At VB Attorneys, it is our goal to resolve cases within a year. However, there are a lot of factors that will affect how long a personal injury case will take, including:
- The severity of the injuries. If the case involves fairly minor or soft-tissue injuries, it may resolve quickly and with minimal fuss. Cases that involve brain injuries, severe back injuries, other life-altering injuries, or death can take much longer to resolve because there is usually much more at stake for the victims and their families. Injuries that are severe, but aren’t permanently disabling, can also result in longer, more complex cases when the medical care has been complex and expensive.
- The complexity of the case. The complexity of any given case will impact how long it takes, from a perspective of both liability (who is responsible) and damages (the losses of the victim). Cases that involve complex legal arguments to prove liability are going to take longer than cases where the responsibility is clear. If the victim has suffered multiple or very complicated injuries with hundreds—or even thousands—of pages of medical records, then that is also very likely to take longer to resolve than a case where the injuries and treatment are very straightforward.
- The approach of the lawyers. How the lawyers involved choose to approach the case can impact how long the case takes to resolve. Many times, lawyers on the defense take their time and contest almost everything the victim’s side puts forth—and, although it shouldn’t matter, it’s also important to understand that they are usually paid by the hour. If a case if very hotly contested, then it could be a long process. The attorney the victim chooses can also make a big difference. A motivated attorney who pushes his or her cases will counter a slow-road defense approach. However, if the victim’s counsel is not very aggressive about pushing the case, it can end up sitting around for a long while. Hiring an experienced and aggressive law firm to fight for you after an injury or death often means that it’s possible to resolve the case sooner.
- The schedule of the courts and judges. If the case progresses to trial, simple scheduling concerns can affect the length of the case. Most judges are interested in moving their dockets efficiently, and will set a trial date within one year after it is filed. Realistically, however, many cases are not reached for trial on their first setting. There are sometimes many experts, attorneys, judges, witnesses, and others whose schedules can impact the trial date. Some cases may not proceed until a second or third trial setting, sometimes longer.
- The legal steps involved. Not all personal injury cases end up going all the way to trial. Many cases settle before trial or resolve in mediation or arbitration sessions. Most of the time, the timeline is similar. However, the attorneys on both sides have more control over how quickly a case resolves when it does not go to trial.
It’s important to understand that every case is different. This is why it is so hard to give “blanket” answers to questions about how fast you might be able to get through the legal process. While most personal injury cases should be developed and negotiated for potential settlement within a year of filing, there are many situations where this time frame will be longer or shorter.
If you’d like to talk it over with us in detail and get a better idea of how long your specific case might take, give VB Attorneys a call at 1-877-724-7800. In a free case review, we can help you start investigating your rights and getting answers about what to expect if you decide to move ahead with a personal injury claim.