One of the most common concerns for people hurt in serious accidents is how long and expensive the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit might be. No one wants to spend any more time inside a courtroom than they have to, and the thought of spending months in court for a car accident can steer many people away from enforcing their right to demand civil compensation.
Fortunately, the answer to the question, “Do I have to go to court for my personal injury case?” is almost always “no.” As the experienced lawyers at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers can explain, it’s actually rare for personal injury claims in Pennsylvania to proceed all the way to court.
Settling a Personal Injury Case Outside of Court
The most common outcome for a successful personal injury case is a settlement. This is typically a private agreement for the defendant (usually via their insurance company) to pay the injured plaintiff a certain amount of money in exchange for agreeing not to sue them. People involved in a personal injury case can negotiate and agree to a settlement at any point before a civil court issues a verdict on the case, including while the case is already being heard in court.
Despite the choice of words, accepting a “settlement” does not always mean “settling” for less money than you could get through a judge’s verdict. In fact, settlements are often the more financially sensible option for personal injury victims, given how expensive lawsuits can be and the possibility that a civil court judge or jury might not side with the plaintiff when all available evidence is presented.
Why Might a Personal Injury Claim End Up in Court?
However, it’s not always possible for personal injury claims to be settled out of court. While insurance companies are often willing to negotiate a fair settlement if you have help from a seasoned personal injury attorney, some insurance companies or defendants might not be so willing to resolve things in private.
There are different rules for settling cases where the defendant is a government worker or agency. It can also be difficult to settle a case where it’s not immediately clear who’s to blame for the injury, or if there’s evidence that the injured person filing the claim might bear some or most of the fault for the harm they’ve experienced.
Important Time Limits on Personal Injury Cases
If you want to avoid a trip to court for your personal injury case, it’s important for you to know the deadline that state law sets on cases like this. Under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5524, most personal injury victims can’t file a lawsuit more than two years after they first got hurt, regardless of how much evidence they have proving someone else is at fault for the injury.
This means that if you wait too long to start negotiating for a settlement, you might find yourself up against a deadline to file a lawsuit to give yourself any chance of getting the payments you deserve. Contacting a seasoned lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers quickly after being injured by someone else’s negligence can be vital to a positive case resolution, whether it’s in or out of court.