If you’ve sustained a serious or life-changing injury and you believe there is a case for a personal injury claim, you are likely wondering how long the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit takes. Let’s walk through the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit — including how long it takes to go through each stage of a personal injury lawsuit and how long it takes to get a settlement check when you win your claim.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
Generally speaking, it can take as long as one or two years for a personal injury lawsuit to make it to trial. However, the exact length of time will vary based on how quickly you get through each of the major steps that occur throughout the process of a personal injury lawsuit:
Medical Treatment & Doctor Evaluation
When filing a claim for personal injury, the first step is to see a doctor for treatment — this stage is also important because you need a medical professional to evaluate and document the extent of your injuries for use in court. If you don’t receive treatment from a doctor relatively soon after the injury, you will have a tough time convincing a jury that you are hurt.
Once you have chosen a lawyer to help guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim, they will want to consult with you about your current condition and the circumstances of the accident which led to your injury. Additionally, your lawyer will want to take a look at any medical records, hospital bills, etc. that are related to the accident so they can evaluate the extent of your damages and start to get a good estimate of your due compensation. In many cases, once you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) your lawyer will be able to negotiate a settlement without ever bringing the case to trial. It’s worth noting that it could take months to years to reach MMI, but it is advised to wait until this point because you don’t want your case to be undervalued.
If a settlement cannot be agreed upon outside of court, it’s time to file a lawsuit.
If you have yet to hire an attorney to help guide you through your situation, take a look at the video below on how to choose the right personal injury lawyer:
What Happens Once You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Once you file a lawsuit for personal injury, the clock officially begins ticking in regards to gauging when your case might get to trial. Check out part two of this article to find out how long the rest of this process takes!