How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?

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If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another party, you should be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Often, personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers. However, it may be necessary for an injury victim to file a civil personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation they are entitled to. Many injury victims wonder how long it will take for their personal injury lawsuit to settle. There is no set amount of time that it takes these claims to be resolved, but there are various factors that go into the timeframe of a personal injury lawsuit.

Filing the Personal Injury Lawsuit

Most personal injury cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, but if an insurance company denies a claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, it officially enters the civil court system. However, that does not mean it will go right to trial. There are many steps in between the filing of a lawsuit and an eventual trial, if the case reaches that point.


Your personal injury attorney will conduct a complete investigation into the incident in order to obtain any evidence needed to prove liability. This can include speaking by witnesses, working with accident reconstruction experts, obtaining video and photo surveillance, obtaining accident reports, and more.


The discovery phase of a personal injury trial is when both the plaintiff and the defendant will exchange evidence and have the opportunity to ask questions of the other side about the case. It may be necessary to take depositions of any witnesses involved in the case.

Negotiation and Mediation

Throughout the period before the trial, both sides will engage in negotiations, and possibly mediation, in an effort to reach a settlement before the trial occurs.


If no settlement is reached between the two sides, the case will eventually reach trial. A jury will be chosen, and the jury will hear testimony and review evidence related to the case. The jury will make a decision about whether or not the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injury and how much compensation, if any, the plaintiff will receive.

Getting a personal injury case to trial could take anywhere from a year to two years (or more). However, most cases reach a negotiated settlement before this occurs, and a personal injury matter could be resolved within a few months in some circumstances.

Keeping the Time Limits in Mind

It is crucial for personal injury victims to know that there are time limits in place for how long they have to file a lawsuit against the other party. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that an injury victim has a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in the case. Failing to file a lawsuit in this timeframe will result in the victim being unable to recover any compensation for their losses.

Working with an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of another individual, company, or entity, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A skilled injury lawyer can use their resources to fully investigate your claim, help prove liability, properly calculate total losses, and secure the compensation you are entitled to. An attorney will also help ensure that you understand every step of the personal injury case and keep you apprised about how long each step may take.