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Timeline of a Lawsuit in Florida

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Lawsuits on August 4, 2018

Going through the process of a lawsuit is not something you want to do on your own. It can be a daunting procedure that may be time consuming and unexpected issues can arise, whether you are suing someone, being sued, or being called as a witness. Our experienced team of attorneys are available to explain and walk you through these steps:

Pre-litigation Negotiation

Before litigation begins, an attorney will write on behalf of the Plaintiff (person or business bringing the lawsuit) to the Defendant (the person or business being sued) demanding settlement. If an agreement is made, then no further steps need to be taken. This process takes around a month or less.


The Complaint

An attorney will prepare this legal document which sets out the claims and injuries the Plaintiff has against the Defendant. Typical preparation time is about two weeks.

The Answer

The Defendant typically has around three weeks to respond to the Complaint. The Answer will contain claims, any factual disputes, and any defenses the Defendant has against the Plaintiff or any other party. If there is a counterclaim within the Answer or a third party complaint then that said party will have to answer as well. If an Answer is not filed then a default judgment against the Defendant may be entered by the court.


At this stage the involved parties will exchange relevant information and documents pertaining to the issues. Each party sends requests for documents and interrogatories (written questions) to each other.

Some information has to be specifically requested, while some doesn’t. Depositions of key witnesses will be taken, which entails being interviewed on the record. This process can take months and even years depending on the case.


Both parties can file motions (requests) with the court. Motions can vary in their requests, from extending deadlines to dismissing the case. This process can be lengthy, but substantive motions usually need to be submitted prior to six weeks before trial.


Trials take about a week on average. Trials can be either be by bench or jury. The choice of requesting a jury or not is highly recommended to be discussed with your attorney, as it is an extremely important decision. Each side will present evidence to argue their case and will call witnesses to testify. When both sides rest their case then the judge or jury will deliberate then return with a verdict for one side or the other.

More Motions

Yes, more motions. Each party may choose to file post trial motions up to nine weeks after the trial ends. They can include asking the judge to award attorney’s fees or costs, to take a look back again at issues that came to light before or during the trial, or asking for a new trial.


An appeal is usually brought to a higher court by the losing side. Appeals can possibly take years and it’s rare for a judge’s decision to be overturned.

There is no way to tell how long an entire lawsuit process will take or what unexpected issues will come up. It is not uncommon for cases to take longer than two years. Avoid taking on this complicated and lengthy process alone. Contact one of our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. We will fight for fair compensation and ensure that you are getting the most out of your claim.

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