How Much of My Time Would a Lawsuit Involve? How long will it take?
The length of time that it takes to complete a lawsuit will vary by case. However, a typical case that results in a settlement offer can take between 18 months and two years to complete from the initial filing of the lawsuit. Cases that go to trial or cases that involve class action lawsuits will take a longer period of time to complete.
Understanding The Time Line
There are several factors that lead to settlements and lawsuits taking an extended period of time. While this may be a little disheartening for some, it is often beneficial to the injury victim. The time line of a case will be based on the following situations:
- Response Rates. The response rates of both parties to the lawsuit will determine how long the case extends. Under the laws of each state, both parties have 30 -45 days to respond to the requests of the other party. It is not unusual for the insurance companies to wait until the last minute to respond, or wait until the last day to request an extension. This delay tactic is used to try to discourage the person seeking compensation from the insurer.
- Medical Information. Most attorneys want the medical care provider to indicate that you have reached the fullest recovery possible for your injury. This protects the client and their health. In the past, many victims of injury have settled quickly on a case only to have further health issues arise that are related to the accident and they no longer had the ability to seek compensation for these problems.
- Negotiations. Many times the negotiation process can take time to complete. It is rare for both parties to settle on a figure during their first meeting. Your attorney is going to make sure that your rights are protected as an injury victim and any settlement that they are going to agree to on your behalf must be fair and complete.
How Much Personal Time You Will Devote To The Case
As an injury victim there will be specific things that you must do to make sure that your case is successful. Determining the amount of time this will take is difficult. However, each of these tasks is very important to your case. Some of the things that will require your time include:
- Attending Attorney Meetings. If your attorney calls you in to the office for more information or a meeting, you will need to attend. Delaying these meetings will delay or possibly harm your case. These meetings will vary in length of time.
- Gathering Documents. There may be a lt of documents that your attorney will require you to have for your case. It will take some time to gather these documents, make copies, and provide them to your attorney. This usually only happens at the beginning of your case.
- Attending a Deposition. A deposition occurs when the opposite party desires to ask you questions about the case. You are required to attend this meeting at their allotted time. The length of these meetings will vary in length.
- Medical Care. A majority of the time that you devote to your case will be based on your medical care. Attending all medical appointments, including therapy is essential to your health and the success of your case. Avoid missing or rescheduling medical appointments.
Going To Trial And Class Action Cases
On the rare event that your case goes to trial, it could extend the life of your case by another year or two. New legal rules apply when the case enters this phase and the time lines will increase significantly.
Clss action lawsuits are regulated under different legal guidelines. It is not unusual for class action cases to take several years, if not a decade to complete. The length of time it will take for you to receive compensation for a class action lawsuit if you qualify will depend on when you entered the case and the severity of your losses.