When people consider filing an accident or injury case, they wonder how long it will take for their case to be resolved. The short answer? On average, it takes one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years. However, this estimate can vary widely depending on the circumstances: some cases take a year, others take five.
Much of this wide variation has to do with the process of litigation. For one, the severity of your injuries can affect how long it takes to obtain the documents necessary for your case. Another key factor is the willingness (or unwillingness) of the wrongdoer or insurance company to settle. If your case makes it to court, then the caseload of the court system at the time you file your lawsuit can also affect the length of your case.
Here is a further look into the stages of a personal injury case to better understand why some cases last longer than others.
Investigation of the Facts
After you have hired your team, the legal discovery process, or investigation of the facts of the case, begins. This phase usually takes from 6 months to 2 years.
The investigation will involve gathering and producing documents such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, corporate records, insurance records, and taking depositions. Your attorney may hire experts to perform accident reconstruction, accident site inspections, provide medical opinions, and create medical and life care plans.
The duration of this process will vary depending on how disputed the damages and liability are, and the willingness of both sides to produce the information requested. Sometimes the attorneys for the wrongdoer or insurance company refuse to provide the information, so your attorney will have to go to court to fight for the documents and the production of witnesses for deposition, which causes the process to take longer.
Demand Letters and Settlement
Throughout the investigation process, your attorney will be attempting settlement through negotiation, demand letters, mediation, or arbitration. Some cases will go to mediation several times and then settle. Whether or not to settle the case for the offered amount is your decision.
Trial, Verdict, and Collection
If the parties are unable to settle the case, it will go before a jury. If your case is successful, the jury will enter a verdict that sets the dollar amount that the wrongdoer must pay. This is a judgment owed by the wrongdoer to you.
The wrongdoer might appeal the verdict, which could cause the case to take several more years depending on the schedule of the courts and whether or not a new trial is ordered. If the wrongdoer does not appeal the verdict, collection of the judgment can begin, and your case will be resolved.
Call PARRIS Personal Injury Lawyers
As you can see, there is a lot to the legal process. Understand that your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the value of your case, which can take time. If you have any questions about where you are in the process, call us and ask! You always deserve to know where in the legal process your case is, every step of the way.
Call PARRIS at 661-485-2072 for answers to your questions or to start your free case consultation today. Don’t worry – you pay no fees until we win.