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How Long a Personal Injury Case Takes?

When you get injured in a car accident, the last thing you want to add to your stressful situation is a lawsuit. However, if you are injured, missing work, and out of a car, you need compensation for your damages as soon as possible and a lawsuit may be the best legal avenue for you. Here is some information regarding the process of a personal injury lawsuit and when you may expect compensation.

If you are wondering how long your case may take, start to finish, the answer is that there is no set time frame. Most car accident cases will settle before they go to trial. If the case does reach the trial phase, there are several components to the legal system that may lengthen or shorten the time of a lawsuit. Here is a general timeline on how the process should go.

First, the plaintiff will formally file a lawsuit against the defendant in which the defendant will be served. This may take a few weeks or months depending on how difficult it is to locate the defendant. Once the defendant has been served the complaint, they will have to file a response to the court. They will have a certain amount of time to file a response with the court depending on how they were served (via sheriff, electronically, etc). See our blog on default judgments for more information on these varying deadlines.

Once the defendant has responded and a lawsuit has begun, the process of discovery will begin. This is the stage of gathering and sharing evidence amongst involved parties and can take as long as a few months to a year(s). If the case reaches the trial phase, the trial itself may only take a day or two. When a verdict is reached, the involved parties have a right to appeal the judgment if they are unhappy with the outcome. The appeal process can add years to the length of the case. Again, the above timeline is a generalization and several phases were left out that may add additional time.

Overall, a personal injury case will generally take about one year to complete assuming it reaches a trial and there is no appeal. However, since most cases settle before ever reaching the trial phase, the time frame may be shorter; generally, 3-4 months is considered a ‘quick’ settlement. Since every case is unique, a settlement process can even take a year or two. The settlement process in Arizona may be delayed for a few reasons such as difficult case details, plaintiff still treating injuries, or debate over who is at fault for the accident in question.

If you are wondering how long your case may take depending on its own unique details and facts, reach out for a free consultation at 480.269.1083 or email us at

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