Timeline of a Personal Injury Case / Accident Claim in Texas
Our attorneys are often asked, “How long does a personal injury case take in Texas?” Every personal injury lawsuit has its own facts that make it unique. A claim that doesn’t require filing a lawsuit may be settled in a matter of months, while a personal injury case that goes to trial may take several years. The attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to personal injury claims. But we have the experience that matters.
There are certain steps that are generally part of the process of pursuing a personal injury claim, as outlined below. Our law firm has extensive experience in personal injury law, having handled more than 20,000 cases. We have office locations in Ft. Worth, Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, San Antonio, and Houston. Herrman & Herrman. P.L.L.C. has Spanish-speaking and English-speaking staff so you can discuss your legal matter in the language that you feel most comfortable speaking.
Personal Injury Case Timeline
It all starts with a free consultation. Call us at (361) 882-4357 to schedule a case review.
- Initial Meeting with Attorney: The initial meeting provides a chance to review the circumstances of the individual’s injury and discuss his or her legal options and whether a lawsuit is in order. You may have significant medical bills and loss of income if you have suffered a serious injury. You should not be stuck with those debts if someone else acted negligently and caused the injury. An attorney can discuss whether you have a right to pursue restitution for your losses. It’s helpful to bring any documentation of the accident, such as a police accident report, to the meeting.
- Starting the Case: Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. will offer to represent you if your case is the type that our law firm handles. Our lawyer will explain the contingency fee arrangement and how it applies to your case. You will not owe a legal fee unless you receive compensation. If you agree to hire the firm, you will sign a retainer agreement.
- Case Investigation: After you have retained legal representation, your lawyer will investigate the accident and gather your medical records and other evidence to support your claim. If your attorney believes that your case can be settled, the attorney will submit a demand letter to the at-fault party or the insurance company representing the at-fault party. This is the start of settlement negotiations. The demand letter will not be submitted until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and the full costs of the injury can be calculated. The demand letter outlines your claim and requests compensation to cover all of your accident-related losses.
- Settlement Negotiations: The insurance company may deny your claim, accept liability or respond to the demand letter with a counter-offer. Settlement negotiations can take months. It’s important to be represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer in negotiations. Otherwise, it may be difficult to determine whether a settlement offer is a reasonable amount. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will talk with you about filing a lawsuit and proceeding to court. It’s important to keep in mind that a settlement may be reached even after a lawsuit has been filed.
- Discovery: After a lawsuit is filed and the defendant has responded, the two sides will enter the discovery phase. It includes taking sworn depositions from potential witnesses about the case. An experienced attorney will prepare you for the types of questions you are likely to be asked in the deposition. The discovery phase may take six months to a year, depending on how complicated the case is. It allows each side to understand the evidence in the case. At the end of discovery when the evidence is understood by both sides, settlement negotiations may proceed. The lawyers may negotiate directly or they may use a neutral mediator to try to reach a settlement. More cases are settled than tried in court.
- What Happens at Trial: If a personal injury case has not been settled or resolved by the court via motion, the case may be scheduled for trial. But only a small portion of cases actually go to trial. The case may still be settled even after a trial date is set. If the lawsuit goes to trial, the case will be presented to a Texas judge and civil jury. A trial may last a few days, or longer, if the case is complex. The trial includes the selection of jurors, opening statements, testimony by witnesses, cross-examination by the opposing side, closing arguments, instructions to the jury and jury deliberation. The jury will consider the evidence and return a verdict. Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. is an established law firm with attorneys who have extensive trial experience. We know how to present your strongest case for full compensation.
- Collecting Money After Judgment: If you win your personal injury case, the jury may award you damages for the losses you have unjustly suffered. Individuals who have insurance and businesses that are financially solvent generally pay the judgment ordered by the court. If the debtor refuses to pay a judgment, you may need to take further steps to identify assets and sources of income. You will need an attorney’s assistance to pursue the collection process.
- Appealing a Judgment: The defendant may seek to appeal the verdict and the award of damages, depending on specific details of the case. It’s critical to have experienced legal guidance if the other side files an appeal. Our attorneys can pursue your personal injury case through the appellate process if necessary. If you have been injured by the carelessness of others, you should get information about your legal options and whether you are entitled to seek compensation. Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. has deep roots in Texas. Gregory H. Herrman, who co-founded Herrman & Herrman,P.L.L.C., has been providing skilled legal representation to people in Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley for many years. Greg Herrman leads a team of lawyers who provide personalized service and trusted legal guidance to each client the law firm represents.
When Is My Personal Injury Case Due For Trial?
People get injured as a result of other people’s shortcomings. People get injured in auto accidents, at their workplace, due to medical malpractice, due to an assault. In some other cases, people’s reputation gets injured through making false statements about a person, an action called defamation.
A personal injury is an injury inflicted on a person due to the deliberate or undeliberate disregard of due processes by another person. Rightfully, when a person is injured and another person is at fault for the injury inflicted, the victim may try to seek justice. In seeking justice, the victim files a personal injury claim against the person at fault and if successful, the victim is compensated according to the law governing that jurisdiction.
In this article, we consider the tort law in Texas as it relates to personal injury cases – we examine the process of personal injury claim in Texas and what determines whether a personal injury claim will go to trial or not.
The Personal Injury Process in Texas
The best thing to do first when you are involved in a personal injury situation is to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer.
The personal injury lawyer who is well versed in Texas law will request details of the incident with you, discuss terms of your agreement with them and investigate the issue – speak with eyewitnesses, medical professionals, police officers, etc. – to verify the details of the situation. This investigation is necessary to avail the lawyer enough data to verify the gravity of the incident and determine the corresponding compensation.
Initially, some lawyers attempt a settlement with the defendant while some file for a summons against the accused. Following a summons, the lawyers of both sides discuss the case to fully unveil the facts and evidences (the discovery process). As the case is being concluded, the lawyers may attempt a settlement again between each other, however, if this fails, a mediator comes in to mediate between both attorneys and try to achieve settlement.
If the mediator fails, then an arbitration hearing is the next step. The arbitration hearing is like a casual hearing presided over by a retired judge or attorney. While the mediator cannot enforce a settlement, the arbitrator can. However, if the arbitration fails, then the case goes to trial. At the trial, the judge decides the outcome of the case – whether you should receive compensation and how much you should receive.
A fault percentage system is used in Texas i.e. the percentage for which the plaintiff was at fault will determine the compensation the plaintiff gets. However, when a plaintiff is adjudged to be more than 51 % at fault, the plaintiff will receive no compensation.
One thing to note is that in Texas, one can only make a personal injury claim within 2 years from the date of injury. However, once the case has been filed, this statute of limitation becomes paused.
How Long is the Process of My Case?
In typical lawyer fashion, I will answer this important question with: “it depends.” Every case is its own entity and carries with it its own shelf-life. The question that really should be asked is ‘how long will my medical treatment last,’ because the law firm cannot begin to negotiate with the insurance company until the client is done with treatment.
The attorney cannot settle or attempt to settle the personal injury claim until the attorney knows the FULL extent of the injuries. In other words, Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., will not know what to demand from the insurance company if we do not know the full injuries. And the attorney would be doing a bad job if he or she negotiated and settled your claim while you were still treating for the collision. The injuries that you get in a car crash are often tied to how severe the collision was.
If the impact was minor, it is very likely that your treatment will be shorter than that of a very serious collision, and as a result, a minor impact claim might take slightly less time than a major impact claim. However, there have been many instances where a client was severely injured from a moderate or minor impact claim. If that is the case, the claim will take longer as it is often difficult to prove big injuries from a small collision.
At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., I strive to get the claims settled efficiently. The average length of a claim on my docket varies, but generally, the claim is wrapped up and the clients are disbursed with settlement funds within TWO (2) months after completion of treatment. That time taken includes: drafting and preparing the demand packet, negotiating on your claim, settling the claim, attempting to achieve reductions on the medical bills, satisfying any outstanding liens, gathering the settlement funds, and disbursing the client.
If you have been hurt due to the negligence of someone else, please call Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., first!.
Schedule a free consultation with a Corpus Christi personal injury attorney by dialing (361) 882-4357. Call today.
Our firm has offices in the following locations: Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, and Ft. Worth , TX.