If you are seriously injured, most insurance companies and Defendants will not settle a case until a lawsuit is filed.
There are exceptions to this rule. However, by and large, in the areas where we practice - you will probably need to file a lawsuit.
When a lawsuit is filed in California Superior Court, the court will have a hearing called a Case Management Conference usually a few months after the Complaint is filed and served on the Defendant(s). At this hearing, the court will set specific deadlines in your case including the date for the first and second exchange of expert information, the discovery and motion cut-off deadline, the date for a trial readiness conference and a trial call date. Due to the nature of litigation, trial dates may change as new situations arise.
Your trial date will be determined by many factors including the availability of the court, the length of your trial, the availability of witnesses, the trial calendar of your attorney and the defendants’ attorneys, the amount of evidence, etc.
However, most cases go to trial within 1-2 years of filing the Complaint though each case is unique and different.