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8 Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Aug 31, 2017 in Personal Injury

injured man consulting with a personal injury attorneyFiling a personal injury lawsuit can seem like an overwhelming prospect at first. Because many people are unfamiliar with the legal process, this task can be a time-consuming and stressful period.

However, a seasoned personal injury attorney will be able to guide you through the legal process and ensure your claim is handled fairly. An attorney will recognize when you have a valid case against the at-fault party and can advise you on which legal course of action is in your best interest.

At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our Fort Worth personal injury attorneys will work to help ensure your claim is properly handled and will advise you on the steps of filing a lawsuit in Texas. These steps include:

1. Seek Medical Attention

The first step you should take after an accident is to immediately seek medical care for your injuries. Your main priority during this time should be to focus on your health.

Quickly seeking medical attention after the accident also shows that you suffered a serious injury and expresses urgency to the insurance adjuster evaluating your claim.

After you have been treated, you should collect medical records of your treatment to prove the link between the accident and your injury.

2. Consult with an Attorney

Next, you should hire a personal injury attorney. When you search for an attorney, consider the following qualities:

  • Knowledge of your type of claim
  • Experience representing personal injury victims against insurance companies
  • Reputation within the legal community
  • Trust among his or her clients
  • Trial experience and his or her record of successful verdicts and settlements
  • Your comfort with the attorney

An experienced personal injury attorney will act as your advocate during the claims process to ensure your claim is properly handled. He or she will directly communicate with the at-fault party’s insurer and attorney to ensure your claim is properly handled.

An attorney will also be able to accurately evaluate your claim to determine fair compensation that reflects the pain and suffering you experienced after the accident.

Your attorney can use this figure to negotiate with an insurer to reach a fair settlement, or pursue further legal action if an insurer is uncooperative.

At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free initial consultation to review the details of your claim and determine if you have a valid case against the at-fault party.

3. Gather Information

After you chose an attorney, he or she will investigate your claim to determine if you have a case.

The investigation will include gathering evidence that establishes a link between your injury and the at-fault party’s negligence. This will include:

  • Collecting medical records about your injury and the treatment you received
  • Interviewing witnesses who were present during the accident
  • Acquiring the police report taken after the accident
  • Reviewing your employment records to determine if you suffered lost wages because of the accident

The information your attorney gathers can be used to build a case that helps support your claim and helps you recover adequate compensation.

4. Send a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company

Once your attorney determines that you have a valid claim, he or she may send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company.

This notice will inform the at-fault party’s insurer that you are filing a claim and will provide a monetary figure that your attorney believes to be fair compensation for your injury.

Your attorney may need to negotiate with the insurer to reach a fair settlement. If you are able to informally settle your claim without filing a lawsuit and going to trial, it will save you considerable time.

However, there is a two-year statute of limitations in Texas to file a personal injury claim, per Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem Code § 16.003. If you miss this deadline, you cannot recover compensation.

5. File a Complaint and Summons

If we are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, your attorney will file a complaint against the at-fault party and relay your intention to file a lawsuit.

The complaint letter will set the grounds for your lawsuit and will include the reason you are suing the at-fault party and the compensation you believe is fair.

Once the complaint has been served, the other side must provide an answer either admitting to or denying fault for your claim. This also provides the at-fault party the opportunity to give his or her side of the story and file a counter-claim, if he or she is able.

6. Start the Discovery Process

The discovery process is an important part of a personal injury lawsuit that begins after the victim has filed a complaint against the at-fault party.

This a formal fact-finding investigation that allows the attorneys for both sides to gather information from the other party.

Discovery usually involves answering written questions, producing documents and conducting depositions. During a deposition, each side’s attorneys will ask a series of questions to a person under oath while being recorded by a court reporter. Both sides are also allowed to depose the other party and any witnesses that might be involved before the trial begins.

7. Pre-Trial Motions and Settlements

Before the trial, both sides of a lawsuit have the chance to file motions that may affect how the trial proceeds or what evidence the other side is allowed to use.

There are also several alternative methods you may be able to explore to avoid a trial, such as mediation or arbitration.

Additionally, settlement discussions will likely continue to take place throughout the pre-trial phase of the lawsuit. The results from the discovery process may help determine which side has the strongest case and may cause the other to settle before going to trial.

8. Going to Trial

If neither side can agree to reach a settlement or resolve the claim through alternative means, the next step is taking the lawsuit to trial. A personal injury trial can last for days or weeks, depending on the circumstances behind the case.

Once the trial concludes, a jury will announce the verdict and the amount of damages you are to be awarded, if applicable. The other party will have the right to challenge the court’s decision by filing a motion to appeal.

Contact Our Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyers

If you believe you have a claim after being injured by another’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for qualified legal representation.

Our attorneys have more than 60 years of combined personal injury experience and a proven track record of handling a variety of cases. We have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients and are ready to review your case through a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you are entitled compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not charge you any upfront legal fees. You only have to pay us if we help you recover compensation for your claim.

Call (877) 920-9009 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.