July 8th, 2022
General Timeline for Your Personal Injury Case
An individual involved in a personal injury case might want to know how long the case will take. That is a valid inquiry. Someone may want to know the answer to that question for a variety of reasons, such as for planning purposes or simply because one wants to know when the matter could potentially be resolved. To be frank, providing a concrete answer to that question is often difficult. The duration of a case is dependent on a variety factors that are sometimes out of the parties’ control. With that said, there is a general timeline of events that will occur during the course of a personal injury case. Bear in mind that a case may settle at any time during this process for different reasons. This blog is aimed simply to give a broad idea of what to expect during a case.
After the incident giving rise to a claim first occurs, one will have sometime before he or she is required to file a lawsuit or forever be barred from doing so. That time limit is referred to the statute of limitations and is different depending on the type of case and the jurisdiction. Once a complaint is filed, the defendant(s) will have an allotted amount of time to answer the complaint. After the defendant files a responsive pleading, the case will likely start into the discovery phase of the litigation. Discovery often takes a number of months where the parties seek answers to pertinent questions and exchange requested documentation. Additionally, depositions will be conducted during this time period. Also, during this time, if the case requires it, expert disclosures and reports will be exchanged and expert depositions will be conducted as well.
Following discovery, summary judgment motions may be appropriate in the case. Summary judgment motions may be filed in an effort to resolve one or all claims pending in the case. This part of the case may take some time as there are deadlines to filing the motions, the responses, and replies. After the motions and briefs are submitted to the Court for consideration, the Court may deem it necessary for oral arguments on the motions. Following that, the Court may need additional time to consider the motions, briefs and oral arguments in coming to a decision.
Moreover, after the summary judgment phase of the case, if summary judgment motions were necessary, the case will move toward trial. Before the case goes to trial, there will likely be a Final Pre-Trial Conference and pre-trial filings that will be submitted. After all of the pre-trial issues are resolved, the case will proceed to trial. Depending on the type of case and trial, trial can take from one day up to a number of weeks. After trial, if necessary, a party will have an amount of time to appeal the verdict, and an appeal would necessitate additional time for your case.
As alluded to at the outset of this blog, the timeline of a claim is dependent on a variety of different factors, including, but not limited to, the type of case, the complexity of the issues, the parties, the jurisdiction, and the court. In addition to the aforementioned factors, unforeseen issues may arise (i.e. unavailability of key witnesses, COVID-19 etc.) which may delay the case. It is important that one is patient and knows that the attorney is attempting to move the case forward and resolve it for fair and reasonable value. Lastly, if one is wondering where one’s case stands or how much longer it will take, do not hesitate to contact the attorney as he or she will be more than happy to provide the information requested.