Steps of Filing a Lawsuit

How long will it take to get my money? If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, this may be one of the first questions you’ve asked. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer; each personal injury case is different, and the amount of time it takes to resolve everything can be anywhere from a few weeks to several years. In order to accurately predict how long your specific case will take, it’s important to understand the steps in a typical personal injury lawsuit. 

1. Hire an Attorney

Once you have been out of work for more than a few days or have incurred significant medical debt, it’s time to find a lawyer. This is the first step of a personal injury case; your attorney will represent you in court and help you file all of the paperwork you need in order to help move the process along. 

2. Start the Case 

Once you have found a lawyer, they will start the process of filing the necessary paperwork with the court. This includes alerting the other party that you are filing a suit against them.

  • Note: This is the point in the process that a judge can dismiss the case or file judgments based on factors like jurisdiction, improper process, or default. 

3. The Discovery Process

This is the part that can take a long time and is difficult to predict. The discovery process is the part where the facts of the case are figured out. Investigations are conducted, police reports and other evidence are obtained, and insurance companies are contacted. Depending on the nature of your injury and the events surrounding it, this can take up to a year or more. If your case is settled out of court, this is when that will happen. 

4. The Trial 

After all the evidence is compiled, the case will go to trial. Motions and other arguments take place, and then a jury hears the case and prepares to deliver the verdict. Settlements can also occur at this part of the process. 

5. The Verdict 

The jury, based on all arguments and evidence, will determine who wins; if you win, they will set the amount of money you will receive. This typically takes place one or two years after filing the suit. If the defense appeals for a lower amount, this process could take even longer. 

6. Collect Your Damages 

Assuming the defense does not appeal, you will receive either a lump sum or monthly payments.

Overall, the entire process can typically take between one or two years, but each case is different. Contact an attorney for help with your specific case.