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FAQ: How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take? [2024 Guide]

Written By:
Tor Hoerman
Tor Hoerman

Attorney Tor Hoerman, admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association since 1995 and The Missouri Bar since 2009, specializes nationally in mass tort litigations. Locally, Tor specializes in auto accidents and a wide variety of personal injury incidents occuring in Illinois and Missouri.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

Question: How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?

Answer: The length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury lawsuit can vary greatly, typically ranging from a few months to several years.

Factors such as the complexity of the personal injury case, the extent of injuries, and the willingness of parties to negotiate can significantly influence the timeline.

On this page, we’ll discuss the question how long does a personal injury lawsuit take, the many factors that impact the timeline of a personal injury claim, how an injured party can seek financial compensation, and much more.

The Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline Explained

Are you about to take legal action after a car accident?

Are you thinking of starting the claims process against a company that manufactured a product that led to your injuries?

If you’re considering pursuing a personal injury claim, you’re likely curious about how long the process will take.

It’s a common concern, and understandably so.

At TorHoerman Law, we understand that you’re seeking clarity on this matter.

FAQ How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take

While we can’t predict the exact duration of your case without knowing its specifics, we’re here to provide insight into the typical timelines and factors that may influence them.

Personal injury lawsuits can vary widely in duration, depending on various factors such as the complexity of the case and the cooperation of involved parties.

Whether you’re filing a claim for a slip-and-fall accident or a product liability case, we’re here for you.

As a victim who has sustained injuries, you may be eligible for a claim.

Contact us at TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you’re eligible for a personal injury lawsuit.

Table of Contents

The Duration of Single Incident Personal Injury Lawsuits

A single-incident personal injury case involves situations where an individual suffers harm due to a specific event or accident, rather than ongoing or repeated exposure to harm.

Some examples of single-incident cases are car accident cases and slip-and-fall cases.

Other examples include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Dog bites
  • Work accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Premise liability
  • Wrongful death

When it comes to these personal injury cases, we can’t offer a precise timeline without understanding the specifics of your case, but we can provide some general guidance.

Typically, single-incident personal injury cases are resolved within a year.

It’s crucial to understand that this is merely an estimate.

The exact duration can vary based on factors such as:

  • The complexity of your case
  • The amount of evidence available
  • The level of cooperation among involved parties
  • How much you’re claiming

Don’t rely solely on general estimates.

For a more accurate answer, you should consult a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to get a better understanding of what to expect for your individual case.

At TorHoerman Law, we offer legal guidance tailored to your specific case and circumstances.

Find out how long your personal injury lawsuit can take by contacting us for a free consultation. 

Complex and Mass Tort Litigation

Single-incident cases are straightforward on paper.

Not all personal injury cases involve one incident caused by an at-fault party.

Some cases, like those involving products and chemical contamination, are far more complex.

These cases often have a much longer personal injury case timeline compared to single-incident personal injury lawsuit cases.

These more complex and potentially lengthy lawsuits are mass tort litigations.

Otherwise, called multidistrict litigations (MDLs), mass tort litigation often involves other plaintiffs who have suffered the same injuries and damages you have.

Complex and mass tort litigations involve cases that are more intricate and often involve multiple parties.

These types of cases can include chemical exposures, product liability claims, defective medical devices, and dangerous drugs.

Understanding Complex Personal Injury Claims

Complex cases involve situations where the circumstances surrounding the injury are intricate, such as where multiple parties are potentially liable, or where extensive investigation and evidence gathering are necessary to establish fault.

A product liability case involving a defective medical device may require expert testimony, medical records review, and analysis of manufacturing processes to determine liability.

A chemical contamination case may warrant a longer discovery process.

The discovery process is a stage in civil claims where the parties involved exchange information just before a trial or hearing.

The goal of the discovery process is to notify each other of the evidence to be presented during proceedings. This can add to the overall timeline of a litigation.

Mass Tort Litigations

Mass tort litigations involve multiple plaintiffs who have suffered similar injuries from the same product or action.

These cases often arise from widespread exposure to harmful substances or products, such as environmental contamination or dangerous drugs.

Mass torts can encompass a wide range of issues, from environmental disasters like oil spills to defective medical devices like hip implants.

There are numerous examples of mass tort litigation.

The personal injury lawyers at TorHoerman Law handle chemical contamination cases like the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit.

This lawsuit involves multiple victims who developed numerous illnesses due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.

Another example is the AFFF (Aqueous Firefighting Foam) litigation.

This litigation has spanned several years and was filed by firefighters and military service members who were exposed to firefighting foam.

In this lawsuit, plaintiffs claim that they developed various types of cancer as a result of firefighting foam exposure at their job.

Because numerous companies have manufactured and distributed firefighting foam products, they are named as defendants in the lawsuits.

Factors Affecting the Duration of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Several factors can influence the duration of complex and mass tort litigations.

One is the number of plaintiffs involved.

The more plaintiffs there are, the more likely it is that a personal injury lawyer will consolidate different claims into a single MDL.

Doing this can take time.

The complexity of legal issues can also dictate a personal injury settlement timeline.

Complex issues involving several parties can make litigation challenging not just for attorneys but for courts as well.

The willingness to settle will also play a role in determining how long the litigation process will take.

In most personal injury cases, settlement negotiations come down to whether or not the defendants are willing to pay the amounts asked by plaintiffs.

Defendants would opt for a quick settlement of cases.

Some refuse to compensate plaintiffs, and this unwillingness can result in a drawn-out trial.

The availability of evidence, the need for expert testimony, and procedural requirements can impact the timeline.

These are essential to developing cases.

Without these things, attorneys will take time to accumulate as much evidence as possible to build the best cases for their clients.

The Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Process

In cases where multiple lawsuits involve similar factual questions, they may be consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL).

MDLs centralize pretrial proceedings before one judge to streamline the litigation process.

While an MDL can expedite certain aspects of the case, it may also prolong the overall duration due to coordination efforts among parties.

An MDL is commonly used in complex cases.

Among the examples of MDLs we handle are mesothelioma asbestos exposure lawsuits and pressure cooker explosion mass torts.

Examples of Complex Personal Injury and Mass Tort Cases

Complex and mass tort cases encompass various types of legal disputes that involve intricate issues and multiple plaintiffs.

Understanding the different categories of these cases can provide insight into their complexity and scope, including the potential timelines for resolution.

The following complex and mass tort cases take several years to be resolved due to several factors including the number of parties involved.

For this reason, you’ll need the guidance and expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer if you’re pursuing these mass tort cases.

At TorHoerman Law, we represent victims in mass tort cases and have won billions of dollars in total settlements.

Below are some of the complex personal injury cases our law firm handles.

Environmental Contamination

Environmental contamination cases like the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit often involve extensive scientific evidence and regulatory complexities.

Investigations into the extent of contamination, its effects on human health, and the responsible parties can be time-consuming.

Besides the need for extensive scientific evidence, litigation may require coordination with government agencies and environmental experts.

As a result, these cases can take several years to resolve, depending on the severity of the contamination and the complexity of the legal issues involved.

Product Liability

Product liability cases like the Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuits may require thorough investigations into product defects, including design flaws, manufacturing errors, or inadequate warnings.

Gathering evidence, such as product testing, expert testimony, and medical records, can prolong the litigation process.

Besides that, defendants in product liability cases often vigorously defend their products, leading to protracted legal battles.

For these reasons, these cases may take several months to years to reach a resolution through settlement negotiations or trial.

Dangerous Drugs Mass Torts

Pharmaceutical mass torts like the Tepezza and Taxotere Lawsuits involve allegations of harm caused by these prescription drugs.

These cases typically require extensive discovery processes to uncover evidence of product defects, inadequate warnings, or fraudulent marketing practices.

What makes the legal process lengthy for these cases is the power of pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmaceutical companies often have substantial resources to contest liability, leading to prolonged litigation.

Adding to the timeline is the complexity of medical and scientific evidence that can further delay case resolution.

As a result, pharmaceutical mass tort cases may take years to reach a settlement or trial verdict.

Toxic Exposure Mass Torts

Toxic exposure cases involve harm caused by exposure to hazardous substances, such as asbestos, lead, or pesticides.

These cases often require complex medical and scientific evidence to establish causation between exposure and resulting injuries.

Identifying responsible parties and proving liability can also be challenging, especially in cases of historical exposure or widespread contamination.

Coordinating with medical experts, epidemiologists, and toxicologists adds to the complexity and duration of litigation.

Toxic exposure cases may span one to several years before reaching a resolution.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

These cases require comprehensive medical reviews, expert testimony, and legal analysis to establish breach of duty and causation of harm.

Medical malpractice cases often also face legal hurdles, such as statutes of limitations, expert witness requirements, and damage caps, which can prolong litigation.

Timelines in medical malpractice cases can also extend due to the defendants.

Defendants in medical malpractice cases may vigorously defend their actions, leading to protracted legal battles.

As a result, these cases may take several months to years to resolve, depending on the complexity of the medical and legal issues involved.

Personal injury lawyers can also struggle because of the resources at the defendant’s disposal.

In medical malpractice cases, a personal injury attorney has to contend against not just a negligent physician or nursing team member but also against a hospital and other healthcare institutions.

For this reason, if you’re pursuing a complex personal injury claim like a medical malpractice case, you’ll need a personal injury law firm that specializes in these cases.

The Personal Injury Claim Process

We can attribute the average personal injury case timeline to the personal injury claim process.

While procedures can vary, any claim will often follow the following steps.

Initial Consultation

The process begins with an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney.

During this meeting, you’ll discuss the details of your case, including how the injury occurred, the extent of your injuries, and potential legal options.

The attorney will assess the strength of your case and provide guidance on the next steps.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

After the initial consultation, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your injury.

This may involve gathering medical records, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and other relevant evidence to support your claim.

The goal is to build a compelling case that demonstrates the other party’s negligence or liability.

Settlement Negotiation With the Defendant’s Insurance Company

In many cases, personal injury claims are resolved through negotiations with insurance companies representing the at-fault party.

Your attorney will communicate with the insurance adjusters, presenting evidence of the other party’s liability and advocating for fair compensation for your injuries.

Negotiations may involve multiple rounds of offers and counteroffers before reaching a settlement agreement.

Filing the Personal Injury Lawsuit

If negotiations with the insurance company fail to result in a satisfactory settlement, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation through the court system.

The formal lawsuit initiates the legal process, and both parties will engage in pretrial proceedings, such as discovery, where each side exchanges evidence and information relevant to the case.

Settlement or Personal Injury Trial

The majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlement negotiations rather than going to trial.

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial.

During the trial, both parties present their arguments and evidence to a judge or jury, who will ultimately decide the outcome of the case.

Resolution and Compensation

If your case is successful either through settlement or trial, you will receive compensation for your injuries and losses.

This compensation may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred as a result of the injury.

How a Personal Injury Law Firm Can Shorten the Timeline

If you wish for your personal injury claim to be resolved in the soonest possible time, you’ll need help — you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney.

An attorney who specializes in personal injury claims can expedite your case’s resolution in the following ways.

Legal Experience

Personal injury law firms have extensive experience handling a wide range of cases, from simple slip and fall accidents to complex mass tort litigation.

These firms’ knowledge of relevant laws, court procedures, and legal strategies allows them to efficiently navigate the legal system on behalf of their clients.

This expertise can help expedite the resolution of your case.

Thorough Investigation and Evidence-Gathering

One of the key roles of a personal injury law firm is to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your injury.

This includes gathering evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and expert testimony to support your claim.

By diligently collecting and preserving evidence early on, the law firm can build a strong case and potentially expedite the negotiation process.

Effective Negotiation Skills

Personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators who know how to effectively communicate with insurance companies and defense attorneys.

These professionals can compellingly present your case, highlighting the strength of your claim and advocating for fair compensation for your serious injuries.

By engaging in productive negotiations, a law firm can work towards resolving your case efficiently without the need for prolonged litigation.

Proactive Case Management

Personal injury law firms understand the importance of proactive case management in expediting the resolution of a claim.

Attorneys will keep you informed of any developments in your case, answer your questions promptly, and ensure that all necessary paperwork and documentation are filed in a timely manner.

By staying organized and proactive, the law firm can help keep your case on track and prevent unnecessary delays.

Efficient Resolution

Ultimately, the goal of a personal injury law firm is to achieve the most efficient resolution possible while maximizing compensation for their clients.

Whether through settlement negotiations or trial advocacy, the firm will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case in the shortest amount of time.

Get Timely Results With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

At TorHoerman Law, we stand ready to get you the best possible results in the shortest possible time.

Our attorneys are here to get you a settlement that compensates you for medical bills, property damages, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Most importantly, we’ll stop at nothing to ensure that your case is resolved as soon as possible.

Don’t let your personal injury settlement timeline drag on any further.

If you’ve sustained serious injuries at the hands of another party, know that you may be eligible for a claim.

Contact us at TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What factors most significantly impact the duration of a personal injury lawsuit?

    The duration of a personal injury lawsuit can vary widely, often taking anywhere from a few months to several years.

    Factors such as the complexity of the case, the extent of the injuries sustained, and the clarity of fault all play crucial roles.

    More complex cases, such as those involving catastrophic injuries or multiple parties, may take longer due to extensive medical treatment needs and prolonged settlement negotiations.

  • Is there a way to speed up the process of a personal injury lawsuit?

    A typical personal injury lawsuit timeline involves several stages, starting with immediate medical attention to document injuries, followed by hiring a personal injury lawyer who files a claim.

    The discovery process then begins, involving the exchange of medical records and other evidence between parties.

    Settlement negotiations may resolve the case, but if no agreement is reached, the lawsuit moves to a trial where the court will hear the evidence and make a judgment.

  • How does the severity of injuries affect the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit?

    Settlement negotiations can significantly impact the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit.

    If both parties involved can agree on fair compensation, the case may settle quickly without going to trial.

    If negotiations stall or the parties cannot reach an agreement, the lawsuit may extend for a longer period as it moves toward a trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.

  • What role do settlement negotiations play in the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit?

    Reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) is crucial in a personal injury lawsuit because it allows for a clear assessment of the injured party’s medical expenses and the long-term impact of the injuries.

    This stage determines when the injured person has stabilized enough so that a more accurate calculation of damages for medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering can be made, which is vital for achieving a fair settlement.

  • Can the court's schedule influence how long a personal injury lawsuit takes?

    Yes, the involvement of insurance companies can significantly affect the duration of a personal injury lawsuit.

    Insurance adjusters may require extensive documentation and evidence before agreeing to settle a claim.

    Negotiations with insurance companies can be prolonged if they dispute the claim’s validity or the extent of liability.

    Insurance companies may prolong negotiations in hopes of settling for a lower amount, extending the overall timeline of the case.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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