How Long Does an Injury Case Last?

Wooden scrabble letters spelling out Personal Injury Law.

A common question we receive as attorneys is “How long will my injury case last?”  Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  The length of your case depends on the particular facts of your unique case.  Here are several factors that can affect how long your personal injury case will last.

What Kind of Case Do You Have?

The biggest factor that will affect the length of your case is what kind of case you have.  For example, products liability and medical malpractice cases involve complicated factual issues and many more witnesses.  Cases like these could take 1-3 years and if it’s a complicated case that gets appealed, it could take up top 5-6 years to finalize.  On the other hand, if you have a rather simple case like getting rear-ended while driving with minor injuries, you may be able to reach a settlement within 4-5 months without having to file a lawsuit.  It really just depends on what type of case you have.

Do Your Injuries Exceed the Insurance Limits?

Another factor that can affect the length of your case is your injuries and the insurance limits.  When your injuries do not exceed the insurance limits and there are more difficult factual disputes in the case, your case might take a bit longer.  Another thing to consider is the potential consequences of settling too early. You don’t want to rush into a settlement without knowing the full extent of your injuries and how much medical care you will need to recover.  If you are seeking treatment for your injuries and still have to follow up with your medical professional, there is no harm in waiting to see the results of the follow up.  If you rush to settle and later find out that you have more injuries or need more medical treatment, you can never go back and ask for more compensation.

However, if your medical bills exceed the amount of insurance coverage available from the at-fault party, the insurance company will probably pay its policy limits quickly. This is because insurance companies owe a duty to their insureds to protect their insureds’ personal assets by settling legitimate cases within the policy limits when they are given an opportunity to do so.

Does Your Attorney Have to File a Lawsuit?

Getting your case resolved without filing a lawsuit will result in faster compensation. However, this is only advisable when the at-fault party or their insurer make a reasonable offer to settle. If a reasonable settlement offer is not made by the at-fault party or their insurer, a lawsuit may be necessary to maximize any recovery. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the lawsuit process usually takes well over a year. 

If you want to settle your case without filing a lawsuit, the right timing largely depends on the severity of the injuries, what the medical bills are and what insurance is available (i.e. How long does it take to know the full extent of your medical damages as well as your future prognosis?).  If your attorney ends up having to file a lawsuit, plan for more time to resolve your case.  When a lawsuit is filed, there may be many months of formal discovery, mediations, trials and possible appeals.

What Court Is Your Lawsuit Filed In?

Another factor that can affect the length of your case is what court your case is filed in.  For small claims in Georgia, you can file in Magistrate Court and get a hearing pretty quickly.  If your case is filed in State Court or Superior Court, it may take longer because there are other criminal cases that take priority.  Federal courts are typically faster than state courts because federal district courts have strict deadlines and rules you must follow the help expedite the case.

Overall, the time it will take to get your case settled depends on the particular facts of your case.  If you have been injured and would like a free consultation on the particulars of your Georgia personal injury claim, please reach out to the attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter by calling 833-LEGAL-GA.

What Happens After You File a Lawsuit?

A piece of paper with Notice of Lawsuit printed at the top with a pen laying on the paper.

If you have never been involved in a personal injury case, the first step in understanding the litigation process is how to file a lawsuit. Once you file a lawsuit, the next question is likely, “What happens after I file a lawsuit?”  What can you expect after your lawsuit is served? 

Answer & Discovery

Once your lawsuit is served on the at-fault party, the other side typically responds by filing an Answer to your Complaint.  In the Answer, the Defendant must admit or deny the allegations in your lawsuit.  Once an Answer is filed, discovery usually begins when the parties exchange things like interrogatories (formal written questions) and requests for production of documents pertaining to your case.  The next part of discovery involves things like taking depositions, doing inspections, hiring experts to review documents, etc.


After the discovery phase, the parties usually participate in mediation. Mediation is a formal settlement conference where you will meet with a mediator, or neutral party.  Usually, mediators are experienced attorneys or retired judges that have extensive legal experience.  This neutral party will hear both sides of the case, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and essentially try to broker a deal.  The goal of mediation is to get the case settled.


If you cannot settle your case through mediation, the next step in the litigation process is trial.  Trials are not easy; A trial takes a lot of time, effort, and preparation but can be very rewarding for the client in the end.  Success at trial is closely tied to three things: (1) Pre-trial preparation, (2) the strength of your case, and (3) your lawyer’s trial skills. Trials rarely go well for those who are unprepared. Chase and Joel give some important tips for winning the trial of a personal injury case in this video:


If for some reason your case goes sideways or you lose your case at trial, you always have the option to appeal.  An appeal would be the last potential step in the litigation process.

If you have never been involved with a personal injury case before, please don’t go through this process alone.  Seek a trustworthy and knowledgeable attorney to consult with right away.

For a free consultation, call Williams Elleby Howard & Easter today at 833-534-2542.