How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
Just like each client, every personal injury case is unique. Some claims are resolved in a few months, while others can take over a year. While it isn’t possible to provide a definitive estimate on how long your specific case will last, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can describe the timeline most cases follow. Knowing the typical progression of a case allows you to understand what to expect from your lawsuit and have a sense of where you are in the legal process. If you have questions as your case moves through the steps, never hesitate to ask your lawyer for more information.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact our experienced legal team at Shariff Law Firm, PLLC: 713-244-8392.
What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Knowing the stages a personal injury lawsuit goes through is essential because it will help you understand how far you’ve come and what you should expect as time goes on. Each step takes time to complete, and your lawyer should give you updates as your case progresses.
The typical stages for a personal injury lawsuit include the following:
Hiring an Attorney and Starting the Case
You should exercise due diligence when selecting an attorney. Take advantage of a free consultation to learn about their experience with your type of case, potential legal strategies, and fee structures. Once you have retained an attorney, they can begin their investigation. Your lawyer will inform the other party and their insurer that you intend to file a claim. They will also ensure all required forms are completed and filed within the state’s deadlines.
Your attorney will gather information from witnesses, investigate the accident, and exchange documents with the defense. This process often is the longest part of the case and can take six months to over a year. Your lawyer may also need to wait to ensure your condition has stabilized to ensure that your settlement accurately covers all your medical expenses. Depending on the circumstances of your injuries, your lawyer may need to enlist the services of medical professionals or accident reconstructionists who can provide expert testimony to support your claims.
Attempting a Settlement
While a settlement can be reached at any point in the process, it is common for both sides to meet for negotiation, mediation, or arbitration to attempt to settle the case before the trial begins. It could take several meetings to work out the details of an agreement. However, the vast majority of cases conclude before a trial becomes necessary.
Going to Trial
If it is not possible to negotiate a fair settlement with the defendant, you will have the opportunity to present your case to the court. Lawsuits that go to trial can take much longer to conclude, sometimes up to two years.
But your lawyers may still be attempting to negotiate a settlement, even as a trial is pending or ongoing, which can decrease the length and expense of your case.
Receiving a Verdict
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury will hand down a verdict in the case. If either side objects to the ruling, they may file an appeal with the court.
Collecting the Settlement
If the verdict is in your favor, the next step is to collect damages from the defendant. Your legal expenses and court fees will be deducted from your settlement, and you will receive the remainder. You can choose to get paid in a lump sum, or your compensation can be stretched out into several payments.
What Issues Could Prolong the Legal Process?
Everyone hopes to reach a satisfactory conclusion to their case as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there may be unavoidable issues that can increase the length of your lawsuit. Common reasons why some cases may take longer to complete include:
- Encountering legal setbacks: Investigating and collecting evidence in complex cases can take more time and effort but may be necessary to ensure the best possible outcome.
- Waiting for maximum medical improvement: In cases involving catastrophic injuries, your legal team will likely avoid settling until you have completed all your medical treatments or have reached a stable point where doctors can give an official estimate of your future medical costs.
- Negotiating a large claim: As the value of your claim increases, so does the effort expended by the insurer to fight it. Securing a large settlement requires skillful negotiation and time.
When Should I Start Considering Legal Action?
Texas’s statute of limitations is one critical limiting factor when filing your personal injury case. It regulates when you can file a civil lawsuit after an incident. The statute of limitations can vary based on what type of personal injury you’ve experienced and the circumstances of the accident. In most cases, you must bring a suit against the negligent party within two years of the accident date. However, in some situations, you may have as little as a few months.
If you do not bring the lawsuit to court within the allowed time limits, it will likely be dismissed, and you will lose your opportunity for financial recovery. Remember that it also takes time to collect evidence and build a strong case, so promptly consulting a trusted lawyer can be vital to the success of your suit. It is always best to start the legal process as soon as possible to ensure you retain your right to seek compensation for your damages.
Why Consult Our Law Firm?
Picking the right attorneys is key to getting positive results from your personal injury lawsuit. We understand how challenging this situation is, and we will do everything in our power to help you reach your goals in your case. We have helped countless victims seek justice after being harmed by someone else’s recklessness. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call Shariff Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation at 713-881-9739.