In the legal world, when presented with a legal question, an attorney’s preferred response is “it depends.”
However, when it comes to the question “how often do personal injury claims go to court in California,” it is safe to say the answer is “rarely.”
The California court system tracks personal injury lawsuits with $25,000 or more in damages. The most recent data, published in 2022, shows that approximately 67,931 personal injury lawsuits were filed during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Of those 67,931 cases, a judge or a jury decided approximately 412 cases. That means less than 1% of personal injury lawsuits went to trial.
Ultimately, an attorney can’t give a definitive answer that applies to every case because each case is unique.
They must consider various factors, including the type of personal injury claim and whether there are aspects of a case on which the parties can’t agree, when evaluating how likely it is for your claim to go to court.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit filed when a person suffers harm or loss from an emotional, physical, or psychological injury. In California, any individual or entity can be held liable for intentionally or negligently causing harm to another person.
Some types of personal injury claims include slip-and-fall accidents, car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death suits, premises liability, and product liability claims.
In such cases, an injured party can recover damages from another person or entity if they can prove that the other party intentionally or negligently caused their injuries.
Personal Injury Claim Timeline
The personal injury claim timeline will likely include the following stages, beginning with an initial consultation with an attorney.
The initial consultation generally happens when the victim is well enough to reach out to an attorney not long after they were injured. During your initial consultation with an attorney, the attorney wants to learn as much about your case as possible to evaluate whether they can help you.
When you agree to let an attorney handle your claim, your attorney begins investigating the accident and the cause of your injury.
While your lawyer gathers evidence, you continue to receive medical care and treatment. This can be a long process, depending on the severity of your injuries.
It can take months or even years to complete your medical treatment. It is important that you follow your doctor’s treatment plan and document all of your injuries, losses, and expenses.
Your medical records will become crucial evidence in your personal injury case. If you can produce strong medical evidence that establishes the other party’s negligence or conduct caused your injuries, your chance of recovering compensation for damages is much higher.
When you complete your medical treatment, and your attorney completes their investigation and research, your attorney will prepare settlement demand letters which they will send to each party’s insurance providers.
The settlement demand letter is a detailed document that discusses the accident, your injuries, the legal analysis of fault, and the amount requested to settle the claim.
Because your attorney will have already gathered evidence to support your claim, this stage can be completed relatively quickly. It might take your attorney as little as a month to draft the letter.
The insurance company or other parties can agree to or decline the settlement demand. If the initial settlement demand is not accepted, then your attorney begins negotiating with the other parties to settle the claim. Negotiations could take a few months.
If the insurance company refuses to settle the claim, your attorney may advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit. You have a limited time to file lawsuits after an accident or injury.
So if the insurance company drags out the case, your lawyer might suggest filing a lawsuit to protect your rights and best interests.
Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury lawsuit can take a year or longer to resolve. Generally, a case takes between six months to three years to settle.
However, there is no “average” case, which makes it impossible to say what an “average” time to settle a personal injury claim would be. Your lawyer will work hard to move your case along as quickly as possible, but there are deadlines and phases that your attorney cannot change.
California Personal Injury Lawyers
Although personal injury claims rarely go to court, hiring an attorney is still vital to your success when pursuing a personal injury claim. Without an experienced attorney advocating for your best interests, you may not receive all of the compensation you’re entitled to.
At Peerali Law, our California personal injury lawyers will give you one-on-one attention every step of the way. No matter how complex your case is, our compassionate attorneys are ready to fight for you at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.