Accident Injury Attorneys – Finding The Right Representation
Before we get to the claim itself, the first step in a personal injury legal matter is choosing a lawyer. Hiring the right personal injury lawyer for your case is an important component of the likelihood of obtaining a positive outcome for your situation.
During your initial consultation with your prospective injury attorney, you will be interviewed about the specific circumstances that led to your injury matter. For example, they may request access to medical records which will require you to sign a formal authorization, sometimes referred to as “HIPAA releases”. Your attorney will “work your case” in anticipation of trial. While many cases reach a settlement well before they reach the trial stage, is important that the case is properly prepared for trial in the event that a settlement cannot be reached.
Another important consideration for personal injury cases is called “the statute of limitations”. This is the time that a person has to claim their personal injury. This time period is usually set by the laws of your state and may be as short as one to two years. This time period varies from state to state and it’s important that you discuss this issue with your lawyer early on. In Texas, the statute of limitations is two years. If you don’t meet the statutory timing requirements, you may lose your ability to recover for your injuries forever.
Once your case is underway, your lawyer will probably file the required paperwork. This will include a document known as the complaint. The complaint outlines your case. There will also be a court filing fee that must be paid at the time of filing. This paperwork must also be properly served on the other parties to the case. Failing to effectuate proper service, may be cause for dismissal of your case.
After service has been properly effectuated, the defendants will probably provide some kind of answer. In some jurisdictions, this may either include a formal answer or a motion to dismiss your case. The next step is for the parties to begin the discovery phase. During discovery, requests are made by the parties for documents and information relevant to the issues giving rise to the case. Typically, these requests include a series of questions, requests for documents, and depositions of witnesses. It is not unlikely for this process to take a long time, even months or even years.
Next, the parties will probably begin discussing the possibility of negotiating a settlement. During this phase, there will be meetings, phone calls, and conferences between the parties’ lawyers about how much compensation, if any, the plaintiff is entitled. If these negotiations do not lead to a settlement, the case will proceed to trial. At that point, the case will be presented to either a judge or jury to determine if, and how much, compensation the injured party deserves.