An injury case or accident lawsuit presents in many different forms; however, the steps involved in a personal injury case typically remain the same, with minor variations. The basic stages detailed below can be used as a guideline for considering your options regarding a personal injury lawyer in Houston.
Have you been hurt in an accident in the greater Houston metropolitan area and wish to file a personal injury lawsuit? If so, you must first meet with a personal injury attorney for an initial consultation.
The Attorney Consultation
After an accident, it is vital to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston regarding the accident or event circumstances. During this consultation, a personal injury attorney will also discuss the specifics of your injuries, medicals expenses, and legal options, among other important issues. Most attorneys offer no-cost case evaluations, so it costs nothing to determine the viability of legal actions against the defendant(s).
Based on the lawsuit’s facts, it is likely that an attorney will discuss the opposing party’s potential defenses while determining the likelihood of liability.
The Case Investigation
Once a personal injury attorney in Houston has been chosen, the lawyer will make an independent investigation to collect data and information regarding –
- Police reports
- Medical Records
- Testimony from Witnesses
In addition, the case may require collaboration with accident reconstruction or medical professionals.
The Demand for Settlement
When the investigation is complete, if the situation warrants, your attorney will forward a demand letter accompanied by supporting documentation to the opposing party’s counsel for review. Depending on the personal injury lawsuit, this documentation may include, but not limited to –
- Documented Injuries
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Care, if applicable
- Loss of Wages and Life Enjoyment, among many other compensation issues
The demand letter is typically the first and most crucial impression the opposing party receives. If a settlement cannot be reached regarding the facts outlined in the demand letter, the next step is to file a lawsuit to seek compensation to be made whole with regard to the accident in a court of law.
Before trial, each party exchanges evidence that allows each side to take a comprehensive look at the entire situation based on all facts and supporting documentation.
Many lawsuits require the parties to meet with a mediator – often a former judge – to see if a settlement can be reached before a trial begins.
If a settlement is not reached, and a mediator cannot bring the parties to a resolution, the next phase would be the trial phase. The decision-maker in the trial – which is often a jury – will listen to facts and determine the outcome.
Depending on the particular case, the losing party may choose to file an appeal. The appellate process differs from the trial phases, so it is essential to choose an attorney experienced in appellate cases as well.