Just like any other civil lawsuit, the time it takes to resolve a slip and fall case is difficult to predict. There are certain distinct stages in a slip and fall case and a typical timeline would be as follows.
The Summons or Complaint
First, your lawyer will be preparing a document called the Complaint that explains why you are making the claim. The contents of this document will differ depending on the legal requirements of the state. Some states only require relevant information that gives notice to the defendant about the plaintiff’s claim, while other states need the Complaint to have a detailed summary of the event. Usually the Complaint will have:
Names and contact information of both parties
The party who is allegedly responsible
Description of the fall
The claim amount
The Answer of the Defendant
The defendant will reply to the Complaint, and this letter will usually deny or admit the allegation. The answer can also have affirmative defenses, which reduce or absolve the liability of the defendant. The defendant should provide an Answer within 20 days after being served the Complaint, but an additional 20 days can also be secured if certain legal defenses are waived.
During the Discovery phase, each party is involved in learning details about the case. This phase will involve interrogatories, requests of production, and request of documents.
During every step of this process you need to be listening to your attorney and doing what they say. This is foreign to you but this is rather routine to them. They have been around the block before in this arena. This is not the time for you to step out of bounds after you have worked hard to put this case together alongside your attorney.
Your attorney is taking this as seriously as you are. They know that they will not receive any payback for their time and effort if you do not win.
For resolving the issue, both parties can file certain motions before the trial takes place. This could be to dismiss the case, come to a summary judgment, or to compel the other party to produce certain documents.
Both parties often do not want a court trial and like to resolve the issue through negotiations. Such a conference is governed by a private mediator or a judge.
Your attorney will know this process goes either way. Do not defy them; just listen and allow them do their job.
When the settlement conference or negotiations fail, the case will go to trail, and a judge will rule after hearing both sides.