How Long Does a Car Accident Injury Case Take in Texas?
Have you been injured in a vehicle accident in south Texas due to the negligence of another motorist? Are you asking yourself, “How long does a car accident injury case take?” After obtaining immediate medical attention, you should explore your legal options and rights with an experienced Texas car accident attorney.
An experienced attorney who specializes in this type of personal injury case can review the facts of your claim, conduct an investigation by questioning witnesses, evaluate all police and medical reports, and provide insight into what to expect when pursuing a lawsuit. Someone with expertise in this area of law is also able to give you an estimate of the settlement amount you can expect and how long the case might take.
Getting an appropriate amount of compensation, as well as the length of time the legal process requires, will depend on these three factors:
The value of a traffic crash case is decided by which driver was at fault. The plaintiff will only receive a partial damage claim if the defendant in a personal injury case is determined to be partially liable for damages. In Texas, plaintiffs must prove they were less than 51 percent at fault in the accident to recover damages.
Next, it is important to determine what exactly caused the injury or injuries. Is it possible to trace the injury back to the collision, which then puts the defendant’s negligence at fault? Were there any pre-existing injuries not caused by the accident? Do medical records support the plaintiff’s claim?
The extent of the injuries and associated expenses, as well as how much insurance coverage is available, play a major role in the settlement amount. If the lawsuit succeeds, the parties involved must determine how much money is needed to fulfill the plaintiff’s right to obtain full compensation.
In cases where a defendant does not have insurance, has insufficient coverage, or has no alternative sources of capital, moving forward with a lawsuit may not be the wisest decision. To determine the best option, a good personal injury attorney will analyze each potential insurance policy and evaluate whether there are other sources of funds from which it is possible to draw compensation.
What Is the Typical Timeline for a Texas Personal Injury Claim?
The reality is that personal injury claims require patience—they do not get resolved overnight. Some cases resolve in less than a year, but others will take longer when there are multiple defendants, large amounts of cash, or multiple attorneys involved. The more complex cases may take years if there are also appeals. Most people will settle their disputes for less than what they deserve in order to get paid quickly.
Cases take long to resolve for three main reasons:
– There may be legal or factual complications
– The plaintiff is seeking a large sum of money
– The plaintiff has not yet reached a maximum level of medical improvement, so you cannot accurately determine the final amount of compensation needed.
Factual or legal complexities that often delay a personal injury case include determining liability (i.e., which driver is at fault), compensation amounts for victims, and settlement offers. Insurance companies are unlikely to offer a settlement until an investigation into the incident determines liability.
To claim compensation for a personal injury, the injured party must prove that the negligence of another caused their injuries. If negligence were to blame, they might be able to hold the driver liable for damages.
A personal injury case stemming from a traffic collision typically proceeds as follows:
Day One: Obtaining Medical Treatment
The sooner a victim seeks medical attention after a traffic crash in Texas, the better. Ideally, this will happen immediately after an accident or within 24 hours at the very least. If you delay filing a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance company might argue that you were not truly injured.
It is also imperative that you follow your doctor’s orders for both your health and your case.
Unless a crash victim sustains serious injuries requiring ongoing treatment or medical care, most civil lawsuits do not begin until the injured party has attained maximum medical improvement. At this point, recovery and recuperation are considered complete. While there are exceptions, the reason it works this way is because the plaintiff cannot know what monetary sum to request prior to reaching maximum medical improvement.
Next: Finding and Hiring a Professional Texas Injury Attorney
Who you hire can mean the difference between winning and losing? You need an attorney well-versed in negotiating outside of the courtroom and successfully defending clients inside the courtroom. In most cases, attorneys for both sides will meet to negotiate a fair settlement. However, your attorney must be ready to go to trial if the other side does not offer a reasonable compensation amount. Besides having ample experience, the attorney you choose should be someone who makes you feel confident and assured. You should like and trust them.
What Not to Do
You might need to provide a statement to an insurance adjuster following an accident. However, make sure you consult with your personal injury lawyer before speaking with the adjuster, as they will likely advise against giving a recorded or written account of events. Sometimes they will misconstrue or twist what you say in order to avoid paying. In action, signing any insurance documents could cause you to lose your legal right to pursue a lawsuit. If offered a settlement, the amount might be less than what you are rightfully due.
Do not make the mistake of settling with the insurance company before you complete your medical treatment. Rather let an injury lawyer negotiate on your behalf. Ultimately, if you were involved in a car accident in south Texas, you should consult an Edinburg auto accident attorney before speaking with insurance adjusters.
Negotiating After Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
Due to the nature of an injury or injuries, it can take up to three months for an attorney to gather evidence and prepare for negotiations out of court. For some victims, however, this is also the amount of time it takes before attaining full medical improvement.
If negotiations with an insurance company drag on too long or come to a standstill, you can either accept an offer (which may be low) or take your case to trial. Another aspect to consider is that if you file a suit too early, it could be difficult to prove your case and may require more evidence and documentation. This is why most car accident lawyers recommend waiting until maximum medical improvement.
In some cases, it may be more beneficial to start formal action sooner. That is because it can take up to eight weeks to serve a defendant, at which point they then have time to file a response.
As negotiations begin, the phase known as “discovery” starts. This is when opposing parties exchange evidence and collect information through depositions and interrogatories (statements and testimony) from eyewitnesses and relevant experts.
In Texas, the time between filing a lawsuit and the first day of a personal injury trial may take as much as two years. In a personal injury trial, the length of time it takes to complete is different for each case. The complexity can extend the time from a single day to months or more. The good news is that victims of negligence leading to vehicular collisions can obtain both justice and compensation in Texas. You simply need to be able to prove your case, hire a lawyer with expertise and plenty of experience, and have loads of patience.