Many individuals may go about saying they want to file a personal injury claim and sue someone with the help of an experienced injury attorney, but most don’t know what it actually takes. The legal process can be complex and lengthy. It is best to have an experienced attorney by your side, either bringing personal injury lawsuits to trial or negotiating fair settlements. Not all personal injuries are the same, and therefore suing someone varies depending on the case itself. As an individual prepared to sue, you need to understand what it means to settle, be prepared to go to trial, and know the statute of limitations in your area.
Suing someone is easier said than done. Personal injury lawsuits for car wrecks, for example, can take months and up to years before finally reaching a settlement. It is important that you hire a seasoned attorney before preparing to sue, insurance companies will often make lowball settlement offers immediately, which might dissuade you from pursuing your lawsuit unless you have the proper legal support. With an attorney by your side, they will be able to identify whether the offers are adequate to cover your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Typically, the first settlement offer does not compensate for all of these.
In the event that you and your lawyer reject this initial settlement, you are now in pre-trial preparation, but several settlement offers may go back and forth before you ever go to court. Depending on the complexity of the trial, pre-trial preparation can take months or years to complete.
The next step before a trial is known as discovery. Discovery is the legal process in which opposing parties in a lawsuit can obtain evidence from one another. The discovery process includes interviews, depositions, and requests for documents. It is at this point after some or all of discovery has taken place that lawsuits will come to a settlement. Discovery indicates how strong a plaintiffs case is and the defendant will often settle to avoid an even larger verdict in court.
No two settlements are alike. It is difficult to say how long your lawsuit may take. The bottom line is: it could be quite some time.
Going to Trial
Once you finally do decide to go to trial, or the parties involved do not reach a settlement, be prepared for another lengthy process. Civil trials can last anywhere between three and ten days. The preparation for a trial, however, can take many months (in addition to the several months you spent trying to reach a settlement). Typically, from the date of filing to the date of the verdict, you can expect a personal injury lawsuit to last around at least one year or more.
Statute of Limitations in Alabama
The last thing that may get in the way of filing your lawsuit is the statute of limitations. There may not be a one size fits all answer to how long it will take to sue someone, but there is an exact amount of time you have to file your lawsuit. Known as the statute of limitations, it differs in every state and for every scenario.
In some states, plaintiffs have one year from the date of injury to file personal injury claims. In other states, plaintiffs may have two years. Many states typically allow you four years to file a lawsuit for breach of contract. You should research the statute of limitations in your area to be sure how much time you have. The best way to handle a personal injury claim is to seek legal help immediately so that you may decide to file a lawsuit or not, as quickly as possible.