We understand that our clients come to us in a time of need. The last thing you want is a lengthy court battle. While we wish we could give you an exact time frame, the nature of litigation and the United States court system make that impossible. The length of a case can vary widely based on many factors. Below are just a few.
Were you involved in a minor car accident with minimal injuries or a catastrophic event resulting in death? Perhaps you were injured by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug or device. It is important for us to thoroughly investigate your claim before filing suit. Once the case is filed, the court will estimate how long the parties will need to properly evaluate and develop their cases. Complex cases that involve significant discovery can also lead to alterations in deadlines and extension of the trial date. We want to achieve a successful result for you in the shortest time possible and will do everything in our power to meet both of those goals.
Is the defendant willing to accept responsibility or are they unwilling to cooperate? A reasonable opponent can help quicken resolution and reduce costs for all parties involved. When parties are able to work together rather than appearing before the judge to argue every minor detail of the case, a swift resolution is possible. We encounter difficult defendants on a daily basis and are equipped to minimize delays caused by defendants.
Jurisdiction refers to which court has the ability to handle a case. The United States court system has a complex structure that allows the federal courts to hear certain cases and state, county and municipal courts to hear others. Factors to decide jurisdiction include the type of case and the amount in controversy.
The federal court system reports that it takes 8.5 months, on average, to dispose of a case. If a federal case is appealed after trial court disposition, the Fifth Circuit reports an average of 9 months to rule on an appeal.
The Texas state court system reports that 22% of civil cases take 6 to 12 months to resolve, 14% take 12 to 18 months to resolve, and 23% take over 18 months to reach final resolution. A judicious and efficient attorney can take a case to trial in under 18 months. With some luck, some cases will make it to trial in far less time. Our firm has taken a complex business litigation lawsuit to trial in a rural Texas county in under 8 months.[i]
Venue is the county where a lawsuit is filed. Some rural parts of Texas have judges that rotate between multiple counties. They may hold court in a particular county one day per month. Other counties have many judges. For instance, the 394th District Court covers Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Brewster Counties in West Texas; meanwhile, Harris County alone has 59 state district courts. While we do not have complete control over which county or federal district court has proper jurisdiction, picking the venue option that provides you with the best opportunity to go to trial quickly is usually advantageous to the plaintiff.