When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit; the main question that comes to mind is “how long does a personal injury lawsuit take?” You will be wondering about this, especially when things are moving slowly and the medical bills are adding to your financial strain.
However, there is no single answer to this important question as a variety of factors plays a role in the time period required by your lawsuit. In this article, you can learn all about what you should do, how long each step takes, and the various factors that can affect the process.
How long does it take to settle or resolve a personal injury case?
Usually, it takes around 1 to 3 years to settle or get a verdict in personal injury cases. Every case is unique, and this is why it is impossible to determine how long your personal injury claim or lawsuit will take to get resolved. According to research, on average, the trials take around 26 months to get resolved after they are filed.
Moreover, a majority of the cases are solved before the trial, while only 3% of the cases are resolved by the jury and judge in the courtroom. Once you have hired an experienced lawyer, they will access the facts of your case and give you an estimate of the time period in which your case can reach a verdict or get settled. To schedule an appointment, go to Personal Injury Lawyer in Wadesboro, NC.
Some of the factors that affect the duration of the litigation include the following:
Every personal injury case is different and unique. Some of these cases are simple, while others are complex that may involve multiple parties, significant injuries, and damages, death, or the fault cannot be easily determined. For instance, a slip and fall case is much simpler than a medical malpractice case.
The severity and significance of the injuries suffered in an accident impact the length of the process. A minor injury case will require little time, while a severe and serious injury case where the injuries require hospitalization, extensive medical treatments, and result in a permanent disability will take up more time.
The type and extent of damage
The significance of the damages sustained in an accident also determines the duration of your case. A case that is worthless will normally be resolved more easily and quickly than a case that is worth millions or billions.
Whether you want to quickly get your case solved or wait for more money, in which case the process will take longer, is up to you and your level of patience.
The workload in the court
When you file a lawsuit, the rest of the process depends upon the court. They will set the dates and times. This can change even at the last moment if they want to.
So before you start the process, it is important to know the steps of the litigation process and the various factors that can contribute to speeding up your process.
1) Hire an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer
You may think that you can file a claim and pursue a personal injury lawsuit on your own, but you are wrong. Since you don’t know your way around the field and all the technicalities of law, you will have trouble filing a claim and may even end up wasting a lot of time and effort. The general rule of when to hire a lawyer is that you should hire a lawyer when you have sustained severe and serious injuries and received significant property damages.
Most lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you will not have to pay a fee until they either get your case settled or resolved in court. So there is no downside to consulting with a lawyer. One thing you should remember is that the first lawyer you meet might not be the one for you.
Moreover, lawyers are busy in their profession, so you will need a few weeks before meeting with a lawyer you booked an appointment with. So it is best to start the process of finding a good personal injury lawyer as soon as you can.
2) The start of the case
Your personal injury lawsuit can only start once your file a complaint in court and pay the filing fee, and also send the copy of the complaint and summon to the defendant. The complaint is a document in which you will state the facts of your case, the liabilities of the party at fault, and the compensation you demand.
At the same time, the summons is a document that informs the defendant that they are being held accountable for their fault. Usually, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is around 1 to 3 years.
So, according to the laws of the state, your lawyer will determine the time period in which you can file for a claim. Then they will draft a complaint. This process of drafting a complaint and filing the claim takes from 1 week to 1 year. The factors that affect this process include:
· How complex is the case? Are there more than one defendant?
· Is your lawyer taking a decision to negotiate before filing a claim?
· Does your lawyer have difficulty in serving the defendants? Are they unable to locate?
3) Exchange of information
Before the trial process, information is exchanged between the parties involved in the lawsuit, including the:
Moreover, during this time, both the parties are allowed to ask questions from each other and interview the witnesses. This occurs in the presence of a court representative who writes up the testimonies of all the parties. This process begins after the filing of a complaint. It takes around a month to complete and the trials to start.
4) Pre-trail motions
The lawyers of both parties will file a few pre-trial motions. This commences right after the complaint is filed and continues right before the trial starts. These motions ask the court to take into account some specific issues. These pre-trial motions are very important as some of the impact the case than others.
For instance, a motion to dismiss the case will take more time than a motion that asks for the opposite party lawyer to give specific evidence.
5) Negotiations for settlement
Most of the personal injury cases are solved and settled before they go to trial. Soon after the exchange of information takes place and evidence is gathered, and paperwork is done, your lawyer will start the negotiations with the other party.
Settlements can either be just an informal conversation between the two lawyers or a very formal meeting that require mediation. Not all personal injury cases get settled right away; they take some time, especially when the party at fault is trying to put all the blame on you or try to get their way out by paying you as little as possible. Some settlements also occur just a day before the trial because not everyone likes to go to trial and waste their money and time.
6) Go to trial
if your personal injury case does not settle, then you will go to trial that will take around 1 day to a week to reach a verdict. In the trial, the judge and jury analyze the arguments and evidence and then gives a verdict on whether the defendant is liable for your damages or not. The trial has six phases, these consist of
Deciding on the jury
Opening statements by the lawyers
Evidence and witness testimonies
Closing arguments by the lawyers
Jury instructions and deliberation
The judge or the jury determines whether the defendant is at fault for the injuries and damage you sustained and then decides the compensation that they are required to pay you.
If you or the other party disagrees with the verdict reached at the end of the trial, then you are given the right to appeal. This appeal needs to be filed within a month after the trial’s verdict. If your appeal is accepted, then a new trial takes place.
8) Receive compensation
If you are successful and the verdict is in your favor, then you will receive the compensation you deserve. The compensation may either be given in a lump sum at one time or in installments over a period of time.
The bottom line
Every case of personal injury is different, and so is the time required by it to get resolved. Some cases are simple, while others are complex, so they will require more time. The extent and type of damages and the severity of injuries sustained in the accident also determine the length of the process and the time needed to reach a verdict or a settlement.
Moreover, most cases are resolved through negotiations and usually take less time, but sometimes the other party is unwilling to negotiate or agree to the terms you set forth, or they are unwilling to compensate you rightfully, then the case proceeds to a court trial which takes longer.
But if you have an experienced and skilled lawyer by your side, then you do not have to worry about the paperwork and the negotiations. They will speed up the negotiations and get you the compensation you deserve. But if negotiation is not likely, then they will fight on your behalf in the court and try to get the verdict of the judge and jury in your favor. In this way, you will quickly get the compensation you truly deserve for your personal injuries.