In most cases, your personal injury case will settle without the need for a trial. You may have filed a claim directly with the insurance company or settled the case at some point in the litigation process.
In the rare event that you need to file a lawsuit and take it to trial, you should have an understanding of the timeframes because the legal process does not unfold quickly. Contact Aramjoo Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers to learn more.
Factors that Impact How Long Your Case Takes
An attorney will never give you a direct answer about how long your personal injury lawsuit may take. They can give you a broad time frame of one to two years and explain the factors that can affect timing. These factors include:
- The court’s existing docket and the judge’s individual schedule
- The complexity of your case
- The efforts the defendant makes to fight the case or dispute liability
How Your Court Case Begins
Before you file a lawsuit, your attorney needs to take time to investigate the facts of your case thoroughly. They will draft a complaint that will begin the lawsuit process when it is filed and served on the other party. The complaint will need to be well-researched and strong enough to get you through to the later stages of the case.
The defendant usually has 30 days to file their answer to your complaint. Then, the defendant will add more time to the lawsuit process when they file inevitable motions to dismiss the case. You will get your chance to oppose the motion. Then, the judge will rule on whether the case can go forward.
Discovery Takes the Longest Amount of Time
Assuming the judge does not dismiss your case, it will proceed to the next (and most involved) part of the lawsuit. Discovery is where the nuts and bolts of your lawsuit happen. The plaintiff and the defendant have the right to seek to obtain evidence in the other’s possession.
This evidence can come in the form of documents and records or answers to questions you may ask. Both you and other potential witnesses may sit for a deposition, where you are required to answer questions from the other side under oath.
The discovery process alone can take many months. A judge will usually allow a certain amount of time for discovery, knowing that it will take each party time to respond to requests for information and schedule depositions. The judge will usually be asked to rule on discovery disputes that arise between the two parties.
The defendant often fights as hard as they can to keep information out of your hands that can be valuable to your case.
What Happens After Discovery Is Over
At the conclusion of discovery, each party assesses the strength of their case. At this point, two things might happen:
- Settlement discussions can intensify, especially when the defendant realizes the strength of the case that the plaintiff has assembled and the risks of going to trial.
- Each party may file a motion for summary judgment with the court, asking the judge to reach a conclusion of law assuming that facts are undisputed.
The judge has set a trial date by this point, allotting a certain amount of time for each party to present their case. Usually hearing the case takes the least amount of time. You may get as little as a day or two to make your case after the entire lead-up to the trial.
The Trial Itself Does Not Take Long
Even if you win your case, it may not be the end. In many instances, the defendant will appeal a verdict against them to the trial judge (who may reduce the verdict) or to an appeals court. Such a motion can add another year to your case if the defendant fully pursues all avenues of appeal.
You should exercise patience and let your attorney fight for you throughout the court process. It is understandably difficult to remain calm in the face of the stress of the trial, but that is what is necessary to maximize your financial compensation.
Eventually, you may get to a point where the defendant blinks and ends up moving closer to your position in settlement negotiations. They do not want to end up in front of a jury, given the risks of a potential hostile jury.
You should hire an experienced attorney for a personal injury case. Your lawyer can help you determine whether to pursue the claims process or file a lawsuit, explaining your most effective legal options to obtain financial compensation. In most cases, it makes sense to fully explore the possibility of a settlement, assuming the insurance company is acting reasonably.
Contact a Liberty, Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer
The attorneys at Aramjoo Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, do not back down from a fight with the insurance company, taking your case to trial when it is necessary to get the money that you legally deserve. We offer free consultations to clients and do not charge you anything unless you win your case.
Personal Injury Case FAQs
How do I win a personal injury case?
To receive financial compensation, you must prove that someone else was negligent and responsible for your injuries.
What if I do not want to accept the settlement offered?
You do not have to accept a settlement that does not fully compensate you for your injuries. You can proceed all the way to trial and let the jury decide whether you deserve compensation and how much.
Can I file a lawsuit against a company?
Absolutely. If the person who injured you was employed at the time of the accident, or the company itself did something to injure you, a business may potentially be liable.