Have you been injured in an accident in Dallas, TX? If so, you might be considering pursuing a personal injury case. After all, you may be struggling financially to pay your medical bills and support yourself or your family. You have a right to recover damages from a negligent party.
For most injured people, they don’t have any experience with a personal injury case. It’s normal to wonder about the process and how long it will take before you get paid. While every case is different, there is a general timeline that most Dallas personal injury cases follow.
How Long Does A Personal Injury Case Take In Dallas, TX?
This question is actually quite complicated. Every personal injury case in Dallas is different. Some cases will settle in a few weeks, while others may take years to fully resolve. Some parties can come to an agreement outside of court while others will battle it out during trial in front of a jury.
Some of the factors that may impact the length of a personal injury case include:
- The severity of the injury. The more complex the injury, the more time it takes to investigate the case, consult with doctors, and understand the nature of the injury
- The amount of damages requested by the plaintiff. In general, the higher the amount of damages the longer the case will take. Cases with smaller requests tend to settle faster because the defendant is more likely to agree to a settlement.
- The number of parties involved in a case. Some cases involve multiple defendants or even multiple plaintiffs, and that can make a case take longer.
- The amount of evidence in the case. Cases with more evidence take longer to resolve because the lawyers need to review all of the evidence before advising their clients on a settlement. If there is a mountain of evidence in the case, then it’s probably going to take a bit longer.
- The plaintiff’s role in causing the accident. If the plaintiff is responsible for contributing to the accident, then the defendant may dispute liability or try to negotiate for a lower settlement. This can make the case take longer.
A Dallas personal injury lawyer can help you get a better idea of how long your case will probably take. It will depend on the circumstances of your injury or the accident.
Timeline Of Settling A Personal Injury Case
The first step in most personal injury cases is to see if the defendant (or their insurance company) will agree to settle the case. A settlement usually happens outside of court and can occur before even filing a lawsuit. Settlements are usually preferred by both parties because it reduces the risks and unpredictability at trial.
The general timeline of a personal injury settlement will look like this:
- An accident happens and the plaintiff is injured
- The injured person hires a lawyer
- The plaintiff’s attorney collects evidence and investigates the cause of the accident
- The plaintiff files an insurance claim and speaks to an insurance adjuster
- The insurance adjuster issues a decision: to accept or deny the claim
- If denied, the plaintiff’s lawyer negotiates with the insurance company
- Instead of an insurance claim, the plaintiff’s lawyer may negotiate with the defendant’s lawyer via a demand
- If a settlement is reached, the parties will prepare and sign a settlement agreement
- The plaintiff will waive their right to future litigation or further damages
- The defendant (or the insurance company) will transfer funds to the plaintiff’s attorney
- The plaintiff’s attorney will pay medical liens and attorneys fees from the settlement
- The remainder of the settlement is transferred to the plaintiff
As you can see, a settlement can happen very quickly, especially if the insurance company or the defendant is not disputing liability. Negotiation can prolong the settlement process, and sometimes at the end of it all, there is no agreement. That means that the plaintiff will need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Sometimes a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to recover compensation after an injury. Many times there are no insurance agencies and the lawyer will go directly to court to assert their client’s legal rights.
If your lawyer is planning to file a personal injury lawsuit in Dallas, then the timeline will look like this:
- The plaintiff files a complaint in the Civil District Court. The complaint names the defendant and includes the basis for recovery, and the requested damages.
- The defendant files an answer accepting or denying the complaint.
- The parties begin the discovery process. This includes scheduling depositions, requesting interrogatories, and production of records.
- The parties are usually negotiating throughout this process to see if they can come to a settlement agreement.
- The court hears pretrial motions from both parties. This may include motions to exclude evidence, designate a witness as an expert, or on other legal issues.
- The case is set for trial and the parties prepare for trial.
- During the trial, the lawyers pick a jury through a process called voir dire. Then the parties have the opportunity to call witnesses, admit evidence, and argue their case in front of the jury.
- The jury deliberates and reaches a verdict.
This whole process can take months or years. Some cases take days to pick a jury, or to question a single witness. It’s normal for complex trials to take weeks. When a case goes to trial, it can result in a better outcome for the plaintiff, however, it can also result in a longer process to recover compensation.
If the jury reached a favorable verdict for the plaintiff, then the defendant will pay the damages either in a lump sum or through a payment plan. Just as in a settlement, the damages are paid to the plaintiff’s lawyer and then distributed to the plaintiff after all of the attorney’s fees and liens are paid.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer To Keep Your Case Moving Along
A Dallas personal injury lawyer can help you keep your case moving at a reasonable pace while ensuring you get all the compensation you deserve. Contact Anderson Injury Lawyers or call us at (214) 327-8000 to schedule a free consultation.