Civil Case and Car Accident Filings are on the Rise

Cases involving car accidents and insurance companies are increasing every year. This image shows the supreme court.

Image courtesy of Claire Anderson @claireandy

  • Civil Case Filing Are On The Rise For The First Time In Seven Years: There were a total of 774,202 civil filings during the fiscal year 2017, which represents an increase of 64,158 filings from the fiscal year 2016 (the first one since fiscal year 2010) and breaks the prior seven year downward trend of filings (2018 CSR, Data for Figures 3-16, p. 93.)


  • Limited Civil Case Filings Are Primarily Responsible For The Rise In Civil Case Filings: Of the total civil filings in the fiscal year 2017, 210,028 (up by roughly 10,000 filings from 2016) were unlimited civil cases (recovery sought $25,000 or more), 400,599 (up by roughly 50,000 filings from 2016) were limited civil cases (recovery sought less than $25,000, except small claims matters), and 163,575 (up by roughly 5,000 filings) were small claims matters. (2018 CSR, Data for Figures 3-16, p. 93.)


  • The Number of Matters Disposed Of Before Trial Is On The Decline: 141,250 out of 210,028  (67%, which is down from 80% in 2017 CSR) unlimited civil cases were disposed of before trial; 38,980 37,237 (18%, which is slightly down from 20% in 2017 CSR) were disposed of after trial. While a higher percentage of limited civil cases were disposed of before trial than unlimited civil cases (316,806 out of 400,599 cases – 79%, which is down from 91% in 2017 CSR),  the percentage of limited civil cases disposed of before trial dropped by over 10% from the Judicial Council’s last report (2018 CSR, Figure 21, p.96; 2017 CSR, Figure 21, pp. 67, 97.)


  • The Number of Car Accident Filings Is On The Rise: 38,833 unlimited motor vehicle (Personal Injury/Property Damage/Wrongful Death) cases (“MVA Cases”) were filed in 2017, up from 35,103 in 2016) and 28,964 in 2010. (2018 CSR, Data for Figures 3-16, p. 94.)  See actual settlements here 


  • The Percentage of Car Accident Filings Disposed Of Before Trial Declined: Roughly seventy-nine percent (down by 10% from 2017 CSR) of MVA Cases filed were disposed of before trial. (2018 CSR, Table 5c, pp. 120-121.)


  • The Number Of Car Accident Filing Going To Trial Increased: Between one and two percent or 645 MVA Cases were reportedly disposed of after trial, of which 317 were tried to a jury and 328 to the court. (2018 CSR, Table 5c, pp.120-121.)


While the 2018 CSR continues to reinforce the notion that the overwhelming majority of automobile insurance claims are settled without resort to litigation given the relatively low number of total filings, the increase in civil and car accident filings suggests a new trend may be developing.

Source Court Statistics Report

No portion of the above is intended to constitute legal advice or serve as a substitute for getting competent legal advice.  Average Insurance Settlement is not a law firm or engaged in the practice of law in any jurisdiction.  

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