The Stages Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Meet with an attorney
It is important to meet with an attorney soon after your injury. There are a lot of pitfalls and issues that come up early in a case. An attorney is not only there to give you advice, but to do the right things to trigger preservation of evidence, and to gather evidence that is important for your case.An insurance adjuster accepting liability is not binding on them. They may make an offer on the case. However, they can change their opinion, particularly if your injuries turn out to be worse than they appear at the time - which is often the case early on following the injury.
Filing the lawsuit
If your attorney presents your claim to the insurance and that doesn’t work out, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit. In some instances, filing a lawsuit early is the best way to go. Your attorney will gather the information needed and file the necessary papers, which in Texas is called a petition. This document sets out your causes of action or your claims.
Discovery is a document that requests papers or documents, or items relevant to the case, and asks certain questions on the defendants to help gather the information necessary to pursue the case. That's where the term discovery comes from. The idea is to discover the other side's position and evidence. The theory being that the more information that is exchanged, the more likely the parties are to be able to see eye to eye to understand each other's position, and therefore, be able to work out a solution. Discovery can include written discovery and sworn statements, called depositions.
There also may be legal motions. Most likely these are going to be what's called a motion for summary judgment. While they take a couple of forms, what these are basically saying is that as a matter of law a certain claim cannot be made. The attorney will brief the issue, argue it before the court, and the court will make a ruling based on what's been presented as to where other not that claim can go forward.
Another type of motion is evidentiary motions, although these typically take place right before a trial, where the parties are asking for the court to exclude certain evidence or limit certain evidence.
The next big step in a case is going to be a possibility for settlement, which is typically handled through a mediation. However, this can happen in any stage of the case. It can be done through informal discussions with the attorney or through written communication. Oftentimes cases resolve either at or shortly after a mediation, however, a case can settle all the way up to and even during a trial.
Trial If there is no settlement, the next step would be going to trial. Trials typically last two to five days depending on the type and size of the case, the parties, and experts involved. Generally a trial takes part in a few phases. These include jury selection, opening statements, the evidence phase, which includes direct and cross examination, closing arguments, instructions to the jury, and finally, jury deliberation.
Collecting on judgment
Once the jury has returned a verdict in your favor, the next phase is collecting the judgment. Collecting a judgment can be a challenge, which is why attorneys talk about the importance of insurance. In Texas, there are things that are protected and a limit on property and other things that can be taken from a defendant in a lawsuit. If the defendant does not pay the judgment from the court, your attorney may have to file a motion to enforce.
There are many phases to a personal injury lawsuit, which makes it crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side. The personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group have the experience and resources necessary to help you win your case. Our attorneys and staff are friendly and conscientious about your needs and concerns. Call us at 800-863-5312. No Recovery. No Fees.