Awaiting the conclusion of your personal injury case can be a strenuous experience. You’ve already suffered through the harm inflicted upon you and the tedium of going back and forth to the hospital. Now, you’re expected to endure an uncertain timeline to see the resolution of your case. Though the conclusion of the litigation process is impossible to set a specific date for, there are several timeline factors to keep in mind for you to monitor so you know whether your case will proceed normally or be dragged out for some time. Below you’ll find information on how long you can expect your personal injury lawsuit to take.
How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Unfolds
There is a general timeline that most personal injury lawsuits must follow. Though you can monitor your case’s progress according to the milestones outlining this timeline, each step may vary in the amount of time that it takes to complete. For instance, one person’s case may reach the settlement phase before yours. Quicker progression through these stages does not necessarily reflect the success you’re having with your case; rather, all parties’ cooperativeness, the simplicity of the necessary evidence, and related elements do.
The typical personal injury lawsuit follows the general outline below:
- Treatment Phase: Victims are expected to undergo a range of treatment types during the initial stages of their recovery. These treatments can include all of the following:
- Emergency room treatment. This occurs on the date of the incident.
- Conservative treatment. This usually takes place between 1-15 months after the accident. It typically entails direct treatment of the injury in the form of standard, periodic visits to the physician or chiropractor.
- Aggressive treatment. Severe accidents may require surgery, which can take between 2-6 months.
- Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). In extreme cases, recovery can stretch on for several years after the accident. However, the general expectation is a range of 6-12 months following surgery (if applicable).
- Pre-suit: During this phase, your legal team will negotiate a settlement on your behalf. This may between 1-2 months.
- Lawsuit: Without a successful settlement negotiation phase, your case will proceed to the lawsuit stage. It can take anywhere from 1-3 years to set a trial date. This phase progresses as follows:
- Discovery: Your lawyer will present all evidence that they intend to use during the trial. This can take several months.
- Pre-trial: If nothing is resolved during Discovery, the defendant and plaintiff (you) can motion to dismiss the case or limit the evidence presented.
- Trial: Again, it can take between 1-3 years for a trial to be set. Most cases are resolved at this stage.
If your case cannot be resolved during any of these phases, it may progress to the Appeals phase if the defendant feels that the final decision was wrong. This can take between 1-2 years.
Have a Personal Injury Lawyer Assist You
Waiting through a personal injury lawsuit can be trying. Yet, with a lawyer, you can rest assured that the process will move along much more smoothly than it would in the absence of expert legal guidance. To ensure your case’s success and protect your peace after your accident, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.