How Long Will My Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Resolve?
If your personal injury claim does not yield a satisfactory settlement, you may have no choice but to file a formal lawsuit. While this will extend the duration of the proceedings, it may be the only way to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Since every suit is unique, there is no standard timeline for resolving these cases; however, most personal injury lawsuits are completed within one to three years.
What Happens During a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
After you file your complaint and the defendant answers—typically within 30 days—your case might proceed through each of the following stages:
- Discovery: During the discovery phase, both parties conduct their own investigations to obtain evidence that strengthens their respective cases. They may file subpoenas, depose witnesses, review video footage, consult relevant experts, and gather incident reports. It’s important to note, however, that the plaintiff and defendant must share their findings with each other. Depending on the kind of evidence that surfaces, the defendant may be inclined to settle during this stage.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: There are several forms of ADR that a case might go through, depending on the circumstances. They include mediation, arbitration, and voluntary or mandatory settlement conferences. The goal of ADR is to resolve any remaining disputes without having to go to trial.
- Trial: If ADR proves unsuccessful, the case will proceed to court. During the trial, the plaintiff and defendant will give opening statements, present evidence, question witnesses, and deliver closing arguments. The judge or jury will then make a ruling. If the verdict is in favor of the plaintiff, the court’s ruling will include the total amount of compensation the defendant must pay.
What Kinds of Factors Will Affect the Duration of My Lawsuit?
The complexity of your case will have a major impact on the duration of the legal proceedings. Whereas proving fault for a drunk driving accident may be fairly straightforward, disputes might arise in cases when liability is less clear. As a general rule, more complex cases demand longer discovery periods.
The court’s caseload will also influence the time it takes to resolve your lawsuit. If you happen to file your suit at a time when the jurisdiction is overloaded with cases, it’s going to be some time before you’re able to go before a judge.
Fortunately, filing a lawsuit doesn’t bar you from accepting a settlement at any point leading up to the issued verdict. If it appears that your case is going to take a while, the defendant may be inclined to settle just to avoid the hassle of dealing with an ongoing legal battle.
Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS to Discuss Your Case with a California Personal Injury Attorney
If you sustained serious injuries because someone failed to act with reasonable care, contact Harris Personal Injury Lawyers. We require no money upfront, nor do we charge a retainer to those who want to take advantage of our comprehensive legal services. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in California.