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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?

In Iowa, like in many other places, getting involved in a personal injury lawsuit can feel like entering a labyrinth. From filing a claim to settling, the process can be long, time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating.


When someone gets injured due to another person's negligence, they may have grounds for an injury claim. This could stem from various incidents, such as car accidents, workplace incidents, or medical malpractice.


Once the victim decides to pursue legal action, they typically seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to navigate the injury lawsuit. They also have more insight on the personal injury statute of limitations in Iowa.


10 Steps Involved in Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits

10 Steps Involved in Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits


By understanding the stages involved in personal injury law, victims can navigate this journey quickly and confidently. Here are the 10 key steps involved in pursuing a personal injury claim:


Initial Consultation

The process begins with an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer. During this meeting, the attorney will listen to the injured person's story, assess the case's merits, and provide guidance on the next steps.


This free consultation session allows the plaintiff to ask questions and better understand their legal rights.


Investigation Process

The investigation begins once the client proceeds with the personal injury case. This involves gathering evidence, such as witness statements, medical records, and any documentation related to the incident.


In general, the goal is to build a solid personal injury lawsuit that supports the victim's claims of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the defendant.


Settlement Negotiations

Before filing a lawsuit, most personal injury lawyers attempt to negotiate a settlement with the defendant or their insurance company.


Settlement negotiations can be a way to resolve the matter without going to court and can often result in a faster resolution for everyone involved. However, if both parties cannot reach a fair personal injury settlement, the next step is to file a lawsuit.


Filing a Lawsuit

The formal process of filing a personal injury lawsuit involves preparing and submitting legal documents to the court. This initiates the legal proceedings and officially puts the defendant on notice of the claims being made against them.


Once the lawsuit is filed, the defendant will have a specified period to respond to the allegations. The plaintiff's lawyer must serve the defendant the papers within 30 to 60 days of filing.


On the other hand, the other party will receive an extra 30 days to respond accordingly. Many defendants ask for an additional 15 days before responding to the victim's injury attorney.


Written Questions

Before the trial, both parties may exchange written questions, known as interrogatories. These questions aim to gather more information about the case.


They may cover topics such as the nature and extent of the injuries, the incident's circumstances, and any prior medical history.


The defendant and the plaintiff must respond to the questions within 35 days. Attorneys representing both parties then review the answers. They may file for a complaint amendment if the answers are unsatisfactory.


Medical Examination

As part of the discovery process, the other party's insurance company may ask the wounded person to undergo a medical examination.


The court will assign a neutral physician for this part of the process. During this step, an experienced personal injury attorney representing the plaintiff must be present.


This examination helps assess the extent of the injuries and their impact on the car accident victim's life. The findings from the medical examination play a crucial role in determining the case's outcome.


Oral Statements

Depositions are oral statements given under oath by parties involved in the lawsuit, witnesses, and other relevant parties.


Testimonies allow injury attorneys in Des Moines to gather answers and evidence for trial use. They also let both sides assess the strengths and weaknesses of their personal injury cases.


Witness Depositions

In addition to the plaintiff and the defendant, witnesses may be deposed as part of the negotiation process.


Eyewitness statements involve questioning people who have relevant information about the incident or the injuries sustained. Their testimony can help corroborate the injured person's claims and strengthen their case.


Personal Injury Case Trial

If the case does not settle during pre-trial negotiations, it will proceed to trial. Both parties present their arguments and evidence to a judge or jury at trial, who will ultimately decide the case's outcome.


Trials can be lengthy and complex, ranging between two weeks to two months. Still, they offer a forum for the injured person to seek justice and fair compensation for their damages and medical treatment expenses.


Settlement Disbursement

If the plaintiff prevails at trial or reaches a settlement agreement, the final step is the disbursement of the settlement funds. The court reimburses the deserving party within 30 days of a verdict.


After deducting any legal fees and expenses, the remaining amount is distributed to the victim to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages incurred due to the injury. A personal injury lawsuit timeline can be as long as two years or more.


Settling a Personal Injury Claim Is Final

Settling a Personal Injury Claim Is Final


When resolving personal injury claims, settling marks the end of the road. It's a decision that carries weight and finality, as it often closes the chapter on a challenging and sometimes taxing journey.


In simpler terms, settling means entirely ending the dispute. By accepting the offer and signing the necessary documents, the injured party agrees to forego any further legal action against the defendant concerning the incident.


After finalizing the settlement and signing the necessary paperwork, the terms of the agreement are binding and enforceable by law. This means the victim cannot later change their mind and pursue additional compensation from the defendant for the same issue.


Considering the finality of settling an injury claim, plaintiffs should consider their options before reaching an agreement.


Future Expenses

It's essential to consider any future medical treatment or losses that may arise due to the injury. Settlements should account for both current and anticipated future costs.


Legal Advice

Seeking guidance from an experienced lawyer is crucial before agreeing to a settlement. An attorney can evaluate the offer, advise on its fairness, and negotiate on behalf of the injured party to ensure they receive appropriate compensation.


Final Words


The path to settling an injury lawsuit is filled with twists and turns in Iowa. While some cases may resolve relatively quickly, others can stretch for months or years.


Throughout this process, having the support of a qualified lawyer can make a significant difference. In this event, the professionals at Tom Fowler Law can provide invaluable expertise.

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