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How Long Does a Pedestrian Accident Case Take?

August 9, 2021 Personal injury

How Long Does a Pedestrian Accident Case Take?If you are pursuing a pedestrian accident case, you may be wondering how long it will take to receive compensation. Unfortunately, the answer is unique to each case and its specific circumstances, such as the severity of the injuries, and whether a settlement can be reached, or if the case must go to trial. Still, claims follow a predictable process that can give you a general idea of how long it will be. Here, our San Diego pedestrian accident lawyers discuss the timeline of a pedestrian accident case and what really happens within the first six months. 

What Happens in the First Six Months of a Pedestrian Accident Case?

During the first six months of your pedestrian accident case, the initial investigation will be completed, and you will hopefully be close to or well on your way to recovery. 


Your pedestrian accident lawyer will gather evidence to build a solid case. The amount of time this process takes depends on how complicated your case is. That will involve visiting the accident scene, taking photos and measurements, collecting any debris or physical evidence, obtaining police reports, interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, pay stubs, receipts for accident-related expenses, hiring experts, and more. 

Medical Care

Recovering and following your doctor’s treatment plan should be your primary concern after a pedestrian accident. When it comes time to file your claim, any gap in treatment will allow the insurance company to argue that your injuries aren’t severe or were not caused by the accident. 

Before sending a demand letter to the insurance company, your attorney will advise you to wait until you recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once your lawyer understands the full extent of your injuries and future financial implications, they can accurately estimate the total value of your case.

Demand Letter

After estimating your case’s worth, your attorney will draft a demand letter to send to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The letter will detail the facts of the accident and ask that the case be resolved by settling for the specific amount of compensation requested by a certain date. 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine exactly how long it will take the insurance company to respond to your demand letter. When they do, it will likely be a counter-offer, and negotiations will begin. If a fair settlement agreement can be reached, the case will resolve. If not, you and your attorney may choose to file a lawsuit. 

Months 6 to 18 

Pursuing a Lawsuit

Under California’s statute of limitations, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit. Once the appropriate paperwork is filed with the courts, the defendant (at-fault party) must be served within 30 to 60 days. They then have 30 additional days to respond and deny the allegations. 


Once the defendant answers, the discovery phase begins. 

  • Interrogatories are written questions about the case sent back and forth between the parties. 
  • Depositions will be taken of the parties to the lawsuit and any witnesses, which can take an average of three months.
  • An independent medical examination will typically be requested by the defense to be done by a doctor of their choosing. 

After this phase, the parties are often aware of how a jury will decide the case should it proceed to trial. 

Months 18 to 24 and Beyond 

Negotiations & Mediation

Once discovery is complete, the parties may choose to begin negotiations again. If an agreement still cannot be reached, the court will typically order the parties to attend mediation. A mediator will attempt to help the parties resolve the case before trial. More than 95 percent of civil cases settle before making it to the courtroom.


If mediation fails, your case will go to trial, which can take anywhere from four days to two weeks. However, complex pedestrian accident cases can take as long as two months.


After a settlement or favorable verdict, receiving compensation generally takes 30 days unless the defendant appeals the court’s decision, which can prolong the process.