How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take
If you have suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are likely facing physical and financial burdens. If you have filed a lawsuit to recover your damages for a personal injury, you may be anxious to resolve your case. Our Northern California personal injury attorneys at Curtis Legal Group want to make sure you are aware of how long a personal injury lawsuit could take.
Factors Influencing How Long Your Lawsuit Will Take
It is difficult to give a definitive answer regarding how long a personal injury lawsuit takes. This is because there are many factors that can influence the duration of a legal claim, and every case is unique. Factors that commonly influence how long a personal injury lawsuit can take include:
- The severity of your injuries: The more severe your injuries, the longer your case can take because these injuries often require more extensive medical treatment and evaluations.
- The number of parties involved: Your lawsuit can take more time to settle or otherwise resolve if there are multiple liable parties involved in the litigation.
- The complexity of the legal issues: Lawsuits that involve complex legal issues typically require more time to litigate.
- The amount of evidence: If there is a large volume of evidence, it will take many weeks or perhaps months for all sides to review it.
- The cooperation of the insurance companies: If an insurance adjuster is contesting liability or is not willing to settle for a fair resolution to your claim, this can significantly delay your lawsuit’s resolution.
- Disputed liability: A lawsuit will likely require more time if liability for your accident is being disputed.
- Your local court’s caseload: If your lawsuit was filed in a county court with a large number of cases, it can take longer.
- The availability of the parties: Lawsuits can be delayed if there are multiple parties involved, including the plaintiff and defendant (or multiple defendants), legal counsel, witnesses, experts, and judges who have competing schedules.
- Whether a settlement can be reached: If you can reach a fair resolution to your legal claim without having to go to trial, your lawsuit will take less time.
Our Northern California personal injury lawyers are committed to working diligently to get your case resolved as quickly as possible. However, it is important to know that there are many issues out of your control and ours that can affect how long your lawsuit takes.
The sooner you contact us for help, the faster we can get to work on your legal claim.
Stages of a California Personal Injury Lawsuit
The stages of most California personal injury lawsuits are similar. How long each of these phases lasts can affect how long your claim can take. Following are the general stages of a personal injury lawsuit:
Receiving Medical Treatment
You must provide evidence that you suffered injuries as a result of your personal injury accident. This evidence should be documented in your medical records, which is why obtaining treatment for your injuries is necessary. Further, you should have a complete understanding of the extent and implications of your injuries so you can make the best decisions possible for your own care and to help take care of your loved ones during this time.
After you retain a lawyer, they will investigate your accident to determine liability and collect the necessary evidence to prove your damages. This investigation usually involves taking photographs of the accident scene, collecting and reviewing medical records and bills, obtaining witness statements, reviewing lost wage information, and hiring legal experts to support your claim. The more complicated your accident is, the longer this investigation process will take.
Prior to filing a lawsuit, your personal injury attorney in Northern California will send a demand letter and negotiate with the liable party to attempt to reach a fair and reasonable resolution. These negotiations typically involve the responsible party’s insurance company.
It is important to recognize that the main goal of insurance adjusters is to pay out as little as possible for your injuries. Because of this, negotiations may take some time as your attorney pushes back to get a fair settlement offer for you.
If the insurance company does not meet your demands, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.
Filing a Lawsuit
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is typically two years, meaning you must file your lawsuit within two years of your accident date. After your lawsuit is filed, the defendant must be served with the complaint within 60 days and is given 30 days to answer it. Sometimes, the liable party will request an extension of time to answer, which can lengthen the time your lawsuit takes.
The discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit typically consists of several steps. These steps often include depositions, independent medical examinations, and expert witness reports. The discovery process can take longer as the number of witnesses and amount of evidence increase. Other delays can arise from scheduling difficulties.
Mediation is a type of alternate dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who attempts to help the parties reach a settlement. Pursuant to California law, a judge can order that the parties participate in mediation in personal injury claims with damages under $50,000. Lawsuits that are resolved in mediation are often shorter and less expensive than those that go to trial.
If your personal injury case cannot be settled out of court, your lawsuit will go to trial. The length of time this will take depends on several factors, including the number of witnesses, the amount of evidence, and the judge’s timeline. Your case will also be affected by the caseload of your court.
As you can see, there are many factors throughout the litigation process that can cause the length of your lawsuit to vary. At Curtis Legal Group, we will aggressively negotiate with the insurance adjusters to attempt to resolve your case quickly. However, if a resolution is not possible, our personal injury lawyers in Northern California will be prepared to try your case in court and present the evidence needed to establish liability and demonstrate your damages.
Options for Resolving Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
The way your case is resolved will affect your lawsuit timeline. For example, your claim will resolve more quickly if it is able to be settled before a lawsuit is filed. A lawsuit that is settled during mediation will be shorter than a case that is tried in court.
Possible Delays in Your Lawsuit
It is important to keep in mind that there is always a chance for potential delays in your lawsuit. Of course, we will do everything we can to keep your case moving swiftly, but some delays are out of our control. Common reasons your case may be delayed include:
- Lags in court scheduling
- Requests for extensions
- Changes in legal representation
- Witnesses becoming ill
- Waiting for judges to rule on motions
- Discovery of new evidence
- Availability of counsel and other parties
- Filing of an appeal
In short, the time your lawsuit will take depends on many factors and variables. It can be frustrating to wait and not know when your claim will be resolved. However, our personal injury team at Curtis Legal Group will keep you informed regarding every step of your case and will work tirelessly to reach a resolution that is favorable to you.
Retaining a Northern California Personal Injury Lawyer Could Help Your Lawsuit Move Faster
Retaining a lawyer to handle your case could help your personal injury lawsuit move faster because we will aggressively negotiate to reach a favorable resolution on your behalf. At Curtis Legal Group, our Northern California injury attorneys will work hard to reach a fair and quick resolution to your claim, and if we are unable to do so, we will be ready for trial.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you get compensation for the injuries you obtained in your personal injury accident.