your paperwork is complete.
  • Thoroughly documenting the accident scene: The more information you document at the accident scene, the faster your case can proceed. Having photographs, witness information and the accident report can give you a fast start as you build your claim.
  • Precise document drafting: Legal documents must comply with court rules. Errors can result in your documents being rejected or needing amendments, resulting in delays.
  • Engaging in discovery: The discovery process allows the parties to narrow the issues in dispute. When the evidence is openly known, it’s harder to dispute clear things, pushing the parties closer to settlement.
  • Mediation: The purpose of mediation is to help the parties negotiate constructively. Many cases are settled at mediation. A lawyer can guide your mediation efforts.
  • Summary judgment: Summary judgment may be appropriate when there are no material issues in dispute, and you are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Sometimes, the defense admits liability, and the case proceeds only on the issue of damages.
  • Staying organized and working with your attorney: One of the ways your attorney helps you is by keeping your case on track. Working together on your case can help your legal matter proceed toward resolution.

Many of the things that can speed up a car accident settlement are things that an attorney can help you with. At Gibbons & Crichton, we ensure documents are correct and complete. We’re organized, building your compensation claim efficiently.

Things that May Slow Down a Car Accident Settlement

  • Severe injuries, future injuries: When injuries are especially serious, it can take time to fully value them.
  • Disputed fault, questions of negligence: If there is a dispute about whether the defense is at fault, you must prove how their actions create legal liability.
  • Questions of causation: You may need to pay special attention to proving that the accident is the cause of your injury. A medical expert or accident reconstruction specialist may provide this information.
  • Multiple insurance policies: It can take time to sort out the various insurance policies. Having multiple sources of compensation can be a good thing, but it can take extra time.
  • Defense non-cooperation: Sometimes, the defense simply wants to take their case to trial.
  • Court scheduling delays: If your case proceeds to trial, you must wait for an available trial date.
  • Expert testimony: Expert testimony can be critical to your case. Preparing for experts to testify in your case can take time.
  • Appeals: If either party chooses to appeal, it may add up to several months to the case while the appeal is processed.

Remember these things are not necessarily negative – having time to build your case is a good thing. However, these things may affect the timeline in your case.

Get Legal Help

Do you still have questions about the duration of your car accident claim? Do you want personalized advice and legal help? Call the team at Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers at 215-274-0173 today.

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