Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 9:40 pm
In Texas, navigating through a personal injury claim can be quite difficult, both financially and emotionally. Many cases tend to take a lot of time to resolve, and it’s important to have an attorney that will be in your case for the long haul, and won’t settle quickly for a cheap amount.
To help make the process a bit more bearable, it’s important to understand the stages involved in a personal injury case, along with the work that your counsel will be doing to keep your case on the right track. The key to a fair and successful recovery is being patient all through to allow the case to play out.
Typically, Texas personal injury cases will go through 5 critical stages:
The litigation stage is often avoidable, though it’s the primary goal of your attorney to obtain the most favorable resolution for you. So, if there are inadequate settlement offers from the responsible party, your attorney might file a lawsuit and the litigation stage will run its course.
Here is a rundown of each of the 5 stages your case is likely to go through:
1. Treatment and Recovery
Immediate medical attention and treatment for your injuries is vital for your health and safety. The first thing that your attorney will prioritize is getting you back to 100% full health. As such, during this stage, you’ll see your physician and/or medical provider as regularly as needed, and the timeline will vary depending on your injuries.
It’s important to be patient during this stage and adhere to all of the treatment plans and prescriptions from your doctor. You also want to document the nature of your injuries after the accident, and all the expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, including the prescriptions, medical bills, wheelchairs, artificial appliances, etc.
In case you’re unable to attend any of your doctor’s scheduled appointments, make sure you cancel timely, and then reschedule at your earliest convenience. Keep in mind that what your doctors write on your file can dramatically affect your case.
2. Summary Stage
When you’re fully recovered, the medical bills and records are collected from your medical providers. Additionally, your attorney will collect documentation for your lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and incidental expenses. When the necessary information is collected, a settlement packet will be submitted to the responsible party or their insurance company along with a demand letter.
In the vast majority of cases, the insurance company won’t settle the case until they receive a copy of all the medical bills and records along with lost wage information regarding the case of the injured party once they have fully recovered. The role of your attorney during this stage is gathering all of the necessary information and present it to the defendant.
During this stage, the lawyer can determine if you have a case or not, and will give you the bad news early enough.
3. Demands and Negotiation
Many smaller and less complicated personal injury claims are settled before a lawsuit is filed. If your attorney thinks that your case can be settled, they will make a demand to the party and fault, or their insurance company.
Alternatively, your lawyer will file the lawsuit. Generally, if the claim involves a claim of permanent impairment or injury, a good attorney won’t settle before filing suit. They will also not make a demand until you have recovered or reached a point of maximum medical improvement.
During this stage, the insurance company will make an offer of settlement. Your attorney will present you with the full details, and you have the option of accepting or declining the offer. Negotiations will continue until an acceptable offer is made. If the insurer accepts the demand, the case is officially settled, and from there, it proceeds to the disbursement stage. If they refuse to make a fair offer, your case proceeds to litigation.
Filing a lawsuit starts the clock running on when your case gets to trial. Your lawyer should provide you will the information on what to expect. Keep in mind that lawsuits take time, and you have to be patient all through the litigation.
The key here is to present the jury with a strong case and clear facts, which should help them render a fair verdict for you. Of course, this will be a team effort, and your help will be appreciated.
The final stage is disbursement. Once your case is settled, a check will be issued to both the attorney and the injured party. You’ll be contacted to avail yourself to the lawyer’s office to sign the checks and releases of the claims. All the checks will be written to pay the liens, medical bills, and even the attorney. With your check at hand, the case file will officially be close.