When you are involved in an accident – be it a car wreck, a truck accident, or even a slip and fall – you may be wondering if you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Just as importantly, many of our clients ask, “How long will a lawsuit take?”
We understand that your time is valuable. We know that when you are facing unexpected financial decisions, you want things settled quickly. The truth is, no one can predict how long your case will take because there are so many unique factors to your accident. Settling your case can typically take months when there is a dispute with the claim. Taking your case to trial can take a year or more before you finally receive a verdict.
If you have been injured in any type of accident, contact our office to learn about your legal rights and to know what to expect once you start pursuing compensation. Our San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyers can describe the general timeline your case may follow as well as what factors could impact its projected length.
Call us at 805-678-0272 or contact us online to discover more during a free, no-obligation case review.
The following factors will influence what steps your personal injury case will take and how each may affect the ultimate timeframe it takes for your case to be resolved.
The Insurance Company Is Your First Step
Under California law, you have 15 days to file a claim with an insurance company. That company then has 40 days to respond to the claim. This is typically the point that a personal injury attorney enters the picture if one wasn’t hired immediately. A victim may feel like the insurance company isn’t being fair or is simply giving them the runaround.
We work with insurance companies daily and have seen both the good and the bad. Some insurance companies offer fair settlements right away, but the fact is that most don’t. Keep in mind that insurance companies are big business – they are ultimately out to protect their bottom line.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once a victim decides they need legal help, they contact our office. We are experts in representing people who have been injured in California accidents. This is also where we can better estimate how long your case may take, although a given timeframe is never certain.
When you choose to hire our firm, we will begin the initial process. We will alert the other party that we will be filing a claim and begin investigating. If your case has gone beyond an insurance claim into litigation (a lawsuit), then the discovery phase will begin.
Working Through the Discovery Process
The discovery process can take six months or more. During this process, we will conduct our own investigation into your accident. We gather evidence and produce the necessary documents. We will investigate any disputes and exchange all necessary information with the opposing party.
At this point, we will attempt to settle with the insurance company if it is your desire we do so. It’s possible that your case could go to mediation, negotiation, or arbitration. We will walk you through this process and keep you informed every step of the way. We will work as partners to determine if a settlement is in your best interest or if we should take your case to a judge.
Taking Your Case to Trial
If we determine that we need to take your case to trial, we will file all the appropriate motions, secure witnesses, and make arguments. We will fight for your rights in front of a judge or jury. In some cases, we may reach a settlement once a trial date is set but before it begins. Again, how we proceed is ultimately up to you.
Should your case go to trial, you can generally expect a verdict within one to two years of us having filed suit. Your opponent has the right to file an appeal, which can delay the process of you receiving damages. If the verdict is not appealed, you can expect collections to commence.
The Timing Of Your Case Depends On Certain Factors
While most personal injury cases follow a timeline, there are specific factors that can determine how long it takes for you to begin collecting damages. These things include:
- The complexity of the case
- The amount of damages
- The severity of injuries
- The caseload in your local court system
- The other party’s willingness to settle
How A San Luis Obispo Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
You have every right to file a lawsuit on your own. You can even try to settle with an insurance company if you wish. However, you don’t have the knowledge or experience necessary to fight professionals. They know every trick in the book and they don’t fight fair. When you have experienced legal representation, you stand a far better chance of winning your case and obtaining the maximum damages available. We will fight for every cent that you deserve. Call the San Luis Obispo personal injury attorneys at Ernst Law Group today at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to discuss the details of your case and learn more about your legal options. We are here for you.