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The Process of a Personal Injury Claim in Texas

If you or someone you love gets injured in an accident that is caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim in Texas. This legal action allows injured accident victims to seek justice and financial compensation by holding one or more parties accountable for their losses.

Filing a personal injury claim can be daunting, especially if this is your first time. Understanding the basic legal process behind a personal injury claim can help you proceed with more confidence. Note that your specific case is unique and may not follow the typical steps. Consult with a personal injury attorney in Austin to discuss your individual circumstances.

Medical Care and Injury Documentation

Before you initiate a personal injury claim, you should take steps to build your case and make sure you receive the medical treatments you need for your injuries. Go to a hospital or doctor’s office near you as soon as possible after an accident in Texas.

Waiting to obtain medical treatment for your injuries can negatively affect your health and ability to heal. It can also hurt your eligibility for financial compensation, as an insurance company may use the delay in care against you to blame you for the extent of your injuries.

Even if you feel fine after an accident, see a doctor for an official checkup. You may have injuries with delayed or hidden symptoms that arise later. Document your medical treatments and keep copies of your health care bills to prove your injuries.

Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Once you have been treated for your injuries and are on the road to physical recovery, you can focus on financial recovery. Begin by scheduling a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer near you. This consultation can give you important information and advice about your case and legal situation.

At no cost or obligation to hire the law firm, you can receive guidance about whether you need to hire an attorney, whether your case has merit, how much your case might be worth and how long it could take to be resolved. During your consultation, ask questions about the attorney’s credentials and qualifications to make sure he or she is the right fit for you.

If you have serious or catastrophic injuries or a loved one died in a preventable accident in Texas, it is generally recommended that you hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you. An attorney can prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you and undervaluing your claim. Representation can also make the legal process easier for you and your family.

Insurance Claim Initiation

With assistance from your lawyer, file a claim or submit a demand letter with one or more insurance companies to initiate the legal process. Where you file your claim will depend on who you wish to hold liable, or financially responsible, for your accident and injuries.

Typically, the liable party is someone who was negligent or failed to act with reasonable care based on the circumstances. If a motor vehicle driver was texting while driving and caused your car accident, for example, the driver can be held liable under Texas’s fault-based car insurance law.

File an insurance claim as soon as possible, since most insurance providers have tight deadlines. Aim to file your claim within 24 to 72 hours of the accident. If you need assistance determining the liable party or parties, an attorney can help.

Settlement Negotiation

When an insurance company receives your claim, it will investigate to determine whether you are eligible for financial benefits. The accident investigation may require you to submit evidence of the policyholder’s fault and your injuries or losses connected to the accident. The insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to conduct the investigation.

If the insurance company accepts your claim, it will offer a settlement or an amount of money to resolve the legal dispute. It’s crucial not to accept a fast settlement before talking to an attorney about the value of your case. Your personal injury lawyer can submit a counteroffer and negotiate with the insurer to fight for fair compensation.

Commencement of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Most personal injury claims in Texas are resolved at the settlement stage. However, a particularly complicated case may end up at trial. If an insurance company denies liability for your accident or refuses to offer a just settlement, your lawyer may recommend taking your case to court.

In this situation, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed before Texas’s statute of limitations. This is a law (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003) that places a strict filing deadline of two years on most personal injury claims.

Discovery Phase

A personal injury trial in Texas begins with the discovery phase. During this period, both sides of the case have the chance to investigate each other’s claims and collect evidence. Discovery often involves written questionnaires (interrogatories) and in-person interviews (depositions) to gather information.

Mediation or Arbitration

A personal injury lawsuit in Texas can be resolved with a settlement at any point up until the first day of the trial. While preparing for your personal injury trial, your lawyer will also be negotiating with the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company to reach a settlement.

In many cases, settlement negotiations involve alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and arbitration. These are out-of-court meetings with a third-party mediator or arbitrator who will help facilitate negotiations or, in the case of binding arbitration, decide the case’s outcome.

Trial

If a settlement is not reached, the personal injury trial will commence on the assigned court date. Trials give both sides of a case a platform to present evidence and testimony to prove their claims. A judge or jury will listen to the evidence and determine whether the plaintiff met the burden of proof, which is a “preponderance of the evidence.”

If the plaintiff meets the burden of proof, the courts will award a judgment or jury verdict – an amount of money the defendant must pay to the plaintiff to make him or her whole again. If the burden of proof is not met, the case will be dismissed. The plaintiff may have the option of filing an appeal in this situation, depending on the circumstances.

These are just the basic processes involved in the average personal injury claim. For personalized legal advice and information about your particular case, contact the Austin personal injury lawyers at FVF Law to request a free, no-obligation consultation in Austin. Contact us online or at (512) 865-4817 today.

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Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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