A common question is, “How long is my case going to take?” And, another common question asked in conjunction with that: “Is my case going to take longer if I hire a lawyer?” Ultimately, there is no way to provide truly concrete, reliable answers to these questions. The length of a personal injury case can vary considerably.
Indeed, the timeline of your claim will depend on many different factors, some of which are within the control of you and your lawyer, and others that are largely within the control of the insurance company. That being said, our team can still give you some general perspective on the typical timeline for a personal injury lawsuit.
The Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case
- Settlement negotiations: Settlement negotiations can occur continuously throughout the entire personal injury claims process. These negotiations are never truly ‘over’ until your case is settled. Sometimes, intensive settlement negotiations will begin before a lawsuit is ever actually filed. In other cases, a lawsuit will need to be filed to get the insurance company to start taking your claim seriously.
- Filing a Lawsuit: Once a lawsuit is filed, the defendant will typically be served within 30 to 60 days, and will have 30-45 days to file a response. In other words, it takes an average of three months from the date you file your personal injury lawsuit to get the initial response from the insurer. Then the pre-trial discovery process begins, which can be lengthy.
- Alternative dispute resolution: To avoid trial, many personal injury claims will end up going to mediation. On average, mediation will take place between 9 months and 18 months after your accident. Though, the mediation process itself will usually take one or two days.
- The trial: If your claim does go to trial, the trial will usually occur more than one year after the crash. In some cases, it is closer to two years. The trial itself will usually last between a couple of days and a couple of weeks. It’s important to note that a trial is not a common outcome.
To sum it all up, this means that in some cases, settlement could occur very shortly after an accident. Though, with serious injuries, it still usually takes multiple months, even in the fastest cases. The timeline in your specific case could vary considerably; it could take a year or it could take 4 months, some cases may even take as much as two years.
We Calibrate Our Services to Suit Your Needs
We are very capable of moving a case very quickly, however there are some instances–if we are talking about a severe injury–where the insurance company is not going to be fair with the injured person unless they are looking at a trial date and a jury and are starting to think, “Boy, this isn’t up to us (the insurance company) anymore. If we don’t resolve this in the next week or two it’s going to be up to a California jury.” Though, I do find, because we are very selective in the cases we take, that we can make our cases go much more quickly for our clients than most other law firms. We push them hard, we know clients are hurting for money, we know they want resolution.
When we are determining the appropriate legal strategy for a case, we always take into account the unique circumstances facing our clients. In some cases, we work to push aggressively against the insurance company to get a quicker resolution that our client desperately desires. Yet, we also know that in many situations, it pays to remain patient and to let the claim work its way through the legal process.
You Can Get Answers Today
While it is not entirely satisfying, the bottom line is that there is no one definitive answer for how long a case will take. The reality is that it is different for every case. The good news it that you can still get some answers regarding your claim today. I always encourage people just to call and talk to me or any of the lawyers here and we can let you know how long your case will take – something we can usually tell you right from the beginning.
If you were injured in California, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys can help. At GJEL Accident Attorneys, we offer free, no-pressure case evaluations to all injured victims. To request yours, please call us today at 1-855-508-9565. From our main office in Orina, we represent injured victims throughout the Bay Area, including in San Jose, Fremont, Santa Monica, Stockton and Antioch.