If you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, then you may want to first understand the process and the time timeline.
The first step after getting involved in any accident is to get treatment. You’re not in a position to determine the extent of injury, only a doctor and medical tests can do that. Don’t delay. If you’re casual about medical treatment, not only are you risking complications you may also weaken your case legally because the jury is liable to take the view that your injuries weren’t all that serious.
Once you’re through with medical treatment, begin searching for a good lawyer to help you with the case. If your loss is significant and injury serious, then you will assuredly need the services of a lawyer who can settle the case in your favor as quickly as possible.
The lawyer will proceed to understand the event by hearing your version of it. He will try and learn as much as possible about your medical background and the extent of injuries. On your part, you must do everything to inform the lawyer. Don’t keep anything from your attorney. The lawyer will then inform you if you have a case, and if you do then the most appropriate course of action will be discussed with you.
Small personal injury claims can be settled relatively quickly, while claims involving larger sums are likely to end up in court if arbitration fails. The lawyer will likely wait till you have recovered to the extent you will. This is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This will inform the lawyer about what the appropriate claim amount should be. With this approach, the lawyer also ensures that the judge does not decide upon a lower than fair amount. However, you and the lawyer should also consider the urgency of the situation. If you need money and your condition will take time to improve, the lawyer may have to file a case earlier.
The filing of lawsuits is subject to strict timeframes. Expect between one to two years for a personal injury case to reach the trial stage.
The case will have a discovery process where both parties will request answers to questions and ask for documents from one another and witnesses, including the defendant and the accuser. This process can take upward of six months.
Mediation and negotiation come up as real possibilities at this stage. Lawyers may arrive at a settlement amount purely by talking among themselves or by opting for mediation. If mediation does not work, then the case goes to trial. Be prepared for the trial date being pushed forward. It happens, depending upon the judge’s schedule.