The days following a severe accident can be challenging for the victim. Besides the physical pain, the person will also have to pay medical bills and may experience lost wages. And as a result, it is reasonable to pursue compensation to cater for all the resulting damages.
The time it takes to settle a personal injury claim in Texas will depend on several factors. Most of these factors are under the victim’s control, while others are not.
The first step in a personal injury is getting an injury lawyer to help you file the lawsuit. Working with a skilled injury lawyer from the very beginning is very important, especially if you have severe injuries.
The Investigative Phase
Once you settle for a lawyer and file a claim, the next step will be the investigative stage. In this phase, the lawyer will gather all the available evidence, including the information you gathered at the accident scene, police report, medical records, and any other evidence that could help build your case.
This phase can take quite some time because evidence like the police report and medical records can take days or weeks to be released.
Whenever possible, it is best to wait until you attain maximum medical improvement (MMI) to allow your lawyer to have all the medical records needed. Alternatively, your lawyer can get an estimate of the expected time to achieve MMI from the treating doctor and work with that as evidence. This phase can take months, a year, or more, depending on if you decide to wait for your medical outcomes.
After gathering the evidence, the next phase will be the discovery phase, where the opposing sides will exchange all the information relevant to the court. During this phase, lawyers from both sides may conduct a disposition. “Opposing sides use this phase to size up the other side’s case,” says the personal injury attorneys of Lone Star Injury Attorneys, PLLC.
Negotiation and Mediation
After discovery, the case goes to the negotiations and mediation stage. In this stage, the defendant’s side will make an offer which your attorney may choose to take or make a counteroffer.
The time spent on the discovery phase is dependent on soon the teams can agree on the contentious issues. If they can’t reach an agreement, a third party or an independent mediator may be involved to help them come to a consensus.
Most cases settle during negotiation and mediation. However, if mediation fails, the case goes to trial, where a judge or a jury will determine the value of compensation based on the facts of the case.
Once a trial date is set, it can take one week to a month to have the court decide. However, this is dependent on the presiding judge’s schedule and the backlog of cases, meaning you may sometimes have to wait longer.
Ideally, a personal injury lawsuit should take between six and twelve months. However, if there are liability disputes, the case can take anything from 18 months or longer.
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