How Long Does a Car Accident Trial Last?
The trial for a car accident lawsuit generally lasts a day or two, though some trials may require several more days to complete. If you were injured in a car accident and file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver or other negligent party for compensation to cover medical bills, property damage, and other losses, your claim will most likely resolve in a settlement without the case ever going to trial. If the at-fault party is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement, however, the case may go to trial. Car accident lawsuits may not reach the trial stage until months or even over a year after the initial claim is filed.
The New York and New Jersey car accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman can explain what to expect when you file a lawsuit and give you clear, realistic expectations for how long the process will take. Our goal is always to procure the largest available damages amount for our clients in the most efficient and expeditious manner possible. While the great majority of car crash cases resolve with a settlement, we have the experience and skills to take your case to trial if necessary to ensure you receive the full and fair settlement you deserve.
What Happens Before a Car Accident Lawsuit is Tried?
After you file your lawsuit, the defendant (the party who is alleged to be negligent) in your case will file a written response to your claims. The parties can then file motions to dismiss some or all of each other’s claims or proceed directly into discovery, where the parties exchange information about their theories of liability and damages. At any time in this process, either party can offer to settle the case.
If the case does not settle, the court will set a date for the trial to begin. That date is typically several months or more after the initial filing date of the lawsuit. Judges have substantial leeway to schedule trials as they see fit in accordance with the volume of cases that are in their courts. When a court docket is unusually busy, the judge might not schedule a trial until well after the accident or lawsuit filing dates.
How Long Will the Car Accident Trial Last?
A jury trial will last a day or two longer than a bench trial, where only the judge evaluates the facts of the case. The parties will generally agree on the issues that will be addressed at trial, and the testimony from eyewitnesses and experts and other evidence presented will focus on those issues. Most car accident cases revolve around one or both of two matters:
- The relative liability of the parties — Each party will present evidence on how the accident happened and who bears primary responsibility for losses and injuries
- The injured party’s damages – The party that filed the lawsuit will present evidence of hospital invoices and doctor bills, lost wages and diminished earnings opportunities, accident-related expenses, and pain and suffering associated with injuries.
When Will Damages Be Paid If You Win?
Car accident damages are often paid by the liable party’s insurance company. If a judge or jury rules against a defendant and awards damages to the plaintiff, the insurance payment for those damages will probably be paid out within two to six weeks after the lawsuit ends. The same is true if the case settles prior to trial, with damages being paid two to six weeks after the settlement agreement between the parties is signed.
Damages payments will be delayed if either party appeals the verdict in the lawsuit. Keep in mind that several months might elapse between the filing date of your lawsuit and the date on which damages are agreed upon or awarded.
You can improve your chances of receiving a timely compensation payout by reaching out to an experienced lawyer to handle your matter as soon as is possible after your accident.
Call the Car Accident Lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, & Graifman
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman represents injured car accident victims in Rockland County, Bergen County, and elsewhere in New York and New Jersey. Please use the online form or call us to consult with a seasoned car accident lawyer at our firm as soon as possible after your car accident. Many factors affect how quickly a case will be resolved, whether the case will go to trial, and how long a trial will last. We understand how important this information is for our clients and we pledge to maintain open lines of communication with you through every step of the process. Call us today to get started with a free, no-obligation case review.