When you suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligent or careless behavior, you have a right to pursue full and fair compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, many accident victims feel immediate financial pressure due to medical bills and time off work, and they wonder how long a personal injury lawsuit will take.
Personal injury law is a broad area of practice that governs many different types of claims. For instance, auto accidents, premises liability claims, and product liability claims all fall under personal injury law. Each case is unique, and there are many different factors that can affect how long your personal injury lawsuit may take.
When you schedule a free case consultation with our knowledgeable lawyers, we will review the details of your case and develop a personal injury lawsuit timeline to give you an idea of what to expect with your case. We will also take over communication with your health care providers and the at-fault party to ensure you are not being pressured to take a lowball settlement offer just to cover immediate medical bills.
Developing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline
Building a solid case for compensation takes time, and there are many deadlines that must be met along the way. In general, the common steps in a personal injury lawsuit are:
- Investigation of your injuries. One of the first steps our skilled personal injury attorneys will take is to conduct a thorough investigation into your injuries and the accident that caused them. In this early investigation phase, we will review your medical records, as well as information about your treatment and the associated financial costs. In addition, our attorneys will gather detailed evidence related to what caused the accident to determine who should be held liable. Once we establish that you have a valid personal injury claim, we will officially file your lawsuit. The investigation stage can take anywhere from weeks to months, depending upon the specific facts of your case.
- Serving the defendant(s). Once your claim has been filed, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure require that the defendant (or defendants) be served, or notified of the lawsuit. Depending upon where the defendant is, this can take more than a few days, but the law requires that defendant(s) be served within a relatively short period of time.
- Once the defendants are served, they will have to respond within a short period of time. At that point, a phase known as discovery begins. This is an information-gathering stage that involves interviews with both parties, as well as witnesses, medical professionals, and other relevant people. Typically, during discovery, both parties will take depositions, which means that you — and the other parties involved — will need to respond to questions from your own attorney and from the opposing counsel.
- Going to trial. After all the information has been gathered, your case may proceed to trial. Depending on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the case, trials can take quite a while. In many instances, defendants will want to settle. If a plaintiff decides to continue with a trial, eventually a jury will reach a verdict. If the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, the jury will then award damages.
- Settlement. At any time before going to trial or during trial, the parties can agree to a settlement. Settlement typically involves impassioned negotiations. One of the benefits of a settlement is that it can take a shorter time than seeing a trial through to its conclusion. Although most personal injury cases do end in settlement, our attorneys believe that building a strong case for trial puts you in a strong position to negotiate a settlement as well.
What Factors Affect the Resolution of a Personal Injury Claim?
There are numerous factors that can influence your personal injury lawsuit timeline, including:
- General complexity of the case
- Number of parties involved
- Intricacy of the discovery phase
- Whether the case settles or goes through trial to a jury verdict
These are just a few examples of factors that can affect the length of time necessary to resolve a personal injury claim. Your attorney can discuss the specific details of your case with you.
Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Claim
In order to be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, you will need to file your claim within the relevant statute of limitations. Under Texas law, personal injury claims in general have a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident and your injuries, or else you will lose the ability to do so.
There are a few exceptions to this statute of limitations, however. For instance, when it comes to personal injury claims such as those related to asbestos exposure or those connected to certain criminal acts, the statute of limitations works a bit differently.
No matter what type of accident you have been hurt in, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will want to begin collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and building a strong case long before the statute of limitations deadline comes along.
Contact a New Braunfels Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact one of our experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. At the Burch Law Firm, we provide hands-on, one-on-one attention to our clients through every stage of the personal injury claims process.
Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation, and let us review your claim and determine how long your personal injury lawsuit may take.
Troy Burch has practiced law in New Braunfels since 1990 representing residents of New Braunfels and the surrounding communities. Troy Burch graduated with high honors from Texas Christian University and from Baylor Law School.