The Process: Personal Injury Litigation Steps
An accident that occurs in only a fraction of a second has the power to
change everything. It can be difficult to move forward after an accident
has changed your life, but the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices
of Tyler & Peery can guide you through the process. Four of the lawyers
at our San Antonio, Texas, law firm are Personal Injury Specialists certified
by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We are experienced advocates
who have helped thousands of people through the stages of a personal injury
case, helping them achieve the best possible outcomes.
Stage #1: Choosing an Attorney
After leaving the scene of the accident and receiving the appropriate medical
care, the first step towards filing a personal injury lawsuit is
meeting with an attorney. Some people do this immediately. Others wait weeks, months or even years to begin.
If you are considering talking with a lawyer about your personal injury,
contact one sooner rather than later. Texas recognizes a two-year statute
of limitations on personal injury cases, which means that lawsuits cannot
be filed more than two years after the accident. There are a few rare
exceptions to this.
There are several things you should consider when choosing an attorney.
Picking a Board-Certified Personal Injury is a wise approach because these
lawyers — experienced professionals who have been certified by the
Texas Board of Legal Specialization — have undergone rigorous testing
and professional critique. They are judged to be well qualified for even
the most complex cases.
Your lawyer’s location should also be considered. If you were injured
in south Texas or south-central Texas, or if the potential defendant resides
in the area, your interests will be best served by an attorney who knows
the local courts. At the Law Offices of Tyler & Peery, we have been
practicing law in Texas courts for years. We know how to tell your story
so that the people here will listen and understand.
Stage #2: Investigation
Even before any legal documents are filed, we will begin investigating
your claim. We may even start in your free initial consultation, where
we’ll talk about the facts of your case. What happened? Who was involved?
Were there any witnesses?
We take this information and we do a larger search. We will visit the scene
of the accident and photograph any skid marks or debris. We will locate
and interview witnesses while their memories are still fresh. And we will
record the damage to your car before you have repairs made.
Part of our investigation involves gathering your medical information.
We may have your records collected and make sure that you are getting
the proper treatment necessary to make a full and complete recovery. We
wait until you have made the maximum medical improvement possible before filing a
personal injury lawsuit.
We also hire the requisite number of experts to present your claim in most
persuasive light possible. These experts include economists, life care
planners, impairment rating experts, and accident reconstructionists.
Stage #3: Filing the Lawsuit
It is only after we have conducted extensive investigation and are completely
ready to proceed that we file your personal injury lawsuit in Texas state
or federal courts. Texas law requires that certain documents be filed
with the court and served on the other parties involved. Filing the lawsuit
puts the people who caused your accident — the defendants —
on official notice that they are being sued.
Stage #4: Discovery
Once the lawsuit has been initiated, a formal investigation process is
allowed. This process is called “discovery.” Discovery may involve
lawyers for both the plaintiffs and defendants taking depositions —
asking the parties involved formal questions under oath.
Stage #5: Negotiation and Settlement
Settlement and negotiation can occur at any point during the stages of
a personal injury case. Whether it occurs just after the lawsuit was filed
with the court or moments before trial, settlement is a way of resolving
matters so that you have control over the outcome.
Settlement is actually the most common way of ending a personal injury
lawsuit. More than 95% of cases settle before reaching the courtroom.
While we will offer you advice about whether or not a settlement offer
is a good one, the final decision whether to accept or reject a settlement
is always yours.
Stage #6: Trial
If settlement offers are unacceptable, trial is often the final stage of
a personal injury case. Cases that go to trial tend to be ones that are
not clear-cut. Often, there are disagreements about who was at fault,
or each side will strongly disagree about proper damages. In personal
injury trials, the jury makes the final decision about
who was at fault and
how much money to award the personal injury victim.