How Long Will My Injury Claim Take?

Category: Personal Injury

Article by Heath A. Tuley

How Long Will My Injury Claim Take?

Most personal injury claims get settled within the two-year statute of limitations for such claims in Indiana. If they don’t get settled, it might be necessary to file a lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit in Indiana can take between one additional year and several years, depending on the case’s specifics.

Generally, most injury lawsuits take one year from the time of filing to the time of mediation, while cases that require more litigation can take several years to resolve. Here, our personal injury lawyers explain why accident case timelines vary widely and how you can help move your claim along at each stage.

Overview of a Personal Injury Claim

The time it takes to resolve a claim depends on various factors, such as the case’s complexity, the jurisdiction in which it’s filed, and each party’s willingness to negotiate a settlement. Every case is different. That said, the events of a claim can be broken down into the following steps:

Incident Occurs

The timeline begins on the day of the personal injury. The injury could result from a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or other incident that harms an individual.

How to help your case: Never deny injuries in the aftermath of the accident. Denying injuries at the scene can allow the at-fault party to claim that your injuries were not serious or resulted from a different cause. The best way to help your case is to see a doctor immediately if you are injured to document the severity of your injuries.

Begin Medical Treatment

In the days after the accident, the injured party should focus on their medical treatment. Prompt and thorough medical attention safeguards the victim’s health but also creates a record of the full extent of injuries from the accident. Comprehensive medical records and doctor’s notes on the patient’s condition are crucial to the success of the personal injury claim.

How to help your case: Make sure you attend all of your follow-up visits and communicate your symptoms to your doctor during your recovery. Defense lawyers will be looking for gaps in treatment, missed appointments, refusing doctor’s advice, and other evidence that you weren’t doing your best to recover.

Consultation With an Attorney

At any point in the process, the injured party may consult an injury attorney to discuss their legal options. During this consultation, the attorney will assess the case’s viability, gather relevant information, and advise the individual on the next steps.

How to help your case: It’s vital to keep good records throughout your claim. Your lawyer will confirm the details of the accident and perform an investigation, including studying your medical records, contacting eyewitnesses, and collecting evidence from the accident scene. The more details you can provide, the less time this process will take.  Getting an attorney involved early on can help preserve evidence that may not be available months after the incident.

End of Treatment (Developing the Claim)

There will come a point where no further medical intervention will help your recovery, known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). If you’ve made a full recovery, your injuries could be fully healed, and you are expected to return to your pre-accident activities. However, some victims are left with long-term effects of the injury that may last the rest of their lives.

At this point, your lawyer will review your case to ensure that all your damages are properly accounted for. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, future medical needs, pain and suffering, and any other losses you may have incurred as a result of the injury.

How to help your case: It’s important to wait until maximum medical improvement occurs before demanding money from an insurance company or at-fault party. Accepting a settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries can leave you significantly underpaid for your suffering, with no way to ask for more compensation in the future.

Sending a Demand Letter

Once the extent of your damages is known, your injury lawyer typically sends a letter to the responsible party’s insurance company documenting damages and outlining expectations for a fair settlement.

Filing the Complaint

If your personal injury claim does not get resolved within the two-year statute of limitations, your lawyer will file a complaint in the appropriate court. This document outlines the allegations against the person and/or entity at fault (the defendant) and the damages sought by the injured party (the plaintiff).

How to help your case: It’s hard to place a final value on your losses while you’re still recovering from an injury. For this reason, your lawyer might advise you to wait to file suit until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Reaching MMI  doesn’t mean you should rush your recovery—doing so can lead to complications.

Instead, stay in contact with your attorney while your condition stabilizes and forward your medical bills to them to keep your claim on track. Your lawyer can advise you on the best time to file and ensure the statute of limitations doesn’t run out.

Service of Process and Response

After the complaint is filed, a process server or sheriff’s deputy serves the defendant with a copy of the complaint and a summons to notify them of the lawsuit.

Once served with the complaint, the defendant has a specified period to respond. The response may involve:

  • Admitting or denying the allegations
  • Raising affirmative defenses
  • Filing a counterclaim against the plaintiff

Discovery Phase

The discovery phase is crucial for both parties to exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. This information may include witness statements, medical records, expert opinions, and other documentation. Discovery methods may include depositions, interrogatories, document requests, and requests for admission.

How to help your case: Injury cases involving multiple parties (like car accidents) take longer to settle since each party is incentivized to shift the blame onto another defendant. If you’re suing an insurance company, ensure you understand the extent of your coverage. Your attorney can guide you through the process of giving a deposition and prepare you to answer questions in court.

Mediation/Pre-Trial Negotiations

Before trial, the parties may engage in mediation or settlement negotiations. During this process, they attempt to reach a mutually acceptable settlement agreement without needing a trial. The personal injury case is resolved if successful, and no trial occurs.

How to help your case: Many victims want to settle as soon as possible to avoid the stress of a trial and move on with their lives. Unfortunately, many victims have been shortchanged with fast settlements, leaving them unable to ask for more money if their condition gets worse. Listening to your attorney during settlement negotiations is important to ensure you will be compensated fairly for your suffering.


If settlement negotiations fail, the case proceeds to trial. Both parties engage in extensive trial preparation, which may involve witness preparation, finalizing exhibits, and strategizing trial tactics.

The trial begins with opening statements. First, the plaintiff presents their case, followed by the defendant. Lawyers examine and cross-examine witnesses, and relevant evidence is presented to the jury or judge. Then, both lawyers make their closing arguments, and the jury or judge deliberates to reach a verdict.

Following deliberation, the jury or judge renders a verdict. The verdict determines whether the defendant must pay for the plaintiff’s injuries and, if so, the amount of damages awarded. If the plaintiff prevails, the court issues a judgment in their favor.

Potential delays: If you decide to go to court, you face a new set of factors that can delay the outcome of your case. Many of these delays will be out of your hands. The good news is that settlement negotiations continue throughout the trial process, and you can end the trial at any time by accepting the defense’s settlement offer.

High-value claims are particularly likely to drag on because insurance companies and defense attorneys know how much it costs a victim to go to trial, placing pressure on the victim to accept a lower settlement.


Either party can appeal the trial court’s or jury’s decision if they believe legal errors affected the case outcome. The appeals process can be lengthy and involves review by a higher court, which may affirm, reverse, or remand the trial court’s decision.

If the plaintiff successfully obtains a judgment in their favor, they may need to take steps to enforce the judgment and collect the damages from the defendant. These steps may involve garnishing wages, placing liens on property, or other legal remedies.

Potential delays: If the defense appeals or refuses to pay, compensation can take months or years to receive, even if you succeed at trial.

Contact Us for Personalized Assessment of Your Case

Ultimately, the best way to gauge how long it will take to resolve your case is to talk to one of the personal injury attorneys at our law firm. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the more accurate your time and settlement estimates will be. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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