A successful car accident case often involves several ingredients, including strong factual evidence that your opponent was at fault, a clear legal basis for liability, proof of the substantial damages that you have suffered, and diligent legal representation from a Pennsylvania car accident attorney who aggressively pursues a recovery for you. This diligence and aggressiveness are important because, if a case sits with no activity for too long, the trial court may be allowed to throw the lawsuit out entirely, even if you have a strong case.
An example of the harmful effects of case inactivity was the injury lawsuit filed by Dorothy in 2007. Dorothy and Stacy were involved in an auto accident in 2005. As a result of the accident, Dorothy suffered injuries, so she sued. Discovery went on for nearly two years. The court identified May 2009 as the final discovery deadline and October 2009 as a time-frame for trial. The case, however, never proceeded to trial.
In the fall of 2015, the trial court published a notice that demanded attendance at a Nov. 30 hearing, or else the court would dismiss Dorothy’s case for inactivity. The Nov. 30 hearing came and went, with none of Dorothy, Stacy, or the lawyers for either side attending. The trial court dismissed the case.
Some 11 months later, Dorothy filed a request with the court to get her case reinstated. In her request, Dorothy alleged that she’d had a multitude of problems. Her lack of health insurance had delayed her ability to undergo medical tests whose results she needed for trial, and her attorney’s poor health had also influenced the failure to bring the case to trial. The court, however, did not revive Dorothy’s case.
The Superior Court upheld the lower court’s decision. That court explained that the law gives trial courts discretion in conducting “administrative purges,” meaning dismissing cases on technical grounds like inactivity. Although the Superior Court admitted that it “sympathized with” Dorothy’s plight, the process by which the lower court went about giving notice of the impending dismissal for inactivity was technically sufficient under the law. The law also doesn’t require trial courts to hold evidentiary hearings before they make decisions to throw out cases on grounds like inactivity.
In the end, it didn’t matter how factually strong Dorothy’s case was. She could have had a case that clearly indicated that Stacy was negligent and that the accident had caused Dorothy to suffer substantial harm. The case, as the court pointed out, languished for almost seven years. Without bringing the case to trial, she had no chance to recover compensation.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an auto accident, there are several things you need to do. The first thing is to act promptly and seek out legal counsel who can help you pursue your case. Additionally, you need to make sure that you select counsel who is skilled and experienced and has the resources to pursue your claim aggressively, come what may. The knowledgeable Pennsylvania auto accident attorneys at Needle Law Firm have been providing knowledgeable representation and personalized attention to our clients for many years and are here to discuss with you how we can help.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (570) 344-1266.
More blog posts:
Pennsylvania Residents Suffering Car Accident Knee Injuries Have a Legal Right to Compensation, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Oct. 2, 2017
What Are My Rights After Suffering Injuries in an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver in Pennsylvania?, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, May 23, 2017