Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of somebody else, you are likely entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. In most cases, personal injury claims in Tennessee are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers.

However, if an insurance carrier denies a claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement amount to the injury victim, it may be necessary for the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Here, we want to discuss the personal injury lawsuit timeline so you have an idea of what to expect if your case reaches this point.

Filing the Personal Injury Claim

The first step in most injury claims is not filing a personal injury lawsuit. The reality is that insurance carriers are typically able to resolve personal injury claims before a lawsuit becomes necessary. This is typically the quickest route towards resolving a personal injury claim. However, as we mentioned, the insurance carrier could deny a claim or refuse to offer a fair settlement amount. When that happens, the personal injury attorney for the injury victim will file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf against the alleged negligent party. By the time a personal injury lawsuit is filed, this is typically after a few months of back and forth with insurance carriers. However, it is certainly possible to skip the insurance carriers and file a personal injury lawsuit from the start.

The Discovery Process

After a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, the discovery process will begin. This is the part of the process where attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant will exchange evidence with one another to ensure that everybody is operating with complete information. Investigations into the injury incident will also continue, and any new information will be turned over to the other party as well.

During the discovery phase, it is not uncommon for one side to realize that they have a strong case or a weak case and decide to settle or drop the claim. However, that does not always happen. The discovery and investigation process can drag on for months or years. This process could also include witnesses giving depositions in order for both sides to gain a clear understanding of what to expect when and if a trial occurs.

Possible Mediation

It is not uncommon for a judge to order both parties to go into mediation in an attempt to resolve the claim before the process goes to trial. Mediation is typically conducted by a neutral third party. Mediations themselves will not take too long once they begin, but they are not guaranteed to produce a successful resolution.

The Trial

If a personal injury case is not resolved by both parties during the discovery process or through negotiations or mediation, the case will have to go to trial. There is no way to know exactly how long it will take for a case to go to trial, as the parties will have to wait until their case comes up on the docket. This can take more than a year to occur. Once the trial begins, both parties will have a chance to tell their side to a jury. The jury will then make a decision about whether or not the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries and how much the defendant should pay the plaintiff.

The Appeals

If either party is not happy with the outcome of the trial, they will be able to appeal the decision. The appellate court process is much different than the original jury trial process for a personal injury claim, and both parties will likely continue to need assistance from an attorney to help them along the way. The appeals process can take some time to wind through after the initial trial is over with.