When you are recovering from an accident and ready to start your lawsuit, one of the most common questions we get asked is, “how long will this take?” The answer is always, “it depends.” The timeline for each personal injury case is a little different and depends on many factors. The main factors involved are the other side, the court, and yourself.
This article will explain the typical timeline of a personal injury case—but remember that each case varies. Any step could go faster or slower than predicted, depending on the specific circumstances. An experienced attorney, like the attorneys at Dozier Law Firm, can review your case and give you a more case-specific timeline. To set up an appointment, call (888) 239-2129 today or contact us online.
In Georgia, as much as we wish there was a general timeline for every personal injury case, there is, unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all approach. Some lawsuits may be filed and settled within a few months, whereas other cases with the same issues may take upwards of a year or multiple years.
Much of the time is often spent waiting for the other party to respond or on a decision from the court. The court may also have a full docket, pushing your case further out. If your case is set to go before a jury, plan to take at least one year from the filing date to get it there.
What Makes It Take So Long?
A personal injury case can be like ordering a piece of furniture online and needing to assemble it yourself. You have instructions and a vague idea of what the end product is supposed to look like, but you have no idea if the pieces will fit together right or even if you have all the correct pieces, let alone how long it will take you. This is just like a personal injury lawsuit. You may think you know what will happen, and your attorney thinks they understand the case, but until you start putting the pieces together, you won’t know if you have all the correct pieces or if they will fit together as planned.
Once you are sure you have the proper pieces ready to be assembled, you can finally begin your lawsuit.
Before Filing The Case
Even before you start to put together the pieces of your lawsuit, you will need to make sure you seek the proper medical treatment. Not only will this ensure you are healthy and taken care of, but you will need the final cost of all incurred medical expenses to recover at least this amount in your lawsuit.
Next, once you talk to an attorney and you and the other party agree on the case, you may consider settling the case outside of court. This can be helpful because it drastically cuts down on the court time taken up, and you get your settlement faster. But your attorney will advise you if the settlement offer is adequate or if you could recover more by going to trial.
Filing The Case
Next, this is the step that can be the most time-consuming. Your attorney will now prepare and file the lawsuit, which begins with a legal document called a Complaint. The other party has 30 days to respond to the Complaint, and they can add even more claims, agree, or disagree with the contents of the Complaint.
Discovery And Pretrial
Next, after going back and forth and waiting for the other party to respond, your case will enter the discovery process. This is where each party can request specific documents, interviews, or even medical examinations from the opposing party. This part of the lawsuit typically gets extended because each party needs more time to gather all necessary information.
Final Negotiations Or Trial
Finally, each party will meet to discuss and try to come to a settlement without going to trial. This process is called negotiation. Often, a client can receive more compensation during a negotiation than if we took the case to trial depending on the offer, the jury, and the expenses put into preparing for the trial. If both sides cannot agree on a solution, the case will go before a judge or jury and decide who receives what and how much.
Potential For Appeal
Finally, just when you think your case is over, there is the opportunity for an appeal. Usually, either side can appeal if they are unhappy with the case’s outcome. Typically, this could take anywhere from six to eight months until the appeal is decided.
The attorneys at Dozier Law Firm can evaluate your case and help you determine a timeline for how long your case may take, depending on your specific situation. Call (888) 239-2129 today to schedule your appointment or contact us online.