If you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. However, how long you have to make a claim is limited, so time is of the essence. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will increase your chances of a successful outcome and ease the financial burdens you face due to the injuries.
You may wonder how much time you will have to invest in a Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuit. The simple answer? It depends.
The length of a personal injury case in Pennsylvania varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction or county to county. For example, in Philadelphia, from the time your lawsuit is filed until you enter the courtroom for a trial typically takes about two and a half years. The process here used to take much longer, even up to nine or ten years, but it’s down to under three now in most cases. In other counties in Pennsylvania, it may be up to four or more.
Throughout the state, many lawsuits settle before going to trial, significantly reducing the time.
Your attorney must first establish that you have a case that qualifies to make a personal injury claim. This should not take too long. There are four parts:
Once an attorney determines that you do, in fact, have a case, they might file a lawsuit on your behalf. Once the suit is filed, some things can cause a delay in the lawsuit.
Every personal injury case is unique, and what may take only a short time in one case can take much longer in others. Some areas that might cause a delay in the proceedings are the initial investigation, the discovery process, establishing damages, pre-trial motions, and whether the case settles or goes to trial.
The initial investigation conducted by your attorney might take some time. They will have to be able to prove responsibility, and that takes evidence. If the personal injury was investigated by the police, such as in a car accident, records of the event might be easily attainable. In other cases, it might be challenging. Your attorney may have to hire an investigator to work on the case, which could take some time.
Discovery is the part of a case in which the attorneys from both sides have to share the information they have pertaining to the case with one another. The information may include the following:
Depending on the amount of discovery, and the cooperation of the attorneys, this phase could move quickly, or it could take a while.
Establishing damages requires collecting documentation to prove what you have lost financially due to your injuries. Medical bills and expenses are easy to obtain, and the dollar amounts are exact. Other damages, like future income loss, aren’t as cut and dry. Sometimes personal injury attorneys must consult financial experts to make that determination. That can cause the case to take longer.
Before a trial, the lawyers involved in personal injury suits may make any number of pre-trial motions. These motions are made to the court for various reasons. It could be that one side or the other thinks that they should win the case without going to trial, or it could pertain to discovery, or it could merely be questions about the complaint. Depending on how many pre-trial motions there are, a personal injury case could take a while.
In Pennsylvania, personal injury claims can be settled at any time during the case’s progress. If both sides can agree to a settlement, the case will not go to trial, and the agreed-upon damages will be awarded to the plaintiff. Depending on when the settlement is agreed upon, this can significantly shorten the time it takes to conclude the case.
A personal injury trial itself typically doesn’t delay the progress of the case by a lot, because these types of trials usually only take a few days in court. The delay when a trial is necessary can come from the scheduling of the trial date – it could be pretty far in the future, and due to the appeal process, once there is a verdict in the case, either side can file an appeal, and the case might go back to court.
Every personal injury case needs an experienced attorney, no matter the specific circumstances. When there are catastrophic injuries, this is especially true. It’s important that the attorney you hire has access to medical and other experts, and ample resources to handle your case.
At Ross Feller Casey, we can provide you with that. Our experienced attorneys are knowledgeable in all areas of personal injury law in Pennsylvania. We have medical experts on staff to assist with the medical aspects of your case, and we have the resources to handle your lawsuit to its conclusion. We have a proven track record of winning multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements in catastrophic personal injury lawsuits.
If you have been injured due to negligence, please contact our office for your free case evaluation.
All our personal injury claims are handled on a contingency basis, so you will not be charged anything until a financial award is made.
Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.