Can You Sue for a Car Accident Again at a Later Date in Pennsylvania?
One option you have if you were injured in a car accident is to file an injury lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused the accident. If you can prove that your injuries and damages were the result of another’s negligence, you could be financially compensated through an insurance settlement or civil court judgment. However, do you only have one opportunity to file a lawsuit after a car accident? The answer is usually yes – you only get one bite at the apple.
Because you ordinarily only have one opportunity to file a lawsuit, you want to make sure you have our experienced Philadelphia car accident attorneys handling your case. Your health and financial wellbeing are too important.
The steps you take after a car accident are important, including determining who you are going to sue. While you do not want to hesitate when filing a claim, you want to ensure your case is strong enough to succeed in court or compel an insurance company to settle. The Reiff Law Firm has been handling complicated and challenging car accident cases for decades. Because you only have one shot at your lawsuit, you want to make sure it is your best one. Call our law offices at (215) 709-6940 to review your options. Our initial appointments are free of charge.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania After a Car Accident
When someone is hurt in a car accident, they could suffer severe injuries, face huge medical bills, and miss months of work. All of these “damages” are recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit. An injured person has the right to file a claim in civil court against the individual or entity that hurt them.
You are entitled to file multiple lawsuits arising from the same accident. For example, you might have a claim against a driver that rear-ended your vehicle and the manufacturer of your car’s airbag that failed to deploy. However, you are not permitted to file another lawsuit against the same defendant if you did not obtain the result you wanted. Our Pennsylvania car accident lawyers will ensure all possible liable parties are included.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawsuits Dismissed Without Prejudice
There are some situations when you are allowed to file a second lawsuit against the same defendant in a car accident case. However, these exceptions do not include accepting a settlement from an insurance company or having a jury decided against you.
A lawsuit could be dismissed without prejudice for various reasons. Without prejudice means the plaintiff is free to file another case against the same defendant based on the same car accident. Generally, a case will be dismissed without prejudice for procedural errors. For example, if you failed to serve the defendant at their proper address, the case could be dismissed without prejudice. When a case is dismissed without prejudice, the plaintiff has an opportunity to address the mistake and file another complaint. However, this does not extend the statute of limitations. A plaintiff must still comply with the two-year deadline.
If your case was dismissed without prejudice and you are looking to change legal representation, you should not wait too long. The clock will continue to run and valuable evidence could be lost. If you want our experienced Bucks County car accident lawyers to take over your case, we will need time to review your original case, including determining what errors were made and what evidence is available. If you miss the statute of limitations, your lawsuit will be dismissed with no opportunity to refile.
Car Accident Insurance Settlements and Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
It is not uncommon for a car accident case to settle before it reaches a jury. Sometimes, an injured party will accept an insurance settlement the morning of the day a jury was expected to render a decision.
It does not matter when a settlement agreement is reached – it always has the same effect. When an injured car accident victim accepts an insurance settlement, they will be required to sign a release that frees the defendant and the insurance company from any further liability. A release bars a plaintiff from filing a future lawsuit based on the same accident. This means that even if your condition grows worse or you develop further complications, you are not allowed to file another claim against the negligent driver.
There are some situations when you might be permitted to still file a lawsuit after accepting an insurance settlement for a car accident. One is if you could prove that the insurance company is guilty of fraud. However, proving an insurance company acted in bad faith is very difficult.
An insurance settlement only releases one particular defendant and insurance provider from future liability. You could file a lawsuit against another negligent defendant. For example, you could come to an agreement with the insurance company of the driver that rear-ended you while still pursuing a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the defective airbag. There are times when our Montgomery County car accident lawyers will settle with one defendant only to file a lawsuit against another.
Contact Our Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys to Discuss Your Options
It is often difficult to know what you should do after being injured in a car accident. The first step to knowing what your options are is contacting our experienced Allentown car accident lawyers. Whether through difficult negotiations with an insurance company or a challenging personal injury lawsuit, our office is committed to fighting for your maximum compensation. You only have one opportunity; you want to ensure you are doing everything necessary to be successful. Call the Reiff Firm at (215) 709-6940 to take the first steps towards the compensation you deserve.