If you were injured in an accident, you could face serious pain and suffering that makes it hard to work or enjoy daily activities. Unfortunately, you may need to wait for an extended period while your injury claim is resolved before you can get the compensation you need. Every case is different, and it is difficult to say how long your case will take without examining the specifics of your case.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, call the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today to set up a free legal consultation. Our Ventura personal injury lawyers can examine the facts of your case and help you understand how much your case should be worth and how long it may take to settle your case or take your injury lawsuit to trial. For your free legal consultation, call us today at (805) 643-5555.
Should I Take a Settlement Offer for My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
After being injured in an accident or because of someone else’s negligence or neglect, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. In many cases, the defendant will not want to take the time to defend themselves in court and may be willing to pay you damages as a settlement rather than facing trial or legal costs.
As the injured victim (the “plaintiff”), it is your right to accept or reject this settlement. However, you should always consult with an attorney on your case to understand whether the settlement is appropriate for your needs.
Many defendants will offer settlements early in the process before you have had time to understand how much your case could be worth or how severe your injuries really are. These settlements are often low and work to silence plaintiffs who are just trying to make money quickly by making frivolous claims. In many cases, these early settlement offers will be inappropriate for your case, especially if you suffered serious injuries.
Even though it may take longer, you should talk to an attorney and consider taking your case to court or at least having your attorney negotiate a settlement on your behalf to make sure that it covers the damages you suffered. Your attorney can also help research the settlement and help you understand if it is in line with previous settlements from the same company or settlements in comparable cases.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in California?
The quickest type of injury claim is one where you tell the at-fault party that you were injured and they immediately pay you a settlement. This can take less than a week, but, as mentioned, it is unlikely to meet your full needs. At the longest, a case will take months or even over a year if you file the claim with the court and take the case all the way through trial to a jury verdict. Most cases fall somewhere along this spectrum, with many settlements occurring while the case is in progress – though in some cases it is in your best interests to see the case through to a jury verdict.
The process of filing your claim often takes a few weeks, as the judge needs to read each filing and allow the defendant time to respond. This part of the process may even last for a few months if the legal issues in the case are contentious. Once the case makes it past this stage, the court will order both sides to turn over relevant evidence in the “discovery” process. This part again usually takes a few months and requires depositions, interrogatory requests, and further motions to the court.
After this process is completed, the court will typically schedule a trial. First, the judge may try to encourage a settlement if both parties are willing. At this stage, all the evidence is out in the open and the parties all know what is at stake. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial.
The trial itself only usually takes about a week, with complex cases potentially taking longer than one week and simpler cases potentially lasting only a day or two. If the case ends with a jury verdict, you will receive the award the jury decides rather than a settlement you can negotiate for. However, you can still negotiate a settlement up until the time the jury issues their verdict – and sometimes you can even settle the case after the verdict.
Talk to an attorney to see how long the process for your claim will take and what steps of the case might slow down your claim.
Call Our Ventura Personal Injury Lawyers for Help with Your Injury Claim
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident and needs compensation now, contact the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth to learn more about how long it might take to get the compensation you need and how much your case could be worth. Never accept a settlement before talking to a lawyer about your case. Call our Ventura personal injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. Our number is (805) 643-5555.