The length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim in Texas can vary depending on the complexity of the case. However, it is typically a lengthy process, and it can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Stuff that happens before filing a claim
Seek medical attention
In serious personal injury cases, people get medical attention right away. Many accidents that seem minor, people forget to seek medical attention and get evaluated by a doctor. This is an integral step in personal injury cases. Getting your injuries documented by a medical professional is one of the most important parts of a personal injury claim.
Consult a personal injury attorney
Talking to a personal injury attorney will cost you nothing. In fact, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you have no out of pocket costs. The personal injury attorney gets a percentage of the award they get for you for your losses. An experienced personal injury attorney will be vital in getting the maximum compensation. The initial consultation will take about 30-40 minutes of your time but could get you thousands of dollars more in settlements.
Stuff that happens before going to trial
Gathering evidence and fact finding
Once you sign an agreement to allow Attorney Rick Molina to represent you, we will start our investigation into your case. This will include talking with police officers, medical personnel and witnesses from your accident. We will also gather reports, photos and other records that support your case. During the investigation, we will have a better idea who is at fault and to what degree. At this time, we will also determine a compensation amount we will ask for on your behalf.
In Texas, fault in accidents is determined by a system called comparative negligence. This means that the amount of damages you can recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 25% at fault for an accident, you will only be able to recover 75% of your damages.
Attempt to reach a settlement
During this stage, we will let the other party know the settlement amount we want to satisfy your injury claim. This amount is backed up by our investigation and fact-finding from the previous step. There may be some back and forth here. If a settlement amount is reached then we will facilitate the payment for you. If not, we may recommend that you take the case to trial. Sometimes, the threat of going to trial may cause the other party to agree to a settlement.
Stuff that happens if the case goes to trial
A personal injury trial is a legal proceeding in which a judge or jury decides whether the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The trial process can be long and complex, and it typically involves the following stages:
- Filing a lawsuit: The plaintiff’s attorney will file a lawsuit in court, which will outline the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant.
- Discovery: The parties will exchange information and documents during discovery. This includes things like interrogatories, depositions, and requests for production of documents.
- Motions: The parties may file motions with the court during the pre-trial stage. These motions can ask the court to rule on certain issues or to dismiss the case.
- Jury selection: The jury will be selected from a pool of potential jurors.
- Opening statements: The plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney will give opening statements, which will outline their respective cases.
- Witness testimony: The parties will present witness testimony during the trial. This includes testimony from the plaintiff, the defendant, and any other witnesses.
- Cross-examination: The opposing party will have the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses who testify.
- Closing arguments: The plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney will give closing arguments, which will summarize their cases and ask the jury to rule in their favor.
- Verdict: The jury will deliberate and reach a verdict.
- Judgment: If the plaintiff wins the case, the judge will enter a judgment in their favor. This judgment will state the amount of damages that the plaintiff is entitled to recover.
- Appeal: The defendant may appeal the judgment. This means that they will ask a higher court to review the case and decide whether the lower court’s decision was correct.
The stages of a personal injury trial can vary depending on the specific case. However, the general process outlined above is typically followed. If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options. An attorney can help you understand the trial process and can represent you in court.