Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

March 26, 2021

Waiting for your personal injury case to resolve can be difficult for you, your family, and everyone involved. Knowing what to expect and how long each step takes can make the process a little easier. 

First Six Months 

The first six months of a personal injury lawsuit are typically dedicated to medical recovery and the initial investigation. 

Medical Treatment

After an accident, medical treatment is the highest priority. It is the right thing to do for both your health and your claim. Any delay in medical treatment can signal to an insurance company that your injuries aren’t severe. 


After you have hired a lawyer, they will begin an independent investigation into your accident to build your case. That involves obtaining the police accident report, interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, pay stubs, receipts for any accident-related expenses, hiring experts, and more. The amount of time this process takes can depend on the specifics of your case. 

Demand Letter

After reviewing all the documentation and evidence in your case, your lawyer can give you a better estimate of your case’s value. They will then draft a demand letter to send to the at-fault party’s insurer, detailing the facts of the accident and asking for a certain amount of compensation by a specific date to resolve the claim.

It is typically recommended to hold off on sending a demand letter until you have fully recovered or reached the point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). Waiting will give both you and your attorney the most accurate information regarding how much you need to fully cover your losses. 

Once the insurance company receives the demand letter, negotiations will begin. If an agreement can be reached, the case will settle, and a lawsuit does not need to be filed. Your attorney should keep you informed of the settlement discussions and the realistic chances of resolving your case outside of court. 

Months Six to 12 

Under Minnesota’s statute of limitations, you can file a personal injury lawsuit anytime within two years from an injury. In general, the timeline is six months to one year following the accident. 

Filing a Lawsuit

Once you file, the court has about 30 to 60 days to serve the summons to the defendant. The defense (at-fault party) then has 30 days to respond with an answer. Within 60 days of filing suit, both parties send interrogatories (questions) to the other for further investigation. This step typically has a 35-day response period but can take several months. 


Months 12 to 18

In the first year of your lawsuit, the discovery phase will begin, and it is common to expect the following: 


Depositions require a lot of preparation on both sides and are close to a mini-trial. Attorneys for both sides can depose each other’s witnesses and victims. They can go on for about three months.

Independent Medical Examination

It is common for the defense to require you to be examined by one of its doctors in the presence of an attorney. An examination can take months to complete. 

Expert Witnesses

If a settlement has not been reached in negotiations by the 16th or 17th month, both parties will hire expert witnesses to support their respective sides of the claim. This process may take around six months. 

Months 18 to 24 and Beyond 

Mediation & Negotiations

The discovery phase provides each side with much more information regarding the strength of evidence and the likely outcome if it goes to trial. As a result, a second attempt to settle the case will typically occur towards the end of discovery. Over 95 percent of civil cases settle before making it to trial. 


If negotiations and mediation are unsuccessful, your case will go to trial. Depending on your claim’s complexity, the trial itself may take a day, a week, or sometimes months. 

Speak to a Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer  

If you believe you have a personal injury case, contact Hall Law P.A. Our highly skilled Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We have offices in St. Cloud, Edina, and Downtown Minneapolis and offer free consultations in-person, or via zoom or FaceTime. Message us online or call 800-292-1979 today.