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Average Timeline of a Personal Injury Case in California

There is no average timeline for a personal injury case in California. Even if average timeline statistics were available, each case is completely different. Knowing the average time for a personal injury case would not affect your case.

Factors Affecting the Timeline for a Personal Injury Case

san mateo california personal injury lawyer

Some factors that may affect the timeline for your case are:

The Severity of Your Damages

If you have significant damages, your case may take longer to resolve.

While this is not always the case, more substantial damages may:

  • Require you to pursue a substantial recovery, which liable parties may be hesitant to provide
  • Necessitate a longer investigative process
  • Require you to file a lawsuit and possibly go to trial

Conversely, if you have relatively minor damages, all parties may be willing to settle quickly.

The Complexity of Your Case

Some cases are more cut-and-dry than others. If a motorist strikes your vehicle, admits fault, and offers fair compensation, then your case may move swiftly. Other cases may be far more complex.

A personal injury case in California may become complicated if:

  • The subject matter of the case is complex by nature—medical malpractice being one example
  • The defendant(s) in the case refuse to accept liability
  • The plaintiff and defendant have significantly different ideas of “fair” compensation
  • A plaintiff has unresolved damages, such as ongoing medical issues

Cases may become even more complex if they go to trial. Settling is almost always the quickest, simplest resolution for a personal injury case.

The Willingness of Liable Parties to Settle

The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that most personal injury cases settle. In some cases, though, one or more parties may refuse to settle. A defendant may refuse to accept liability, even if settling is the safer financial option. A plaintiff may be determined to seek maximum compensation at trial. Whatever the reason for bypassing a settlement, going to trial generally means extending the timeline of your case.

The Effectiveness of Legal Counsel

Though some factors are outside a lawyer’s control, an effective attorney may secure a comparatively quick resolution. An effective negotiator, for example, may secure a fair settlement without having to go to trial. A strong lawyer is not a guarantee of a short case timeline, but effective counsel can more efficiently get you the compensation you deserve.

Steps That You Can Expect in a Personal Injury Case

Though each case is unique, personal injury cases may follow a similar pattern. Some steps in your case might have deadlines. Other steps, like settlement negotiations, might be more open-ended.

As the plaintiff in a personal injury case in California, you can generally expect to:

  • Receive medical treatment: If you’re seeking coverage for an injury, you’ll need documentation of the injury. You should also seek medical treatment to preserve your health.
  • Consult an attorney: Victims of motorcycle accidents in California must make hiring an attorney a priority. Your attorney can assist with every other aspect of your case.
  • Deal with insurance companies: Many personal injury cases—though not all—will involve insurance companies. Motor vehicle accidents and premises liability cases may commonly involve insurance companies.
  • File either an insurance claim or lawsuit: Your choice may depend on how much coverage insurance policies provide and which losses the policy covers. Your attorney can advise you on which approach is best and file your claim or lawsuit for you.
  • Negotiate for compensation: Or, you can expect your lawyer to negotiate. Your lawyer may negotiate even before they file a lawsuit. Insurers, defendants, and other attorneys may man the other side of the negotiating table. The result of negotiations may be an insurance payout, settlement, or no deal at all.
  • Go to trial instead of a settlement: If your attorney doesn’t secure a settlement, they may proceed to trial.

Your attorney may continue to seek a settlement even as trial proceedings begin. A settlement can occur at virtually any time. In some cases, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may occur.

The Many Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in California

Even if you have prior experience and legal background, you should still choose to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer. You may hire a lawyer for your case in California because:

You Have Limited Time or Energy

Most accident victims had little time to spare even before they suffered an unexpected injury. Between doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation, medical rest, and your pre-existing responsibilities, you may be stretched as thin as ever. Now imagine adding the time constraints of a lawsuit or insurance claim to your list of responsibilities. For most, it’s simply not realistic.

You Don’t Want to Risk Losing Your Case

Faced with limited time and energy, are you confident that you can complete your case effectively? This is the real question. Even if you could complete your claim or lawsuit on your own, would you be able to put forth a strong case?

A lawyer handles cases like yours for a living. They will expend the necessary time and resources not just to conclude your case but to argue a strong case.

You Value the Expertise and Resources That a Law Firm Provides

A capable law firm promises:

  • Relevant case experience
  • A track record of success
  • Paralegals, investigators, experts, and other resources
  • Legal knowledge

These offerings have value. It’s your decision of how much value to assign them. For many plaintiffs, the worth of these benefits is great.

Don’t Wait to Get Legal Help for a California Personal Injury Case

If you suffered injuries, lost a loved one, or experienced harm of any kind, consult an attorney. Even if you ultimately take no action, speaking with a personal injury attorney is a prudent move.

An attorney will review your case. They’ll explain whether you have grounds for an insurance claim or lawsuit. They can help you execute either course of action.

California statutes generally allow you two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury case. This is one more reason to secure legal help as quickly as you can.

Personal Injury

Client Reviews

    I retained Ilya Frangos of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos on a business litigation matter involving a frivolous lawsuit filed in federal court. Ilya guided me through the case and helped make sure that I understood the process… He always took the time to answer all my questions and helped put my mind at ease. I would highly recommend him and this firm!


    I called Mr Frye after my wife had passed away… John listened to my case over the phone, after aggreeing to represent me, handled everything from there… I have already recommended Mr Frye to a friend for help with a similiar case and would without reserve recommend him to anybody. He came highly recommended as an expert in these type cases, and I believe he demonstrated this personally.


    Chantel Fitting is as good as it gets. If you have been injured, need help and cant get what you know you deserve from one of the big insurance companies, then you have got to call Chantel. She will fight for you like it was her that was hurt… She cares. Call her. You wont be sorry you did.

    Cindy C.

    A great experience. Excellent law firm which treats their client’s with the utmost respect. Very knowledgeable and made me fell extremely secure when handling my personal injury claim. Would highly recommend Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to handle your next case.

    Lisa D.

    I was fortunate enough to have been represented and retained by this law firm for my injuries sustained by an under insured motorist. I must say Chantel Fitting and Illya Frangos went above and beyond trying to resolve my case… I would highly recommend this law firm and stop shopping around if you are looking for the best, as this is as good as it gets.

    Joanna K.

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