The damages you experience in a car accident can linger for years and sometimes for life, bringing employment, financial, and personal challenges. Continued medical treatments are costly, and the debt that accompanies these treatments and therapies can be overwhelming. The insurance company may have offered a settlement for your damages, but you know that this amount will never cover the mounting bills and ongoing treatment.
Compensation for your losses matters to our legal team. J.D. Silva & Associates understands that insurance companies diligently seek to settle your claim out of court with minimum compensation. One of our car accident attorneys will work with you and ensure your needs are met while helping you file a car accident lawsuit in Texas.
Timeline for Completing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas
Car accident lawsuits are not as swift as the cases you see wrapped up in a tidy package on TV. The litigation process can take time, and, in some cases, years, so understanding how things will go is critical to helping you determine the most effective course of action. You will need to find a Texas attorney that can accurately define your damages and place a value on your losses so that you receive the appropriate compensation for both your past and future losses.
A statute of limitations is the law that tells you how long you have to file a lawsuit. In Texas, an injury victim has two years from the accident date to file suit. However, there may be exceptions, and waiting is not recommended.
What factors play a part in how long a lawsuit will take?
- Court schedules: The court system is often handling full caseloads. Cases proceed through pretrial motions and meetings that include the judge, and scheduling these dates before a trial even begins can take time.
- Discovery: All the evidence in a case must be gathered and constructed into a compelling description of the events of the accident and the subsequent issues.
- Trial Process: The complexity of the case will play a part in the length of the trial.
Texas Lawsuit Phases
Most car accidents in Texas are handled under the umbrella of civil litigation. However, the factors contributing to the crash may have been criminal. Sometimes, the civil and criminal processes overlap. The legal system is technical and difficult to navigate, so a Texas car accident attorney is your best source for understanding Texas civil procedure.
Your car accident attorney will research, prepare, and file a petition in state court. During this phase, the trial judge determines what laws apply to the claim and if there is enough evidence to proceed.
Once the petition is filed, the person being sued must receive legal notice. The court’s clerk can arrange for the service of citation by a process server. The defendant has a specific timeframe within which they must file an answer in court.
The discovery process begins after that, and both parties will exchange evidence. Discovery requests may be sent, and the respondent must answer the questions within the time allotted by the court. There may be options to end a case before going to trial, including:
- Both parties work toward an agreement and find a resolution.
- A default judgment is awarded because the defendant fails to acknowledge a citation or appear in court.
- A judge grants a motion for a summary judgment if no evidence is presented to support the case.
As mentioned above, a judge may order mediation as a way to resolve your claim outside of court without going to trial. All parties involved in the lawsuit must participate in alternative dispute resolution, and many cases are resolved this way. A non-partial appointed individual known as a mediator will listen to information presented by the attorneys from all sides and work with the parties to settle the claim.
You are not required to settle at mediation if you and your attorney feel that the offer made by the defendant is unfair. At this point, the claim will move to trial.
In the trial phase of a lawsuit, a judge or jury will listen to the parties and make a determination after the presentation of evidence and witnesses. The list below contains some of the information a personal injury attorney may present on your behalf:
- Accident report: You can obtain a copy online
- Witness testimony
- Documentation such as photos from the accident
- Medical bills and services statements
- Expert witness testimony
- Documentation of lost wages
The trial phase of a lawsuit can be lengthy. Scheduling witnesses and experts to testify, the defense’s presentation of their evidence, and jury deliberation do not happen quickly.
You or the defendant may not agree with the ruling of the trial court. When this happens, an appeal can be filed, and your case will be reviewed by an appellate court to determine if an error was made. If the appellate court believes an error affected the outcome of your case, it may change the trial court result or reman your case to be tried again in a lower court.
Determining Your Best Option
Initially, working with a car accident attorney in Texas gives you significant advantages. An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies to demand a fair settlement for your injuries. If a settlement is unreachable, then a skilled Pearland car accident attorney can take you through the process of a lawsuit to obtain financial compensation. Ultimately, you will be given all the facts and allowed to decide what ultimately feels like your best option.
Insurance companies understand that low offers to settle a claim quickly become unacceptable once you have legal representation. And you are no longer pressed to make statements to insurance adjusters that may be used against you. An experienced car accident attorney will speak on your behalf and represent your best interests.
Understand Your Rights in Texas Car Accident Lawsuits
Undertaking any action in the legal system can be confusing and daunting. Just filing the appropriate paperwork within the allotted timeframe can be confusing. You should never lose the opportunity for fair compensation for the damages you sustained in a car accident.
Working with hundreds of accident victims in Texas has given J.D. Silva & Associates a firm grasp of the legal challenges preventing victims from succeeding in their claims. We are here to prevent legal barriers. We are ready to help you secure your compensation through compassionate but aggressive support during the injury claim process both in and out of the courtroom. Contact us to find out your legal options.