How long on average does car accident litigation take?

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Question:

How long on average does car accident litigation take?

Answer:

It’s really not possible to give you any kind of accurate estimate as to how long litigation of a car accident case might take once you file a lawsuit. Every case is different, and too many variables factor in.

There is a time limit related to car accident litigation, but it applies to getting the case started, not to getting it resolved. Under each state’s statute of limitations, a person who has been injured has a certain number of years after the car accident to go to court and file their lawsuit (by filing the initial complaint against the at-fault party). But once the lawsuit gets started, it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take to reach a resolution.

Remember, a car accident case can settle out of court at any time, not just before the lawsuit is filed, but also after your case is already in court. In fact, in many jurisdictions, as part of any civil court case the court will order all parties to participate in mandatory settlement conferences, and sometimes mediation or arbitration may be part of the process as well.

A lot depends on how badly the plaintiff was injured, the degree to which fault for the accident is being disputed, and how far apart the two sides are on other key issues. It’s pretty rare for a car accident lawsuit to make it all the way to trial. In most cases, a settlement will be reached after the lawsuit has been filed and the parties have had a chance to learn more about the case -- the strengths and weaknesses of both sides -- through pretrial discovery tools like interrogatories and depositions.

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