How long does it take to settle a civil litigation lawsuit?
If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a civil litigation lawsuit, you may be feeling overwhelmed, unsure of what to do next, and wondering how long it will take for the case to be resolved. The length of time it takes to settle a civil litigation lawsuit can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. Some lawsuits may be resolved relatively quickly, while others can drag on for years. There are options, however, for settling the case without going to trial. Whether you choose to negotiate a settlement, mediate, or use alternative dispute resolution methods, our team can help present available solutions to move forward so you can put the legal battle behind you. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the factors that can impact the timeline of a civil litigation lawsuit and what you can do to help manage the process.
Factors that can prolong litigation resolution
One of the most significant factors that can affect the timeline of a civil litigation lawsuit is the complexity of the case. Cases involving complex legal issues or a large amount of evidence may take longer to resolve than simpler cases. Additionally, if the parties involved in the lawsuit are unable to come to an agreement on key issues, it can prolong the litigation process and increase the amount of time it takes to settle the case. Another factor that can impact the timeline of a civil litigation lawsuit is the availability of the parties involved. If one or more of the parties is difficult to locate, it can prolong initiation of litigation.
The court system itself can also impact the timeline of a civil litigation lawsuit. Generally speaking, prior to the pandemic a litigated file could take 9-12 months minimum on average to resolve. However, due to unprecedented Court closures during this time, there has been a significant backlog created. In a post-pandemic world, it is not uncommon for litigated cases to take more than a year to resolve. The schedules of the judges and attorneys involved in the case can also play a role in how long it takes to reach a resolution. Thankfully, court calendars are beginning to operate on a more normal schedule and the court staff are working to clear the backlog.
Additionally, the speed at which a civil litigation lawsuit is settled can be influenced by the parties involved in the case. If one or more of the parties is uncooperative or unwilling to compromise, it can prolong the litigation process and make it more difficult to reach a settlement. In some cases, the parties may need to engage in mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution in order to come to an agreement and settle the case.
Steps to litigation
There are several steps that are typically involved in the civil litigation process, and each of these steps can contribute to the overall length of time it takes to resolve a case. These steps may include:
1. Filing a lawsuit: The first step in a civil litigation lawsuit is usually the filing of a petition, which outlines the legal claims being made by the plaintiff.
2. Discovery: The discovery phase is an important part of the civil litigation process in which both sides gather evidence and information about the case. This can include requests for documents, interrogatories (written questions), and depositions (testimony given under oath). The discovery process can be time-consuming, especially if there are disputes over what information needs to be provided or if one side is not fully cooperating.
3. Pre-trial motions: During the pre-trial phase, the parties may file various motions with the court, such as motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment. These motions can take time to resolve, depending on the complexity of the issues being raised.
4. Trial: If the case is not resolved through settlement or other means, it may proceed to trial. The length of a trial can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the parties and witnesses.
There are several things that parties involved in a civil litigation lawsuit can do to try to speed up the process. One option is to engage in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation or arbitration, which can be a quicker and less formal way to resolve a case. Parties can also try to streamline the discovery process by being responsive to requests for information and by clearly communicating their positions on legal issues. It’s also important for parties to be proactive in managing their cases and staying informed about the status of the litigation. This can include working closely with an attorney, attending court hearings and other proceedings, and being responsive to requests for information or documents.
The length of time it takes to settle a civil litigation lawsuit can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Factors such as the complexity of the legal issues, the availability of the parties involved, and the court’s workload can all impact the timeline. While some cases may be resolved relatively quickly, others can take years to reach a resolution. Parties involved in a civil litigation lawsuit can try to speed up the process by engaging in alternative dispute resolution, streamlining the discovery process, and being proactive in managing their cases. There are tactics that our firm implores to keep litigated files moving as rapidly as possible, including working to have trial dates scheduled as soon as practicable. If you have questions or concerns about your case, or need representation to help move your case to resolution, give us a call today.