Woman with a serious personal injury from an accident at a doctor's office.

Timeline of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits are affected by many factors, differing from case to case. The extent of your injuries and cooperation between parties are two largely determining factors in how your case will advance.  

There is some consistency in the process, however, and relying on an experienced California personal injury attorney to handle the details while you recover is invaluable. 

Seek Medical Care

The first thing to do when injured in an accident is to seek medical attention. Visit the emergency room or make an immediate appointment with your personal care physician.

Your doctor will assess and document your injuries and, most importantly, put you on the path to healing and recovery. 

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Early communication with a personal injury attorney is imperative. Hire a skilled California personal injury attorney specializing in your type of injury accident as soon as possible. 

Even if you think your injuries are minor and that you can settle your claim yourself, working with a personal injury attorney is a better idea.  The Insurance Research Council reports that attorneys hired in personal injury cases receive 3.5 times larger settlements than claimants who settle with insurance adjusters on their own. 


Your lawyer will spend a few weeks, maybe months, gathering facts about the injury incident and resulting medical treatments. Your medical progress and expenses will be monitored by your attorney for purposes of factoring long-term needs into the settlement. 


Once your attorney has compiled the facts of your claim, they will submit a claim and demand package, opening negotiations with the opposing party. Though this period of talks can take months, many cases are often resolved during this phase.

File Your Lawsuit

If your case cannot be settled through negotiation, your attorney will file a lawsuit against the opposing party.  After your lawsuit is filed, discovery will follow.


Discovery is a process whereby each party exchanges documents, evidence, and deposes witnesses as part of the investigation into the other party’s legal claims and defenses. The time frame for discovery can be a few months to a year or more. 

More Negotiation

Post-discovery, another round of negotiations generally ensues.  Settlement offers are presented by both sides in a final attempt to avoid trial.


Your attorney will advise you on the merits of proceeding to trial with your personal injury case, explaining the benefits, risks, possible outcomes, and likely duration of the proceedings, which may extend several years. 

How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

Sometimes, personal injury lawsuits are settled in a relatively short amount of time.  Other times, opposing parties reach an impasse, delaying resolution until the matter can be heard at court. 

With an experienced California personal injury attorney on your side, you can feel confident that proper steps are being taken toward a fast resolution and best possible outcome.  Contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys today to get started and receive the compensation you deserve.