You can file for a personal injury claim in any of the fifty US states. However, the process is slightly different in each one. You’ll need a skilled attorney to help you through the steps.
Help navigating personal injury claim steps isn’t hard to find. You can locate lawyers with a simple search, but getting the right one isn’t always so simple.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the Texas personal injury claim steps you can expect. We’ll also run down how to get an attorney you can trust.
How Do You Start?
First, you must consider your situation. If you hurt yourself, how did it happen? Can you only blame yourself, or is there a way you can hold someone else responsible?
If you feel sure someone else harmed you, you can look for lawyers in your area. Doing a Google search using keywords like “personal injury attorney near me” or something along those lines should do the trick. You might also speak to anyone you know who has hired personal injury lawyers in the past. They might know someone reliable and give you a recommendation.
Once you find some top prospects, you can contact them. Look on their websites to make sure they handle situations like yours. If you speak to a receptionist or lawyer who feels like a good fit, you can go see them in person.
What Questions Will They Ask?
The lawyer will likely ask many questions. They’ll want to know about how you hurt yourself. Give them all the relevant details, and be honest. You don’t want to misrepresent how the injury occurred, or that can come back to bite you later.
Next, you will talk about how you’ll pay the lawyer if they agree to represent you. You might pay on a contingency basis. That’s always the preferable option. You don’t want to pay the lawyer even if they lose your case.
What Happens Next?
Your lawyer should start work on your case right away. All states have limitations statutes when you’re filing a personal injury claim. You don’t want your time to run out before you file suit against the responsible person or entity.
Your lawyer will then meet with representative counsel for the defendant. This is the person or entity you feel hurt you.
They might secure a settlement payout if the defendant’s lawyer tells them that you have an open-and-shut case. You may accept the offer, or perhaps you feel the defendant or their legal team is trying to lowball you.
If so, you can take them to trial. Your lawyer might recommend this if they feel you have a good chance to win. Remember, though, you can ignore your attorney’s advice and accept a settlement offer if you don’t want to go through the trial process.
The Trial Process
The trial will begin, and it might take days, weeks, or sometimes months. That depends on how much evidence you have and what evidence the defendant produces to counter your claim.
You must appear in court, and you may miss work while the trial drags on. It’s not easy spending time in the courtroom every day. You might find the proceedings tedious. You might also miss your family if you can’t see them much during this process.
If you have a significant other or spouse, you may call on them to watch the kids. They must help them with homework, keep the house clean, take the kids to school, walk the dog, etc. You’re in the courtroom, but your whole family feels the trial’s impact.
The trial might continue till you rest your case and the defendant does too. Rarely do personal injury claims reach this point. Often, the defendant offers you a settlement first.
If the defendant feels strongly that they did not cause your injury, though, the jury must decide. Your peers might decide in your favor, or they may rule against you if they feel you and your lawyer did not prove your case.
In Texas, some personal injury trial juries side with the defendant, and others with the plaintiff. It’s hard to predict how it will go when deliberations start. Eventually, though, you’ll hear the decision. You might walk away with some money or perhaps nothing at all.
You may feel glad you went through the process, or the result may frustrate you. Try preparing yourself mentally for either possibility.