Are you in legal trouble? Hopefully not, but if you are. Have you ever wondered – “How long does it take to settle a lawsuit?” If you have, you’re in the right place as your uncertainty will become clarity by the end of this article. Keep reading to find out how long a court case usually lasts.

Industry Averages

Most information on how long a court case lasts is very vague, so we’ve decided to start strong and provide you with the industry averages for the question at hand.

Depending on a variety of factors, an average court case can last anywhere from two to five years.

When it comes to personal injury cases, it can take anywhere from two to three years. (If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney, consider these 7 questions to ask them first.)

Medical malpractice will take anywhere from two to three years as well. Patent issues can range anywhere from one to five years.

In any case, there are plenty of variable lawsuits in complexity and seriousness. Both of which will affect the length of time before finalizing.

Let’s move on to taking an in-depth look at the process.

The Calendar of the Court

Like any other municipal or federal presentment, such as the Court – they are busy. A court can be available for hearings only so much. The judge also has a calendar, which quickly fills up by the day.

Typically, a civil court trial will take longer, and is set in stone one and a half years after being filed. Whereas a criminal trial can be held sooner since the defendant is capable of having a speedy trial via the constitution.

Lawsuit Processes Take Time

The lawsuit process is built on procedural rules in a step construct. Once a lawsuit is filed, and is being served on the opposing party – the defendant will have anywhere up to a month to respond to the implication.

Some courts are developed to expedite the process of litigation, but even they are often taking an exorbitantly long time.

Each state of the process, adds on to the complexity and length of the entire collective process.

Discovery Process

After a defendant responds to the implication, both parties will start a process called discovery. Each party will send questions that must be answered under oath and will ask for the provision of the necessary documentation.

Both parties have up to thirty days to answer and produce the files. The judge is capable of setting a time limit on this process, usually providing them with anywhere from three to six months to do so.

Sometimes a dispute might arise in the process, which has to be resolved by the court. If a dispute occurs, a motion will be filed, a court date set and the judge will decide after the hearing.

The Depositions

Once the documents are ready and questions answered, the depositions are planned to and set in stone. A deposition is a meeting outside of the court, where a witness will provide testimony under the oath.

Depending on the number of experts or witnesses involved, the process will take usually anywhere from two to four months to finalize.

Arbitration & Mediation

The majority of civil lawsuits never go to trial. The process is usually implemented to reach settlement throughout the case.

At a point during the lawsuit, mediation or arbitration will be held. In the case of mediation, both parties will present the case, and a reward will be established by the lawyer panel. There will be a period of 28 days when the parties are left to decide to reject or accept the reward.

If both parties accept, the case is settled. If not, a conference will be held with the judge. During which the judge will establish and confer over the points of difficulty.

If the case is not resolved via mediation, it will end up in arbitration. Which provides binding on a case to be held outside the court of law. As a replacement for regular litigation, it still is time-consuming and complex.

If arbitration is not instilled, traditional litigation shall continue.

The Trial

To get to trial is an accomplishment in itself. A conference is often held to discuss the concerns pre-trial. They can include evidence determination and contesting points.

The pre-trial procedure takes a long time, as the judge’s presence is necessary. And they are known to have a busy schedule.

The trial itself can last anywhere from a couple of hours to multiple weeks, all pertinent on the factors of the case which are being litigated.


After the trial has come to a verdict, both parties are entitled to appeal toward a higher court.

The reason for the lengthy process of a lawsuit is to help both parties find the truth, and reach a fair outcome for either. So it is practically impossible to come to a conclusion in under a year. A long-established system is a well-processed one.


Even though it is important to move quickly throughout procedures and not miss out on any details, what most is important is to be prepared for the trial appropriately.

And that can be achieved by working with a reputable and capable team of attorneys.

How Long Does It Take To Settle a Lawsuit? A Long Time!

Now that you’ve come to realize how drawn out the process of the lawsuit and court case, you finally know the answer to the question of “How long does it take to settle a lawsuit?”.

A long time. No matter how hard you try to fight the case, how quickly you submit records and answers – the process itself is built into the system to be lengthy, so there’s nothing you can do about it.

Remain patient and you will prevail.

If you’re interested in other legal topics, read some of our other blogs.