The steps on how to address a Personal Injury Lawsuit will vary depending on the facts of the individual case. Your attorney can give you the pros and cons and best advice you on how to proceed. However, generally in Texas, personal injury lawsuits can be worked as follows:
The first step in a personal injury lawsuit is to gather as much evidence as possible to support the plaintiff’s claim. This may include medical records, police reports, witness statements, and photographs of the accident or injury. In accidents that involve certain defendants (like the government agencies) additional notices have to be done and the time limits can vary. If these time limits are not complied with then recovery is generally barred (not allowed).
Once the first set of evidence has been gathered the parties can attempt to settle. If a settlement cannot be reached then the next step would be to file a lawsuit.
Filing a complaint/lawsuit:
Once the plaintiff has gathered sufficient evidence, they can file a complaint with the court. This must be done prior to the running of the statute of limitations. The complaint will outline the details of the accident, the injuries sustained, and the damages being sought among other things like jurisdiction.
Service of process:
The defendant must be formally served with the complaint and a summons, which informs them of the lawsuit and their obligation to respond.
Response to the complaint:
The defendant has the option to file an answer to the complaint, in which they may admit or deny the allegations made against them.
Both parties will engage in a process called discovery, during which they can request information and documents from each other and take depositions of witnesses.
Either party may file pre-trial motions, such as a motion for summary judgment or to exclude certain evidence.
Many personal injury cases are settled out of court through negotiations between the parties. If a settlement can be reached, the case will not go to trial. Please keep in mind that the case could settle at any point during the trial prior to the jury reaching a verdict.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. Both parties will present their evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, who will then decide the outcome of the case.
If either party may file an appeal to a higher court.
It is important to note that personal injury lawsuits can be complex and time-consuming. It is often advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the legal process and maximize the chances of a successful outcome.