Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by John Robinson
If you have a personal injury and are deciding whether or not to proceed with a lawsuit, you might have questions about how a personal injury lawsuit timeline works.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to this question. Every case has its own set of unique factors that can influence the outcome and how long a claim takes. A lawsuit may seem like a daunting and lengthy process, but a personal injury lawyer can protect your rights and help you understand the timeline.
The duration of a personal injury lawsuit can differ greatly, contingent upon several elements such as the degree and type of harm caused by the incident, intricacy of the case, accessibility to evidence, among other considerations. Generally speaking though, there are five stages that make up most personal injury lawsuits.
The pre-filing investigation stage involves gathering evidence to support your claim before filing your suit with the court system.
You need to gather documentation related to your injuries, such as medical records, as well as any expenses incurred due to treatment or lost wages from missed work days due to your injuries.
Additionally, you will need to calculate pain and suffering or emotional distress caused by the accident. Don’t forget to factor in economic losses like medical bills or property damage costs associated with your accident.
Filing Your Suit
Once all relevant information is gathered, it is time to file suit against the defendants, who are responsible for causing harm through their negligent actions. Your attorney will advise if you will file your suit against the defendants directly or through their insurance company.
After being served notice about pending litigation, defendants have thirty days to respond accordingly.
During the discovery stage, both sides exchange relevant documents pertaining to the dispute while engaging in mediation in an attempt to reach an out-of-court resolution without having to go to trial with a jury.
Settlement and Negotiation Phase
The settlement/negotiation phase of a personal injury case is an important step in the process. It is during this time that both parties attempt to reach an agreement on the amount of compensation for damages and losses suffered by the injured party.
This can be done through direct negotiations between attorneys, or through mediation or arbitration.
In direct negotiations, each side will present their arguments and facts regarding why they believe they are entitled to certain amounts of money. The attorneys will then negotiate back and forth until a settlement figure is agreed upon.
Mediation involves bringing in a neutral third-party mediator who listens to both sides’ arguments before making suggestions about possible settlements that may work for all involved parties.
Arbitration is similar to mediation but instead of relying on a mediator’s opinion, an arbitrator makes binding decisions about which party should receive what amount of money as compensation for their injuries or losses incurred due to negligence from another person or entity.
When mediation and settlement negotiation don’t work, the final phase of a personal injury lawsuit is the trial.
During a trial, all parties summon relevant witnesses to vouch for them and explain why you (or the defendant) should receive compensation.
Ultimately, the judge makes a ruling based on the merits of each argument presented along with the laws governing the jurisdiction of the issue being litigated upon. The final decision is made part of record forever unless overturned by appeal at a higher court level sometime in the future date after the initial ruling has been handed down by lower tribunal.
Although many people try to settle their personal injury cases without the help of an attorney or outside of court, some lawsuits need to go to trial.
The timeline of a personal injury lawsuit may range from a few months to over a year. The length of each stage depends on specific factors related to your injury and the lawsuit.