How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022 at 2:24 pm
One of the first questions everyone asks their attorney is, “How long is this going to take?” At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we’ve been asked that question too many times to count. There is no easy answer because each case is different. How long it takes depends on you, the other side, and the court. Sometimes other factors are involved as well.
It Can Be Relatively Quick, or It Can Take a Long Time
Some cases can be resolved in three or four months. Some cases take two years or more. Because of that, there is no “average” amount of time for a case to be completed in Georgia. If your case must go to trial, you can expect it to take at least a year once the initial complaint has been filed. If the case involves multiple parties or unusual circumstances (such as a toxic tort case), it may take several years. There is no simple answer to the question. Contact us today for more help specific to your case.
What Are They Waiting For?
Putting together a personal injury case is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. At first, all you have is a jumble of irregular pieces. Slowly, they get put together until, suddenly, you have the big picture. Until all the pieces fit, there is no picture. Until all the parts are ready, there is no lawsuit.
- Before any lawsuit can begin, you must have received medical treatment for your injuries. Your doctor or doctors must also have determined you have recovered and no longer need any further treatment. When there is a final dollar amount to your treatment, and you are either well, or the doctor has declared you disabled, you and your attorney can decide what to do next. Your attorney may ask you if you wish to settle the case or proceed with a lawsuit. Based on the facts that you have provided, the attorney will give you their opinion of succeeding in a lawsuit and what they think about any settlement offers you may have received.
- If you and the other side agree about the facts in the case, the attorneys can discuss a settlement. If there is no doubt about who is at fault and who should pay for the accident, then the only issue is how much to pay. If there is disagreement about facts, or if you cannot come to an agreement on the settlement amount, the case will go to trial.
- The deadlines and response times in a legal case are what slow things down. Your attorney will file the lawsuit, called a “complaint,” against the other party. Once this has been sent to them, or “served,” they have a set period, up to 60 days, to answer the complaint. In this answer, sometimes called a “response,” they can agree, disagree, or make their own claim (“counterclaim”) that you were responsible for the accident.
- After this, the “discovery” process begins. During discovery, the parties are required to exchange information about the accident, the injuries, and any other losses or property damage. This process can take weeks or months because each party is allowed to ask for information and has a long time for their answer, usually 45 days from the receipt of the request. Parties often request additional time to collect information, which is usually granted. The discovery can include documents, interviews, depositions, and additional medical examinations.
- The parties’ attorneys will continue negotiations throughout this process to try to avoid going to trial, but if they cannot agree, eventually, the case will go to trial. At some point, a judge and jury will review all the evidence and make an impartial determination about who was at fault and what compensation should be awarded to the victim.
- In a civil case, either side has the right to appeal the verdict if they disagree with the outcome. If they believe there was a legal flaw in the way the case was handled or have some other grounds for appeal, the judgment can be put on hold while the case is reviewed by the appellate court. This can add another six or eight months to the case.
We Can Help
You need a knowledgeable attorney like those with Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. to help you assemble your personal injury puzzle and present it to the court. The deadlines for making an insurance claim vary from company to company and can be as short as 30 days for some private insurance companies. Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in your case. If you miss the statutory deadline, you will likely lose the ability to pursue compensation for your losses and injuries through the courts.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s careless or negligent behavior, we want you to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t let the paperwork and deadlines overwhelm you. Call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. at (770) 205-8827, or contact us online for a review of your case, and let us help you get the compensation you’re entitled to for your injuries.