The timeline for resolving a personal injury claim or case in California can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, the skills of your personal injury attorney, and the court’s schedule. Here is a general overview of the timeline involved in resolving a personal injury claim in California:
Seeking Medical Treatment
The most crucial aspect of any personal injury claim is receiving immediate medical attention. You must prioritize your health and well-being, follow your doctor’s advice, and continue treatment until you have reached maximum medical improvement.
When you seek medical treatment, you don’t only treat your injuries but you also have them and your expenses recorded. You will later use these medical reports in your personal injury claim to prove the accident’s severity and show how it affected you.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
The next part of a typical personal injury case timeline is the attorney consultation. This should occur as soon as possible after the incident, as they can evaluate the merits of your case, help gather evidence, and guide you through the legal process. The timing of this step can vary depending on your circumstances.
Investigation and Documentation
Once you have teamed up with a personal injury attorney, they will start conducting a thorough investigation into your accident and gather evidence, such as police and medical reports, witness statements, and other relevant information to build you a strong case. This process can take several weeks or months, depending on the case’s complexity.
Negotiations and Settlement Discussions
Once your attorney has gathered the necessary evidence, they will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company or the responsible party to seek a fair settlement. These settlement discussions can last a few weeks or months, depending on the parties’ cooperation and the complexity of negotiations. Generally, the better a case is built and presented, the higher the chances that a settlement will be reached faster — but this isn’t always the case.
Filling a Lawsuit
Sometimes, your lawyer will not reach a fair settlement with the insurance company or liable party. This can happen for several reasons. They may want to buy some time or believe they can pin more fault on you and reduce your compensation amount.
You can initiate a personal injury lawsuit based on your lawyer’s recommendations. This step can extend the timeline of your case significantly as it involves various stages, such as filing the complaint, exchanging information and evidence, motions, mediation, and a trial.
Trial and Resolution
If your case makes it this far, a trial’s length can vary based on the court’s schedule, the complexity of the case, and other factors. Trials can take months or years, yet, most personal injury cases in California are resolved through settlement before the trial stage.