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How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

  1. How Long It Takes to Reach a Settlement Depends on Your Situation
  2. Completing Your Medical Treatment Before Resolving Your Legal Claim
  3. The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Washington State
  4. What Happens After a Lawsuit Gets Filed?
  5. Our Personal Injury Law Firm Pushes Your Lawsuit to Completion

The short answer is that a personal injury lawsuit can take anywhere from several months to several years, depending on whether the case settles, goes to trial, or gets appealed. 

When your personal injury lawyer from Herschensohn Law manages your case, they can explain the legal process and everything it entails. They can also explain what constitutes a fair settlement offer, along with other relevant details. To learn more about your injury lawsuit and options, call (206) 588-4344.

How Long It Takes to Reach a Settlement Depends on Your Situation

The claims adjuster might make a quick settlement offer after learning about your case. Usually, early settlement offers are low because the claims adjusters are just “testing the waters” to see if they can get lucky and settle claims for pennies on the dollar.

People often think of settlements and lawsuits in personal injury cases as two separate stages of the legal process, but that is not always accurate. A settlement can happen at any time, even during a trial or an appeal. Because most personal injury cases get resolved without a trial, do not give up hope on a settlement even after a lawsuit gets filed. 

Completing Your Medical Treatment Before Resolving Your Legal Claim

You do not want to settle or file a personal injury lawsuit before you finish your medical treatment, so waiting to reach that point can add time to the legal process. Completing your medical treatment is essential for these reasons:

  • The cost of your medical treatment will be a significant measure of the financial recovery you can seek, as well as a way to determine the pain and suffering you endured.
  • You can recover medical expenses from the liable party. After you resolve your case, you cannot go back and ask for more money from the defendant. By completing treatment, you can ensure that your treatment costs are fully accounted for. 
  • Until you finish your prescribed medical intervention, you do not know if you will heal completely. If you have long-term impairment from your injuries, your settlement or verdict could be higher than if you healed 100 percent.

It can be a balancing act, however, to decide when to sue because Washington State limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long while waiting to complete your medical treatments, you might not be allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit at all.

When you work with our team, we can advise you on your options and suggest a path moving forward. 

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The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Washington State

The filing deadline (also called the statute of limitations) for personal injury lawsuits in Washington is three years, according to RCW § 4.16.080. Your attorneys must file the lawsuit even if it is only to protect you from the harsh consequences of missing the deadline, and even if a settlement is on the horizon. 

Missing the filing deadline could cost you the right to seek financial compensation forever, even if you have severe injuries and other losses. Also, since the defendant is no longer legally liable for the accident after the filing deadline expires, even then you will not be able to negotiate a settlement.

What Happens After a Lawsuit Gets Filed?

The parties start preparing for trial right after a personal injury lawsuit gets filed. The injured party seeks supporting evidence that aims to bolster their case and compel damages. 

The defendant, on the other hand, looks for evidence that supports a defense they might have against the case. This phase of the lawsuit is the pre-trial or discovery stage.

Both Parties Learn as Much as They Can About the Accident 

The involved parties try to learn as much as they can about the other side’s case during this stage. Some of the legal methods they use can include the following:

  • Interrogatories. These are written questions that must be answered in writing, under oath, usually within about a month. Each party can send interrogatories to the other parties.
  • Request for the production of documents. Here, one party requests to see any relevant bank statements, medical records, or other information that could prove useful in supporting their case. 
  • Request for admissions. A party can send a written request to another party, asking them to admit or deny certain allegations, like that they suffered a long-term disability from the accident. As with most other forms of written discovery, the receiving party must comply or file objections within about a month.
  • Depositions. Typically, a deposition takes place at an attorney’s office. A court reporter is present, recording what gets said when the parties are on the record. Depositions can involve exhibits that get attached to the transcript that the court reporter prepares afterward.

The discovery stage can take a few months or more than a year, depending on the circumstances. Patience is key during this time; hastily accepting a settlement offer could deprive you of fair compensation. 

A Judge and Jury Hear the Case 

It can take many months after discovery to get a spot on the judge’s trial calendar. At trial the attorneys for the plaintiff present their case to the court by presenting evidence, which can be done through the presentation of live testimony, documents, and other evidence. The defense can cross-examine witnesses and make objections.

Afterward, the defense lawyers present their case in the same way as the plaintiff did: through evidence. The plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer can object and cross-examine witnesses. The jury will then deliberate and decide the outcome. 

Our Personal Injury Law Firm Pushes Your Lawsuit to Completion

The legal team at Herschensohn Law handles personal injury trials routinely. If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence, we can manage your case and everything it entails. What’s more, we can prevent any unjust delays from impeding your case’s progression. 

We are happy to offer a free initial consultation. Simply reach out to us today at (206) 588-4344 to get started. Our experienced attorneys are confident that we can meet your needs.  

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When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

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We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.