How long will a court case take?

The length of a case, from the initial free consultation through to the resolution of the case by settlement or court verdict, depends on several variables. It is not possible to say exactly how long a case may take.

The duration of a case is often dictated by the individual court in which the case is filed. Some courts designate a time period for discovery of evidence by each party that may be a year or longer. Other courts have a backlog of cases, and therefore the oldest cases in a county will be considered before a more recently filed case.

Though many cases settle before going to court, please keep in mind that many settlements do not occur until right before a scheduled trial. Also, in many instances the party who loses a court case may appeal the ruling or verdict, which could add another year or more of time to the process. If an appeals court determines that an error occurred, that decision could send the case back to the trial court for a new trial or new proceeding, which could further add more time to the process.

Litigation often is very unpredictable, expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. This reality is a factor that you consider and discuss with your attorney.