Being involved in a car accident can be stressful, painful, and traumatic. You may be wondering when things will get back to normal and you can get on with your life. If you’ve had to file a personal injury lawsuit as a result of the accident, resolving the matter is a huge part of that. Knowing the timeline that an injury lawsuit follows will be helpful in determining how much closer you are to putting it all behind you.
Most lawsuits for this type of injury can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the case and if it goes to court. In most cases, however, a settlement is reached at some point before a trial takes place.
The Process of Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Most car accident cases are settled outside of litigation. A disagreement regarding the extent of the injured person’s damages, however, or who was at fault for the crash can cause these cases to go all the way to trial.
While the process of taking a case to court will vary depending on several different factors, there is a rough timeline that is followed to give an idea of how long the process can take.
- An official complaint is filed by the plaintiff and the lawsuit is started.
- The defendant is served with a copy of the complaint. Timing will depend on how hard it is to locate the defendant, but it usually takes just a few weeks.
- The defendant responds to the complaint. This will vary depending on the court, but the defendant is usually required to respond within about a month.
- The discovery phase takes place where each side will look at the information from both the defendant and the plaintiff. This determines what can serve as evidence during the trial. While discovery usually takes just a couple of months to complete, it can stretch on for over a year in some cases.
- The trial goes to court. This type of trial usually spans the course of a day or two.
- If one of the parties disagrees with the final verdict of the trial, they have the option to file an appeal. There are several different levels of appeals and each level can cause several years to be added to the case. This can cause the case to stretch out far longer than you’d hoped for.
Generally speaking, most settlements occur after the discovery phase, but before the case goes to trial. This shortens the length of the process considerably. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, make sure to seek advice from an auto accident lawyer, like an auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN, in order to help you with these steps.