Jason Stephens | June 15, 2023 | Personal Injury
After a personal injury or accident, most people file insurance claims with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. Most personal injury claims settle through negotiations with the insurance company. However, it might be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in some situations.
Most people file a personal injury lawsuit when an insurance company denies their claim, the company refuses to pay a fair settlement amount, or the party has no insurance. An experienced Fort Worth personal injury lawyer helps you weigh the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit.
What Steps Are Involved in a Fort Worth, TX, Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Each personal injury lawsuit is different. However, there are seven steps in a civil case that apply in most lawsuits. The steps of a lawsuit include:
Investigation of the Claim
The preliminary investigation is an essential step in a personal injury case. You have the burden of proving the other party caused your injuries. Most cases are based on a negligence cause of action. Therefore, you need evidence proving each legal requirement of a negligence claim, including:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
You must also have proof of your damages and the value of those damages. After the investigation, your attorney makes a settlement demand to the insurance provider. Most cases are resolved at this stage.
If your case does not settle, you must file a lawsuit before the Texas statute of limitations expires. Most cases have a two-year filing deadline. However, factors in your case could shorten or lengthen the deadline, so always consult a lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.
The plaintiff files a complaint setting forth the allegations against the defendant. The complaint must be served on the defendant. The defendant has a deadline for filing responsible pleadings.
The parties engage in discovery to gather additional information and evidence. Examples of discovery methods in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Interrogatories (Questions to the other party answered under oath.)
- Request for Production of Documents
- Request for Admission of Facts
Discovery also allows each party to learn more about the other party’s case. It allows the attorneys to adjust strategies and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the claim as well.
The parties may engage in settlement negotiations, which could include mediation. After discovery, the parties have a better idea of their chances of winning a case at trial. Therefore, many cases settle at this stage without going to trial.
If the case does not settle, the parties may file one or more pre-trial motions. These motions relate to questions of law.
For example, the defense might file a motion to dismiss, alleging that the plaintiff does not have evidence to prove their case. The parties might file motions to allow or suppress evidence or witnesses. Pre-trial motions are important because the judge’s decisions could significantly impact the trial.
The plaintiff presents their case at the trial first, and the defendant follows. Evidence is introduced through witness testimony. After both parties complete their case, the judge instructs the jury on the law related to the case.
The juror deliberations are private. They must decide whether the plaintiff proved their case by a preponderance of the evidence. The plaintiff must convince the jurors that there is a greater than 50% chance the defendant caused their injuries.
If the jury decides in favor of the plaintiff, they must determine how much the case is worth. They enter an award for damages, which can include economic and non-economic damages. In a small number of cases, a jury might award punitive damages.
Either party can appeal the decision if they believe they have legal grounds for an appeal. Appeals do not retry the evidence presented at trial. Instead, appeals determine if there was a legal error that justifies overturning the decision.
Get Help From a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer Sooner Rather Than Later
The sooner you consult a personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, the better your chance of recovering a fair settlement for your personal injury case. Experienced personal injury lawyers have the resources and skills to investigate your claim. They gather evidence and build a solid case proving fault and liability.
The longer you wait to seek legal counsel, the more chance that evidence could disappear. Also, there is a greater chance you could make mistakes that hurt your case. Having sound legal advice early in the case helps you get the money you deserve after an injury or accident.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107