It's important to know if you should be filing a civil suit for a car accident because of the statute of limitations places deadlines on filing these types of cases.
While not very common, filing a civil suit for a car accident can be an extremely useful tool to have in your arsenal. The statute for limitations on accidents and personal injury cases varies from state to state. The window can be as small as one year to as long as 10 years. In California, the statute of limitations is 2 years, in New York, it's 3 years.
Typically, cases don't need to go to court because they can be resolved through filing insurance claims. You could either file an insurance claim under the injured party's coverage or against the at-fault driver's insurance provider. Some of the larger cases require some negotiations, but smaller cases can be settled quickly. If you present a strong demand package to the insurance company, claiming that the other driver caused the accident, the insurance company may settle with you and provide compensation.
Going through the insurance usually ends with settlements, but if the case is more complex and negotiations are stalling, filing a lawsuit may be just what you need.
To an insurance company, a lawsuit indicates that you are taking this car accident very seriously. If you find that negotiations for your car accident have stalled or neither side is willing to budge, filing a lawsuit may make the insurance carrier more motivated to try to reach a settlement. Insurance carriers usually want to avoid court cases where the results are less predictable. For this reason, this gives you more power and leverage to direct negotiations.
Additionally, not only does this give you more leverage, but if you do not like where the settlement is going, you can still decide to have your case heard by a jury in court. If you feel you have a strong case and enough evidence, showing an insurance carrier that you're confident in your case will most likely motivate them to try to settle before the court reaches a verdict.