How Long Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Last? By Sean Burke on February 25, 2023

doctor who looks distressedThe duration of a medical malpractice lawsuit can vary significantly, and it can be difficult to provide an estimate without knowing the specific details of the case. It is important to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can guide you through the process and provide you with an estimate of the expected duration of your case. At the Law Offices of Sean M. Burke, APC in Irvine, CA, we can discuss how long medical malpractice lawsuits typically last, and determine if you have a case.

Case Length Can Vary Greatly

The duration of a medical malpractice lawsuit can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the amount of evidence involved, and the jurisdiction in which the case is being heard. Typically, medical malpractice lawsuits take longer than other types of personal injury cases due to their complexity.

In general, a medical malpractice lawsuit can last anywhere from several months to several years.

Phases of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit


The pre-litigation phase, where the plaintiff's attorney investigates and gathers evidence, can take several months to a year or more.


Once the lawsuit is filed, the discovery phase begins, where both sides exchange information and evidence. This phase can take several months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the case.

Pre-Trial Motions, Hearings, and Mediation

After the discovery phase, there may be pre-trial motions and hearings, which can take several months to resolve. Both parties can also attend mediation sessions in an attempt to come to a settlement. If both parties agree to a settlement, it can save time and prevent the lawsuit from going into the trial phase.


If the case proceeds to trial, it can take several weeks to several months to complete, depending on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the case. After the trial, there may be post-trial motions and appeals, which can add additional time to the process.

Are There Benefits to Prolonging the Case?

One potential benefit of prolonging a medical malpractice case is that it can give the plaintiff's attorney more time to gather evidence and build a stronger case. Additionally, delaying the case can sometimes cause the defendant to become more willing to settle out of court, especially if they believe that the case is becoming more costly and time-consuming. Irvine attorney Sean Burke can advise you and help you decide if it’s time to settle or take the case to trial.

Are There Disadvantages to Prolonging the Case?

There may be drawbacks to prolonging a medical malpractice case. In denying a settlement offer, there is always the risk that you may get a lower award - or no award at all - if the case goes to trial. Additionally, prolonging the case can also be emotionally taxing for the plaintiff, as they may have to relive the trauma of their injuries or illness each time they attend court hearings.

Contact Our Practice

Contact the Law Offices of Sean M. Burke, APC in Irvine to find out if you have a case. You can call us at (949) 644-3434 or send us a message online.

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