The answer to the question, “how long does a car accident case take to resolve?” depends on the factual and legal issues specific to a case, such as:
- the nature and extent of the physical injuries, and whether the injuries have healed;
- the complexity of the factual and legal issues in the case; and
- the insurance companies involved in the case.
Are there any factual or legal complexities involved in the case?
In many car accident cases, the issues will be relatively simple: number of parties, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In such cases, the discovery/litigation process will also be fairly straightforward.
Here is an example of a hypothetical less complex case: a rear-end car accident occurs in downtown Wilmington. Multiple witnesses verify that the driver was looking down at her cell phone immediately before striking the vehicle in front. The injured driver (front vehicle) sustains a neck and low back injury and receives the following medical treatment: emergency room care, an MRI showing multiple disc herniations, physical therapy, and injections. There is no wage loss claim or any other financial losses. Absent any complex issues, a case like this would likely be settled, probably before trial.
However, cases which require extensive discovery/litigation can prolong resolution. Common factors which prolong a case include:
- complexity of the financial damages,
- pre-existing injuries, and
- number of parties in the case.
It is important to note that most car accident cases do not involve appellate issues. However, any party to a case has a right to appeal a trial verdict or certain court rulings. In rare situations, a case can be paused while a party appeals (interlocutory appeals). Therefore, if appellate issues arise, they will prolong a case.
Which insurance companies are involved in the case?
With respect to the timeline of a case, most tort cases, including car accident cases, end up being settled before trial. Out of 10 cases, 9 will be settled before trial. However, the truth is that some insurance companies are known to fight tooth and nail on every point, whereas others tend to be a bit more reasonable, when it comes to car accident cases. Therefore, which car insurance companies are involved will affect when a case is resolved.
For example, car insurance company X is known to reject all offers to settle and push all cases to trial. Therefore, an individual who gets into a car accident caused by another individual who is insured with this company can anticipate that their subsequent car accident lawsuit will go to trial.
Ultimately, the decision to proceed with a car accident lawsuit is a personal decision, one which should only be made after consulting with a car accident lawyer.
Related: Car Accidents in Delaware – Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Delaware Lawyer, Free Consultations in Car Accident Cases
If you would like to discuss your car, truck or pedestrian accident case, please call Martin Knepper at (302) 658-1717.
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