What is the Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline in California?
On TV and through pop culture references, we have all heard of court cases lingering in the system for years. Each U.S. state also has its own laws that affect how long cases take. Further, cases in criminal courts differ from personal injury cases or other civil matters. So, what is the personal injury lawsuit timeline in California? What can you expect, if you have a car accident lawsuit or other personal injury claim going to court?
If you plan on engaging in a personal injury lawsuit timeline after your auto accident, you need an experienced car accident lawyer. At the personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm of Kesh Law, we help Southern California car accident victims gain the settlements they deserve after a crash. When insurance companies refuse an agreeable settlement, we take them to court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. We can help you, too, whether your accident happened in your personal vehicle or a commercial vehicle.
California Statute of Limitations
The most important thing to remember after your auto accident is your state’s statute of limitations for the personal injury lawsuit timeline. In California, you have two years after the date of your accident to file a lawsuit, should the insurance company not agree to the settlement you deserve. This means you should contact Kesh Law as soon as possible after your accident to start your claim.
An exception to this rule is if you were a minor in the vehicle injured during the crash. In such a case, you have until two years after your 18th birthday to file a lawsuit and start your personal injury lawsuit timeline.
Of course, it is not a good idea to waste time on your claim just because you have months to spare. It is always best to use available time to your advantage.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline in California
To know how long your personal injury lawsuit timeline might take, you must consider all of the steps involved in these types of cases. These steps include:
Auto Accident Happens
When your auto accident happens, it officially starts the clock on your personal injury lawsuit timeline. Of course, the insurance company typically decides to settle claims instead of going through a trial. But if you need to file a lawsuit, the accident date is still the main factor in the overall timeline. After all, it is the date you first suffered your injuries.
At this point in the timeline, it is critical that you seek medical attention. Doctors and other trained medical professionals will provide a diagnosis and determine the extent of your injuries. They also start any treatments you need, forming the basis for why you need to file a car accident claim or, eventually, a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation you deserve. This is also when you should contact a Southern California personal injury lawyer to open your claim.
Investigation and Demand Letter
While you start recovering from your accident and get the medical treatment you need, your personal injury timeline clock starts ticking. At this time, your car accident lawyer investigates the factors of your auto accident and obtains necessary records to support your claim.
Next, your Kesh Law personal injury attorney writes a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter specifies the damages you seek, based on facts of your case. This is part of the personal injury lawsuit timeline, but still before a lawsuit is necessary. The insurance company can agree to the specified amount you seek or will negotiate for another amount. It is when the negotiation stalls and you struggle to get what you deserve that your attorney files a lawsuit.
Filing Your Lawsuit
If the insurance company is not forthcoming with the amount you need, your attorney files a lawsuit. This part of the personal injury lawsuit involves court processes. Once this filing occurs, the defendant has 30 days to reply to the lawsuit.
The insurance company can still settle your case by meeting your terms at this time. Often they do settle after a lawsuit filing, when they note how serious your attorney is about taking the case the full distance. That settlement would stop the personal injury lawsuit timeline and simply provides you, the victim, the money you sought.
Discovery in a lawsuit timeline is the period during which both sides of the case share relevant documents. Each side also interviews witnesses, doctors and other parties involved in the case. It is still not too late for the insurance company to settle your claim without going to trial. But if they do not settle, the case keeps going forward.
After the discovery period, the judge assigns a trial date. At this point in your personal injury trial process, your case goes into the courtroom. Both sides present evidence. A jury decides the outcome. Insurance companies often fear going this far before settling, as victim awards can reach much higher amounts than originally requested. Obviously, like settlement, a jury verdict ends the lawsuit timeline. The awarded car accident victim then only must await arrival of their check.
How Long Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Will Take
As you can see from the above-listed steps in the timeline, your personal injury lawsuit can go fully through a trial. That date is ultimately determined and scheduled by a judge. Or, the process is cut short through settlement after the lawsuit filing. Each case is unique. This means there is no single answer to the broad question of how long one personal injury case timeline will last.
The best way to gain a clear picture of how long your car accident claim will take is to talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer at Kesh Law. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we can help you understand the processes involved in your case and the likelihood of the insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement.
For more answers to these frequently asked personal injury lawsuit questions and any other questions you have, call Kesh Law for a free initial consultation now at (818)639-3955.