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One of the most common questions that lawyers get from clients is ‘how long will the litigation process take?’ This is an important question when it comes to planning because it helps you budget for your finances, especially on how you will pay your attorney.

However, there is no specific timeframe for litigation cases because each case is unique. Your attorney should review your case and give you an approximate time for the case.

What Is Litigation?

Let’s first start by defining litigation. Litigation is the process of taking a dispute to a law court. It is a practical step taken when two parties can’t solve an issue. The court of law promises a fair and appropriate outcome for the dispute.

Almost any case can be solved through the litigation process, including:

  • Commercial/business disputes
  • Domestic/matrimonial disputes
  • Personal injury cases
  • Employment disputes

In the early litigation stages, both parties are allowed to hire lawyers to represent them. The lawyer should be well experienced and knowledgeable about the litigation process to represent your case well and keep you educated.

The Litigation Process

The litigation process is quite lengthy and time-consuming, mainly if it involves many witnesses. However, the complexity of the process varies from one case to another, depending on the type of dispute and the number of people involved. Here are the basic steps of the litigation process.

Investigation– every civil case starts with an investigation to determine the whole truth of your case. This step is aimed at finding evidence that will support your case.

Pleadings- pleadings are initial documents that outline the complaints of both parties (complaint and the defendant). The plaintiff writes down the complaint, and the defendant writes a reply to the plaintiff’s complaint.

Discovery- Discovery is the longest part of the process. It starts immediately when the lawsuit is filed and ends just before the trial. Both parties and lawyers look for evidence or any other helpful information that supports the case during this process. Witnesses are questioned and recorded for reference.

Pre-trial – the pre-trial stage involves negotiations from both attorneys. Many cases end in this stage if both parties agree regarding the case.

Trial- the case is taken to a trial in a court of law if the parties do not agree in the pre-trial stage.

Settlement– a settlement is the outcome of the case. For instance, the judge may instruct the winning party to pay a certain amount of money to the winning party.

Appeal- appeal is the last step of the litigation process, whereby any party who is not satisfied by the result of the trial is allowed to appeal. This is true in cases where the party feels third rights were violated or the outcome is not unfair. The parties have 14 days to appeal.

The Possible Litigation Timeframe

The duration of the litigation process can be as short as a few months and as long as multiple years. However, it’s hard to determine the exact time to litigate a case, so only legal experts can give you a time range.

When both parties start discussing the case early and reach an agreement, the litigation process will only take a few months. Here is a simple presentation for different legal cases and how long they might take to litigate:

  • Case resolved at the mediation stage can take less than six months
  • A case that arrives at the trial stage might take12 to 24 months
  • Large scale cases involving many witnesses and other complexities may take 18 to 24 months
  • Very large scale cases requiring lots of evidence, and people may take longer than 24 months

A few factors that determine the duration of the litigation process include:

  • The complexity of the case
  • The number of witnesses involved
  • The experience of the attorney
  • The commitment of the parties
  • Costs involved- a costly case might take longer as the clients find the money for the process

Sometimes, the frustration of how long litigation would take can be a major turn-off to start the litigation process when issues arise at work or businesses.

Thankfully, it’s possible to avoid the lengthy process with a few hacks, including working with a great attorney. If you have a dispute that you would like to solve through the litigation process, find a good attorney to support and walk you through the journey.

Contact the Lake County based law firm of Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC

Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC team is well experienced in handling litigation issues. We are committed to helping our clients get the best of their litigation cases in the shortest time possible. Feel free to schedule a free consultation at any time.

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