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How Often Do Car Accident Claims Go to Court in Pennsylvania?

Posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

Nationally, few car-wreck claims ever go to court. In Pennsylvania, there are two particular reasons why most auto-accident disputes never see the inside of a courtroom.

First, Pennsylvania’s auto-insurance rules often result in car accident claims being resolved exclusively by and through insurance companies. Second, injured parties only have two years from the date of the wreck to file an injury lawsuit under the State’s short statute of limitations period. A car accident attorney could help you get the compensation you deserve, even out of the courtroom.

How Auto-Insurance Rules Affect Car Accident Claims

75 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 1705 specifies two insurance options for Pennsylvania drivers: limited tort and full tort.

The limited tort option restricts your ability to sue at-fault drivers in court to recover monetarily for car accident injuries. Basically, you must turn to your insurance company to be reimbursed for many accident-related harms.

Limited tort does give you and household members covered by the policy the right to file suit in court against an at-fault driver for all medical and other out-of-pocket expenses stemming from the accident. Those who suffer serious injuries are also permitted to litigate. Limited tort prohibits claims made in court for pain and suffering and other nonmonetary damages, absent a limited tort policy containing supplemental exceptions.

Full tort insurance is more expensive, but it offers an unrestricted right to pursue compensation for harms caused by other drivers in a court of law. With full tort, you do not have the conditions attached to a limited tort policy. However, purchasing a full tort option does not mean your insurance company will reimburse you for your injuries.

Regardless of coverage, drivers often find that working with their respective insurance companies is less expensive and more efficient than going to court.

How the Statute of Limitations Affects Filing Car Accident Claims in Court

Many car accident matters never make it to court due to the two-year statute of limitations found in 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524. You must file a formal complaint within two years of the accident. Statutes of limitation are procedural rules that are indifferent to the validity of your personal injury claim.

You may forfeit your right to bring a well-founded lawsuit for damages arising out of a car accident unless you are aware of the two-year cut-off, which begins as soon as the collision occurs, not when injuries are realized, according to 55 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5502(a).

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Decide Whether You Can and Should Bring Your Car Accident Claim to Court

Although most car crash disputes are settled without a judge and jury, your case could involve peculiar facts or legal issues that make filing a lawsuit appropriate.

Our lawyers could explain the options available for resolving your car accident claim, inside or outside of the courtroom. Call now to learn more.