So now you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit – how long will this take?

So now you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit – how long will this take?

So now you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit – how long will this take? 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

Understanding Your Case Part II

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Timing is everything. And yet, when you file a lawsuit and are subject to the Court’s availability and the calendars of lawyers and other parties, the wheels of justice can move very – very slowly.

So how long will your Virginia injury case take?

The sad but true answer, it depends – but likely between 1 year and 2 years. Even if our firm only had your case to handle, cases take time. The arch of your case should look something like this:

  • Contact Virginia law firm – firm undergoes an investigation internally as to whether there are conflicts / interest in handling case (1-2 weeks)
  • Firm decides to do investigation – asks you to help in gathering medical records. Sadly, this is often the longest and most frustrating part. We may ask you to complete forms that state records should be provided in 2 weeks, but because people are human and often miss things – our experience has been record gathering often takes 4-6 weeks to get them all.
  • Firm reviews records – and either declines case, or recommends hiring experts.
  • Hiring experts can also be a lengthy process – often finding one will take months. This process could take anything from 1 month to much much longer.
  • If experts agree – THEN AND ONLY then can you file a lawsuit.

So we are 6 months in and the lawsuit hasn’t even been filed yet!

Filing the lawsuit

  • Drafting the lawsuit – could take a few weeks
  • Then, once it’s filed with the Court – you must serve the defendants (this could take a few weeks)
  • Then, defendants have 30 days to respond
  • Next is discovery – the written and oral asking of questions. THIS TAKES months.
  • Asking for a trial date early in discovery is important. Your trial date will be used as an anchor in your case for timing.**

** you may ask – do I really have to go to trial? And the answer is – we don’t know. But we are always ready and prepared to go tor trial if the defendant is unwilling to be accountable and make a fair settlement offer.

  • Your trial date will likely be 9 months to a year from the date you ask – and that time between is spent gathering information, speaking to witnesses, getting information to experts, etc.
  • Trial – if you have a trial, it will take 3-4 days in most serious injury cases.

This is why injury cases can take up to 2 years to resolve.

And there will be weeks where our firm is focusing on your case, and other weeks where there is nothing to be done – or we are waiting for the other side to respond to some kind of document request.

The sad truth is that the process is a lengthy one, and requires allot of patience.

The other sad truth is that a lot can happen in your life during a 1-2 year period. Sometimes the family members who file a lawsuit are not there at the end, or the injured party dies of their injuries. Even in those cases it is not easy to push the case timing any faster.

But please don’t see it all as bad news. If your goal in litigation is to change how a doctor practices, or change how a facility handles a certain medical issue, sometimes the exhausting process of litigation has an impact on the defendants too. Sometimes, it gives them time to consider what their carelessness has done.

Questions about your Virginia injury or malpractice case? Contact us.

About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at

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