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How long does a case take from start to finish?


A: The simple answer is "a few years." The longer answer is "it depends." In a medical malpractice case, the average time from start to finish is approximately 2-3 years. Cases vary depending upon whether a case may settle during the litigation process. There may be settlement discussions at any stage of the lawsuit, even during a trial. However, our experience has been to let our clients know that we prepare all of our cases as if we are going to trial. I tell them this so they know full well the potential likelihood that their case will take 2-3 years to come to a conclusion. At the end of that time period, is the case really over? "Yes, and no." - How's that for a double sided legal answer? If your case went to trial, and a verdict was rendered, the defense may appeal. Or, if your case was lost at trial, you might consider appealing. An appeal can last approximately 1-2 years in addition to the original lawsuit. Even after the appeal, a Court could send the case back to the trial court to re-try your case. That could take more time to get a new trial date, and then to retry your entire case. With an appeal, many different outcomes can occur. The appellate court could decide to leave the trial court's decision alone. They could order a new trial, throw the case out, reverse the lower court decision, and even alter or modify the amount of money you were awarded. As in life, there are no guarantees about the outcome of your case or an appeal. But with an experienced attorney at your side you will be better informed about your legal options, and someone trusted to guide you through the legal minefields. In a personal injury case, such as a car accident, it could also take approximately 2-3 years to complete. However, many factors come into play here. It depends on which County your case is in. Some counties have bigger backlogs of cases than others. If you have a case against the City of New York, those cases typically take longer than most, because of the number of times they try to conference the case, and their having attorneys available to try their cases.