The litigation process for any damages claim in Virginia can fall anywhere on quite a wide spectrum, from only a few weeks to over one year. Why? There are various factors that determine how rapidly your case is resolved. The details of your injury, for one, play a direct role in how you will proceed in your case. Simple injuries that are not long-lasting in their effects will not take nearly as long to address as the onset of a disability, for example. To get an idea of how long your personal injury case might take, see the information provided below.
What Happens During a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There are numerous steps to filing and resolving a personal injury lawsuit. Each step of this litigation process has its own unique timeline that will undoubtedly affect the next. Consider that every part of your case will each, to some extent, require the collection, presentation, and analysis of evidence.
After the accident, you will need to record all information of the events that led to your injury, as well as the personal details of the individuals involved. When building your case, you, your lawyer, and attending physician will compile all your medical evidence and make conclusive statements as to the status of your physical condition. You then have to take this a step further in court, presenting this same documentation and analyzing it further for the jury and judge to make their decision.
All these parts demand individual time commitments, each of which can impact the duration of your lawsuit in varying capacities. Together, they all unfold as follows:
- Before the lawsuit. You and your lawyer will collect all records of the accident and determine who is liable for your injuries.
- Filing the lawsuit. If you do not receive a fair settlement offer, then the case will go to court. This is where the statute of limitations applies, as you can only initiate this step within two years of the accident.
- The discovery phase. This can go on for several months, and is comprised of the exchange of evidence between the defendant and plaintiff.
- Opportunity for motions before the trial. In some instances, the case is not resolved, even after Discovery. In this case, motions can be made to limit the evidence presented at trial or issue a dismissal.
- Going to trial. The majority of lawsuits are concluded at this step. Again, this step can take anywhere from a few hours, to several years. On average, it takes about 1-3 years to complete.
- Opportunity for appeals. If you fail to meet a resolution at the trial phase, it may take another 1-2 years to address any appeals.
What Else Slows Down a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In addition to complications with attaining a fair settlement and extensive injuries, the following can extend the timeline in which your personal injury lawsuit is resolved:
- The defendant’s legal team may be uncooperative.
- You may need extended medical treatment.
- Your claim may be relatively expensive.
- There may be disagreements about the legal details of the case.
In any case, it is critical that you get the help of a lawyer. Legal guidance will ensure that you have a better chance of resolving your personal injury lawsuit within a reasonable amount of time.