After recovering from a car accident, the last thing you may want to do is begin the personal injury claim process. However, it can take months or even years to get you the settlement you deserve, so it’s important to find a car accident personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your physical injuries have healed.
The right personal injury lawyer will understand your concerns and guide you through the legal process. In addition to providing legal counsel, a lawyer can help you deal with unpaid medical bills, lost income, and other stresses that add up after an accident.
Below, we describe the timeline that car accident cases generally follow in Texas. However, no matter how well your Texas personal injury lawyer handles your case, there are always unknown factors that can influence what happens as it moves along.
What Is the General Timeline for a Lawsuit?
Lawsuits contain many factors that can increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to resolve them. Just as there is not an average personal injury lawsuit, there is no average amount of time that a claim takes.
All that said, a case with well-established liability and a helpful defendant could take just a few months to reach a settlement. If your injury is undeniably tied to the accident and medical costs are clear-cut, your case has an even better chance of wrapping up quickly. But when fault, injuries, and medical costs are less obvious, the case may need to go to trial and can stretch out for months or even years.
People beginning a personal injury lawsuit often have concerns about paying their bills while they are waiting for a settlement. Let your attorney know about your concerns, and they will help you defer or set up a plan for payments so your bills won’t go unpaid while you wait. They will also help you document your mounting costs due to the accident and use this information to ensure that your financial losses are appropriately covered in the settlement.
What Factors Impact the Length of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Considering the following factors can help you estimate how long your case will take. Unfortunately, some of these factors are out of your control, but a well-practiced attorney will know how to best mitigate these issues.
Response from Other Parties
Your case will depend on information provided to your attorney from medical and insurance professionals. Your lawyer will request things like medical records from your doctor as evidence for your claim. If extenuating circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, make it difficult to get a response from the medical staff who treated you or slows the time that it takes for your insurance company to process your medical claims, this can cause delays in your case.
Type of Injuries
The kind of injuries that you sustained in the accident can also affect how long your case takes. Your attorney will need to show:
- The full extent of your injuries from the incident
- Recovery time and treatments
- Your medical history prior to the incident
- Ongoing medical issues as a result of the incident
This investigation is necessary to ensure that your attorney can prove your costs in the claim are related to the incident. Depending on your injuries and medical history, this can take an extensive amount of time to determine. This can also be complicated if the insurance company disputes your claim and requires their own investigation.
To recoup their costs for treatment, your hospital and health insurance provider may attempt to put a lien on your settlement. While their intention is to be compensated, this step can actually slow down your settlement, as your attorney will need to devote energy to investigating their claims. In some cases, it may even be necessary to file a lawsuit against the lienholder to reduce their claim to the appropriate amount.
If the insurance company attempts to downgrade your injury, medical costs, or losses during mediation, your attorney may decide to move forward with filing a lawsuit. While this can add time to your case, it also may be necessary to get you the settlement you deserve. When your lawsuit is filed, a new adjuster will review the claim and may decide to settle instead of go to trial. Trial is costly and unpredictable for both sides, so if they can settle, most often the defense will move to do so.
Litigation Process and Outcomes
Even when your lawyer does everything right, sometimes reaching a fair settlement is not possible if the insurance company is unwilling to budge. Though jury trial is not a common step in a car accident personal injury claim process, because there is little oversight or accountability for insurance companies under Texas law, it may be necessary to go to trial to get you a settlement that covers the full extent of your losses.
Communicating your needs and concerns to your personal injury attorney will help them advise you on the best course of action for your claim. Though the process can have ups and downs, a trusted lawyer will make a huge difference in helping you recover the financial support that you need to move forward.
Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Who Fight for You
At Lopez Law Group, we are a legal team with over 45 years of collected experience helping those injured in accidents. We proudly serve the Weslaco, Tyler, Spring, Mission, McAllen, Laredo, Houston, Edinburg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Harlingen areas. We are invested in our clients and fight for fair compensation of their losses. Contact us online or call (956) 968-7800 to schedule your free case consultation.