A common question is, “How long is my personal injury 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.
Contact our personal injury attorney california if you need a free case review . 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 Orinda, we represent injured victims throughout the Bay Area, including in San Jose, Fremont, Santa Monica, Stockton and Antioch.
Now that you have a better understanding of how long it will take to get through a personal injury case. Here’s what you need to do next:
When an accident happens, it’s a shock. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a life-altering event, it’s important to take a step back and think about what comes next. The good news is that you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. To make sure you get what you deserve, it’s important to understand what steps you need to take.
If you are injured in a slip-and-fall or any other type of accident, it is important to collect evidence. This evidence can help you build a stronger case and make it easier to get the compensation you deserve. Here are some things you can do to gather evidence:
- Call the police
- Take lots of pictures of the accident scene and any injuries you sustained
- Get copies of any relevant information, such as IDs, insurance cards, license plates, etc.
- Gather the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident
- Make notes of any other relevant information, such as weather conditions, traffic cameras, store conditions, construction zones, etc.
In addition to gathering evidence, it’s also important to seek medical treatment. If you are injured in a slip-and-fall at a business establishment, make sure to notify the store personnel and get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Ask for a copy of the incident report and take notes if you are not given one. If the cause of your fall was a dangerous substance or condition, take photos to help prove the defendant’s negligence.
When you are ready to file a personal injury claim, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the law and has a track record of success in these types of cases. Your lawyer can help you gather evidence, file the necessary legal paperwork, and negotiate with the other parties to reach a settlement that is fair for you. They can also represent you in court if necessary, and make sure your rights are protected throughout the entire process.
Your personal injury lawyer will also help you understand what compensation you may be entitled to receive. This may include things like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages that resulted from the accident. They will make sure your claim includes all the necessary evidence and that you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve.
The short version: how long will a personal injury case take after the incident, and what steps do you need to take?
- Get medical attention: After an accident, your first priority should always be seeking medical attention. This not only helps with your recovery, but also provides necessary documentation of your injuries. The medical records are crucial evidence in a personal injury case and can help determine the compensation you may receive for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
- Meet with a lawyer: Once you have received medical treatment, it is important to consult a personal injury lawyer. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. Our experienced attorneys at GJEL Accident Attorneys will listen to your story and provide a free consultation to evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.
- Investigate claims and records: Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim, gather evidence, and review your medical records to build a strong case on your behalf. We use this information to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement or to prepare for trial.
- File with insurance or demand settlement: Depending on the specifics of your case, our attorneys will either file an insurance claim or demand a settlement from the responsible parties. Our goal is to secure the maximum compensation possible for your losses and expenses.
- File lawsuit: If the insurance company or responsible parties refuse to offer a fair settlement, our lawyers may file a lawsuit on your behalf. This is the formal process of taking your case to court.
- Discovery: During this stage, both parties gather evidence and take depositions from witnesses. Our attorneys will use this opportunity to further build your case and strengthen our arguments for compensation.
- Mediation and arbitration: Depending on the specific details of your case, we may engage in mediation or arbitration in an attempt to reach a settlement before going to trial. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps both sides come to an agreement, while arbitration is a hearing where an arbitrator makes a binding decision.
- Go to trial: If a settlement cannot be reached through mediation or arbitration, your case will proceed to trial. Our skilled trial lawyers will represent you in court and argue your case in front of a judge and jury. Our goal is to secure the full amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.