How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take in California?
Jan 30, 2019 11:57
California residents entangled in personal injury lawsuit commonly wonder how long their case is going to take due to the sheer volume of cases. Statewide, there were over 35,000 motor vehicle related personal injury cases filed in 2016. So unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to this quandary. The duration of personal injury cases can vary greatly.
An experienced California personal injury lawyer will tell you that the timeframe for your claim is dependent of several factors. Some are in the control of the client. Some are in control of the lawyer. Others exist that are primarily in control of the insurance provider. Fortunately, we are still able to provide a high-level view of the standard timeline for a lawsuit involving personal injury.
The Typical Amount of Time Needed to Settle a Personal Injury Case in California
During the entirety of a personal injury claim, settlement negotiations are taking place. Negotiations of this type aren’t over until the case is finally settled. Occasionally, intense negotiations will start before the lawsuit is even filed. In other instances, the filing of a lawsuit is mandatory just to get the insurance provider to take the matter seriously.
After the lawsuit is filed by or on behalf of the injured party, the defendant is usually served within 1 or 2 months. They will have up to 45 days to file a response. Typically, an average of 90 will pass from the date you filed your claim to the time you receive a response from the insurance provider.
Then you would move on to the discovery process before trial. The bad news is that this process can take a significant amount of time. The good news is that there is another option to resolve the dispute.
To circumvent a trial, a number of claims for personal injury end up being resolved in mediation. The average mediation will occur approximately 9 to 18 months following your accident. The mediation itself only takes a couple of days (if that), but the time to it takes to find a knowledgeable mediator, schedule a meeting, and then have the meeting takes several months.
If mediation works, you may be looking at approximately 15 months from the day you file your claim to the day you conclude your session with the mediator.
If mediation does not work, then your claim goes to trial which is easily one year after your accident. In many cases, it’s closer to 2 years. The actual trial can last a few days or a few weeks depending on the circumstances of the case and who is involved.
Keep in mind that a trial is not the common outcome in a personal injury case.
In summary, you may reach a settlement shortly after your accident. But with injuries that are more serious or involve multiple people, the process will commonly take a few months. This is true for even the swiftest of cases. Your specific case may take 3 to 4 months or it could take 2 years.
Between 2013 and 2017, there were over 7,800,000 personal injuries that required a visit to the hospital. That is just for injuries that were a result of sports or recreational activities. An accomplished California personal injury lawyer can move your case along quickly. However, the truth is that, for some instances involving a serious injury, the insurance provider isn’t going to be very cooperative. They are in business to make a profit, not to disburse checks. Unless the insurance company is notified of a trial date or are about to face a jury, they will be less than compliant.
In the realm of personal injury law, clients are often faced with financial pressure as medical bills start to accumulate. Sometimes a resolution is swift, other times it is not.
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