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Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline in California: What You Need to Know

Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

Understanding the personal injury lawsuit timeline is crucial if you have suffered from a car accident or a slip and fall in California. It can be overwhelming and confusing to try and put your life back together after an injury, but knowing the timeline for your case will help you prepare for the journey ahead and give you an idea of what it will take to get to trial.

Although each personal injury case is unique, California has a few common milestones that are applicable to all cases. Familiarizing yourself with these milestones will enable you to manage your expectations throughout the process and make informed decisions about your legal proceedings.

In this article, we have broken down everything you need to know about the personal injury lawsuit timeline in California. We aim to provide you with a clear and concise understanding of the process, including key milestones such as filing a claim, discovery, settlement negotiations, and trial. Understanding the timeline for your case will equip you with the necessary information to make informed decisions about your legal proceedings.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline in California

Each state has its own pretrial process, but it can take between one or two years for your case to go to trial. It is important to wait for Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). However, it is essential that you file a lawsuit within a specified time period or you could lose your right to bring any claim.

California law allows you two years to file a claim against the parties involved in most cases. There are a few exceptions to this rule. There are two exceptions to this rule: claims where the plaintiff is minor or mentally incapacitated to assert their claim; and claims where the defendant has fraudulently evaded service of any kind or fled the country.

What to Do After Being Injured in an Accident?

While your case details may differ, the process for filing a personal injury claim is generally the same.

Seek Medical Treatment

After being hurt in an accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even if your injuries are not severe, it is important to seek medical attention. This will allow you to receive prompt diagnosis and treatment, as well as establish a connection between your injuries and the accident.

Find a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury cases can be made easier by hiring the right personal injury lawyer. A reputable and experienced lawyer will help you navigate every step and ease your worries. They will also offer professional advice and advocate for your case with efficiency as well as aggressiveness.

Initial Investigation Stage

After you have secured a top-notch lawyer, it is time for them to begin digging into the details of the incident. Your lawyer will review and evaluate official documents, such as police reports, witness testimony, and video surveillance, when they are available. Your personal injury lawyer will likely also contact medical professionals to support your case.

Demand Letter and Settlement Negotiations

Your lawyer will use the information to create a demand letter for the responsible party. This letter will contain the facts about the incident and the legal reasons why the insured is being blamed. It also includes a demand for compensation. This letter usually starts the negotiation process. The insurance company representing the at-fault party will often counter by making an offer.

Filing a Lawsuit

Your attorney can file a lawsuit against the insurance company if they fail to settle your claim. Your attorney will serve the lawsuit against the defendant. After they are served with the lawsuit, they will have a specified time period to respond. The court will oversee the case and enforce strict timelines once the lawsuit has been filed.

The Claim Discovery Stage

The formal discovery process, where both sides exchange information relevant to the lawsuit, begins after the plaintiff files the lawsuit. This includes requests for evidence/document production and interrogatories. Then, the formal discovery process begins. Your lawyer will secure evidence during this process.

Discussions and Mediation

Even if the lawsuit is pending, your personal injury attorney can still negotiate a settlement. This can be done informally or through mediation. A neutral third party listens and evaluates the evidence and arguments in the case before making a recommendation to help the parties reach a settlement.

Your attorney will typically start the mediation by making a demand. The defendant will then respond with a counteroffer. The parties will then exchange information, trying to reach an agreement.


Even if the insurance company refuses fair compensation, mediation may not be enough. Each party has the right to present evidence, question witnesses and make arguments during the trial. After hearing all evidence, the judge or jury will decide on damages and liability.

A personal injury case could last for days, weeks, or longer depending on the facts and the severity of the case.

Trust The Professional California Personal Injury Lawyers at Tenina Law

If you or a loved one has been injured in California, it is crucial to understand the personal injury lawsuit timeline. At Tenina Law, we have extensive experience in personal injury law and can guide you through the legal process from start to finish.

Our team of dedicated attorney will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses. We understand that this can be a stressful and overwhelming time, but we are here to support you every step of the way.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to discuss your case and learn more about personal injury. By working with Tenina Law, you can rest assured that you have a strong legal team fighting for your rights and best interests. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.

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