How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

October 5, 2023 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

At Chain | Cohn | Clark, most of our personal injury cases take an average of 12 to 24 months to resolve, either through a settlement (an agreement outside of court) or a jury verdict (a decision based on a trial). 

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Personal injury cases aren’t cookie-cutter matters that play out the same way for everyone. Some cases are settled quickly, and others take years to conclude.

If you have an injury or property damage caused by someone else’s negligence, this typical one- or two-year time frame might sound like an eternity—especially if you just want to recover, receive the compensation you’re due, and return (as much as you can) to a normal life.

We hope you’ll find it helpful to understand some of the factors that make the lawsuit settlement process so time-consuming.

The Time Frame for Lawsuit Settlements: Your Lawyer’s Perspective

At Chain | Cohn | Clark, we’re committed to getting you the compensation you deserve, even if that means going to trial. Although it doesn’t take long to file a lawsuit—that’s simply a matter of submitting the proper paperwork—the Kern County courts usually give us trial dates 12–18 months out from when we file. So, if we need to argue your personal injury case in court, it will take a minimum of 12–18 months.

Settling a case out of court—whether the settlement comes before or after filing a lawsuit—is almost always faster than going to trial. But if your case involves injuries, there’s a good reason to take things slowly. You only have one opportunity to file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit—once you settle or receive a trial verdict, there are no do-overs.

Consequently, it’s important to wait until your treatment is complete or you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)—a term that applies to long-term injuries that never fully heal. Otherwise, any settlement may leave money on the table.

Factors That Make a Lawsuit Take Longer

It may take longer to settle a lawsuit if:

  • It’s not clear who was at fault.
  • Your injuries are severe.
  • There’s potential for a large amount of compensation.
  • The defendant or the insurance company aren’t inclined to settle.
  • There are more than two parties involved in the case.
  • The case goes to trial.

Factors That Make a Lawsuit Take Less Time

A lawsuit may be settled more quickly if:

  • The defendant was clearly at fault.
  • You have only minor injuries.
  • The case involves property damage only—no injuries.
  • The defendant wants to resolve the case quickly.
  • Your legal team negotiates an out-of-court settlement.

Experienced Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorneys

The personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Clark always strive to balance winning the best settlement or decision they can with keeping your case moving forward to a resolution. We know how difficult it can be to wait for the legal process to run its course—but sometimes, waiting is in your long-term best interest.

If you want to get a feel for how long your personal injury case will take, there’s no better way to find out than to contact us for a free consultation.