Bringing suit for an injury is usually not a quick or easy process. Once you hire a personal injury attorney the process can last a few months or longer; it all depends on negotiations, mediation, and the willingness of the defendant to settle. The defendant is the person you are suing while you are called the plaintiff.
The first thing that will happen is that the defendant, usually an insurance company, will try to negotiate personally with you in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit. Once your personal injury attorney files suit they will have to negotiate with him or her. They will offer very attractive sums of money before you hire a lawyer; the amount they offer will tell you how much fault they think they have. They count on your needing the money and accepting the deal because they can save millions if you don't have a lawyer. These types of deals will continue throughout the pre-trial and trial as the insurance company tries to get you and your lawyer to settle for less than a judge or jury will give you. The defendant will usually not contact you directly but if they do, you should say nothing and report the contact to your attorney.
After the suit is filed the defendants are served with papers within 30-60 days. They have 30 days to respond from the date of service but it's common for them to ask for grace period or extension. Delay is a common strategy in an attempt to pressure the plaintiff into a settlement.
After the defendants respond the discovery period begins where written questions are submitted to each party. They have 35 days to respond. Defendants will probably ask for extensions to gather more information. This is usually the time when court ordered mediation takes place in an effort to prevent a trial and make a settlement satisfactory to everyone. Mediation will continue intermittently up until the trial after each step of the process. If it is successful, the case is settled and funds are disbursed. If not, the case goes to trial.
The defense will probably request a medical examination performed by their medical personnel. You may even be requested to submit to a psychological exam. You should never submit to an exam, physical or verbal, without your attorney being present.
Oral depositions are next where both sides interview key people involved in the suit and ask questions. A deposition is an oral statement, or interview. Doctors, paramedics, witnesses, and even hospital janitors may be called to depositions. You will probably be deposed, too. A court reporter will attend each deposition and anything said can be used at trial. Your personal injury attorney will make sure that you and other witnesses are well prepared so that the defense can't manipulate you into saying something you don't mean.
Trials last about 4 days on average. A non-jury trial where the judge is the sole decision maker can take a day or less but complex cases can take up to two months plus the time it takes for a jury to deliberate.