As medical bills start to mount, and you find yourself unable to return to work or even perform the same activities of daily life that you could before an accident, you soon realize you need help. If your accident was the result of somebody else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. While every case is different, here is a brief overview of some of the steps that are common to most claims.
Step-by-Step Guide to Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Step 1. Find the Right Attorney
The personal injury process begins when you find the right attorney. Following a free consultation, your attorney will review the facts of your case and advise you of your legal options. You’ll want to bring as much documentation to the consultation as you can. This might include the police report, medical bills, and photos.
Step 2. Investigate the Claim
Even if there has already been an investigation into the accident, your attorney will begin their investigation. First, they will reach out to anyone else involved in the accident and ask for a statement. They will speak with witnesses who saw the accident, collect accident reports, and reach out to their group of experts. It’s during this time that your attorney is trying to determine who is liable.
Step 3. Document Damages
Damages are any losses you incurred as a result of the accident. When there are no losses, there is no case. Your attorney will document the actual damages you have incurred by collecting medical bills, invoices, and pay stubs indicating how much in wages you have lost from work.
Step 4. File the Personal Injury Lawsuit
When it’s time to file your suit, your attorney will notify the defendant and their insurance company of your claim. They will then try to reach a settlement. During these negotiations, each side will present numbers they are comfortable with and either accept or reject the offer. Most personal injury cases settle at this point. Through a settlement, those hurt typically receive their compensation sooner, and it helps pay for medical bills and other expenses. However, when the at-fault party and your attorney can’t reach an agreement, it will go to trial.
Step 5. Discovery
The discover process is one of the longest periods of any trial. Discovery is the process when the attorneys for both sides exchange facts, documentation, and information. The purpose of discovery is to allow both sides a chance to understand the facts and arguments the other side will use against them. As discovery draws to a close, the attorneys for each side may enter back into negotiations.
Step 6. Mediation
This part of the process requires the two parties to meet with a mediator in an attempt to reach a settlement. The mediator is experienced with many ways to resolve a dispute. They are there to try to bring the two sides to an agreement. Although mediation can slow the personal injury process down, particularly if it doesn’t work, it is often cheaper and faster than going to trial.
Step 7. Settlement
The willingness of either side to settle in your personal injury case will greatly depend on the facts and evidence of the case. If you have a significant amount of evidence that implicates the at-fault party, they may be more willing to settle. On the other hand, if they have evidence that shows you were partially liable for the accident, you may be more willing to settle for a lower amount.
Step 8. Trial
If mediation did not work and the two sides cannot agree on a fair settlement, the case will go to trial. At trial, you are at the mercy of the Texas courts. The case will proceed according to the timeline and schedule of the courts, and hearing dates can be scheduled and then rescheduled. After all sides have had a chance to present their arguments, a judge or jury will then determine who was at fault.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
- There is a Negligent Party
In a car accident, you do not need to prove the other driver intentionally hit you. You only need to show they were careless, reckless, or otherwise acted with a disregard for public safety. For example, if the other driver ran a stop sign and hit you, that is sufficient to prove negligence.
- The Negligence Was the Cause of the Injury
Even when there is clearly negligence on the part of the defendant, the plaintiff must prove that negligence caused some specific injury or damage. This may include physical injuries, damages to the plaintiff’s car, or even psychological injuries linked to the accident.
- There are Compensable Damages
Damages refer to the amount of money an accident victim may recover from a negligent defendant. As with negligence, the plaintiff needs to prove the existence and amount of damages, which may include items like medical bills or loss of income or potential earnings.
Brad says, “Your attorney should sit down with you prior to trial and thoroughly explain the process, as well as the risks and rewards of trying your personal injury case.”
If you have been injured as the result of someone’s negligence, it is not fair for one family to bear the financial burden caused by another person. Call Parker Law Firm today at 817-440-3888 for your free consultation.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.
Have You Been Injured In A Texas Accident?
If you’ve been injured you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. We help personal injury clients throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.