If you or somebody you care about has been injured or sustained property damage in a vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you will likely be able to recover compensation for your losses. In some cases, this recovery will come through settlements with an insurance carrier, but it may be necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit with a Lexington car accident attorney against the at-fault driver. Here, we want to review a general timeline for vehicle accident lawsuits, but we want to provide some caution – no two cases are exactly alike, and the time frame for your particular situation may vary.
The first general step after most car accidents is filing an insurance claim. Kentucky is one of a few states that offer both no-fault insurance as well as full tort insurance. Most individuals have no-fault insurance, meaning they will turn to their insurance carrier to recover compensation after an accident. This usually means they can recover compensation for their medical bills and property damage relatively soon after the incident, regardless of who caused the incident.
If individuals have full tort insurance, then they will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, and the time frame for settling these types of claims could be anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year, depending on several variables. Some of these variables include whether liability for the incident is clear, the types of compensation being requested, how much compensation is being requested, and more.
Individuals can file a lawsuit against a negligent driver in a few different ways. Individuals who have no-fault insurance will have a harder time filing a lawsuit unless certain injury or dollar value thresholds are met, but it is certainly possible. Individuals who have full tort insurance can file a civil personal injury lawsuit against another driver at any time. If an individual needs to file a personal injury lawsuit, they must do so within two years from the date the accident occurs or two years from the date a person last received no-fault insurance payments.
The first step in a lawsuit is the discovery process, which is when attorneys for both sides will exchange evidence and information related to the case. An investigation may continue at this point, and it may be necessary to obtain depositions under oath from any individuals involved and witnesses who may be called at trial.
As the case moves forward through the discovery process, a judge may order mediation, which is when both sides will sit down with a neutral third-party mediator to try and resolve the case before a trial becomes necessary. Mediation does not typically happen in a courtroom. The results of the mediation if an agreement is not reached are private and cannot be used inside the courtroom. If a settlement is reached, the case is over, and there will be no need to go forth with a trial.
If a trial does become necessary, it may not happen until a year or more (often many years) after the accident occurs. The discovery process, mediation, and settlement negotiations can take quite some time. Once the trial does happen, it will usually occur relatively quickly, over a few days. A jury will determine whether or not the at-fault party should be held liable and how much compensation they should pay the car accident victim. Reach out to an injury lawyer in Lexington to learn more today!