In most courts in the Cincinnati area, you can get a trial date within 18 months of filing suit. This doesn’t count the time before the lawsuit is actually filed with the clerk of courts. That is just an estimate, but I will stand by it.
Why so long? First, the judges have a lot on their plate. There are about 10,000 civil cases – lawsuits for money – filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court every year.
Most of them don’t get anywhere near trial, but that is a lot of cases. And the criminal docket is much larger. Each case has to be assigned to a judge, and either tried, settled, or resolved in some way.
So it’s not unusual for a judge to “stack” cases – to set several cases for trial on the same date. The one filed first goes to trial; the others are continued.
Second, when a lawsuit is filed, it “changes hands” on the insurance company’s side. Before suit was filed, only an adjuster was responsible for it.
After filing, the lawsuit becomes the primary responsibility of the attorney defending it, who still reports to the adjuster. But because it might go to trial, the attorney has to learn as much about the facts as he can, and he also has to question the other side as vigorously as possible.
So the insurance lawyer may want to look up records no one has requested. He might take sworn statements from everyone whose testimony might be important. He probably wants to have the victim examined by an “independent” doctor. He might want to file a motion with the court to throw the case out.
All these things will slow the case down.
What can your lawyer do to accelerate this?
1) He can anticipate. Get copies of all the medical records. Get his own “independent” opinion from your treating doctor, or from an independent doctor. Get the copies and opinions to the other side. Get copies of all your medical bills, and find out what the insurance company paid on them. Document your lost wages with your employer. Take steps to preserve any evidence he can find about liability – the accident report, the citation.
2) As soon as you are “as good as you are going to get”, in the words of your doctor, your lawyer should submit a demand to the insurance company, with all supporting information.
(3) If it becomes apparent that the insurance company is not going to make a reasonable offer, he should file suit as soon as possible.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. My job is not just to get my client as much money as I can, but to get it as soon as I can. If you want to talk about your lawsuit, speak with an experienced Cincinnati Lawsuit Attorney – call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.