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How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

Posted on February 25, 2021 in

Accidents can result in serious injuries and financial hardships, and personal injury claims provide monetary relief so victims can recover from these losses. If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Portland, Oregon, you may wonder how long it will take for you to receive this compensation. Depending on the complexity of your case, your lawsuit could take several months up to one or two years to resolve.

Achieving Maximum Medical Improvement After an Accident

A personal injury claim involves several steps. First, you will receive medical treatment and consult with your personal injury lawyer. Your personal injury attorney in Portland will evaluate your case, determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit, and begin investigating your case.

Your attorney will want to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before making a demand and filing your claim. You will not have a clear picture of your injuries, future treatment requirements, and the permanent impact of the accident until you reach MMI. Depending on your injuries, it may take several weeks or months to reach this stage.

The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

Once you attain MMI, the personal injury litigation process will begin.

  • Demand and negotiations: First, your attorney will draft a demand letter and send it to the at-fault party. He or she will have an opportunity to respond, and you may enter negotiations. If you are able to reach a settlement, your case will resolve at this stage.
  • Filing and discovery: If you cannot settle before trial, your lawyer will file your lawsuit in civil court. Once you file, you will enter discovery. Depending on your case, the discovery process can take six months up to a year to conclude.
  • Pre-trial negotiation or mediation: After discovery ends, you may enter negotiations with the at-fault party again, either among yourselves or with a neutral third-party mediator. If you are able to reach an agreement, your case will conclude before trial.
  • Trial: If negotiations do not work, your case will proceed to the courtroom. The trial can take one day, a week, or even longer, depending on the complexity of your case.

The personal injury lawsuit timeline varies from case to case. Cases in personal injury can involve car accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, etc. If your case involves minor injuries or you are asking for a smaller settlement, your case is likely to resolve faster. However, if you have serious, debilitating injuries that require a large settlement to recover from, your case will likely take longer. It will take a longer time for you to reach MMI and the at-fault party may be less likely to settle before going to trial.

Should You Accept the First Settlement Offer?

Early in your case, the insurance company or defense attorney may offer you a settlement. These parties may claim that this settlement will allow you to recover from your injuries faster, avoiding the lengthier litigation process. However, it is important not to accept this offer until you speak with your attorney.

Although the personal injury process can be lengthy, securing maximum compensation is very important. At this stage of your case, you may not understand the full extent of your injuries and the compensation you actually need to recover. If you accept a lower offer, you could face financial hardships later on.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case can help. Your attorney can evaluate any offers you receive and advise you on your next steps. He or she will also handle all aspects of your claim, avoiding any errors that could cause delays. Contact an Oregon personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.