Timeline of a Fort Worth Personal Injury Case / Accident Claim in Texas
Our attorneys are often asked, “How long does a personal injury case take in Fort Worth” 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 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. The attorneys at Herrman & Herrman apply our extensive experience to seeking the full compensation available by law for our clients in Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen and San Antonio. We are successful in resolving most personal injury cases without a trial.
Fort Worth Personal Injury Case Timeline
It all starts with a free consultation. Call us at (817) 968-1122 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 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 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 at Herrman & Herrman 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, 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.
What Happens When I File A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Generally, once a lawsuit is filed, the claim can take anywhere from 12 months to 5+ years. Depending on who you are asking, you will get a different answer as to WHEN to file a lawsuit. For purposes of saving the clients’ MONEY, Herrman and Herrman strives to settle all claims before filing a lawsuit. When there are fewer expenses on a claim, more of the money goes to the client. However, there are certain times when filing a lawsuit is absolutely necessary to settle a claim. When the time comes that you must file a lawsuit on your claim, I have news for you: you had better be a PATIENT person because the litigation process is long and slow.
There are several reasons why litigation takes a very long time:
- Dockets in courtrooms are behind and inefficient;
- The defense counsel actually WANTS the case to CONTINUE because the defense firm gets PAID HOURLY. This is a big deal because the very people you are negotiating with have ZERO interest in settling the claim quickly. If the claim settles quickly, then they do not get to bill a bunch of hours;
- Sometimes the plaintiff firm does not push the case along. At Herrman and Herrman, PLLC the attorneys are instructed to request the Docket Control Conference (DCC) immediately, which sets deadlines and a court date for the case;
- There are many aspects that go into a lawsuit, including depositions, designation of experts, discovery, research, etc…
Often times, the most important thing to do with a lawsuit is to manage expectations. Unfortunately, there is not much the plaintiff attorney can do to push the process along. Once all of the dates are set, there is a lot of downtime in regards to client involvement. It is important to understand that a lot of the work on a lawsuit is done behind closed doors. So just because the attorney is not talking to you every day, that does not mean the attorney is not working on your case! Be patient and if you hire a good, reputable law firm, you should be in good hands.
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 (817) 968-1122. Call today.
We have office locations in Ft. Worth, Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, San Antonio, and Houston.