You have been hurt because of the action or negligence of someone else. You are suffering physically and financially. You expect you will have to go to court, but you want to know how long all this will take.
All accidents (and injuries) are different. Some are handled quickly, while others go on for months. It depends on several factors. The easiest way to show you what to expect is to provide the timeline your personal injury attorney will follow.
The first order of business is to seek medical attention. This should be done immediately at the time of the accident. You may feel like you can wait it out, but that is unwise from a health perspective and a legal perspective.
If you delay getting treatment, the insurance company may challenge you and imply that you only went to the doctor to prepare your case. Seek medical attention and go to all follow-up visits during the duration of the injury.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible. They will begin to prepare your case and will explain what you need to do. This includes documentation of the accident and injury and the progression of the healing. Pictures and videos will help you secure your case. Visual records count a lot in court.
Talking with insurance company adjusters often happens within a few days. They will ask for a statement and may want to record it. Your attorney will tell you not to allow that. Do not make any statements that can hurt you in court. Admission of anything you perceive as something you did wrong will be blown up in court. Even if the adjuster is very nice, understand that they are not on your side. Their job is to save their client money.
In most cases the settlement offer will not be made until the medical treatment is finished. This is because your medical bills, suffering, and loss of wages may be on-going. When you reach a point where the doctor is releasing you or the point where the doctor says your medical issues will continue throughout your life, your attorney will begin the process. This includes settlement offers. If the offer is not sufficient, your attorney will then file the suit and take the matter to the courts.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, it may take up to 3 months to have the papers served. After that, the defendant has a certain number of days to respond. If the matter is going to court, then your attorney will prepare. The amount of time it takes to go to court depends on the court calendar. In some Texas counties, the wait can be months. In others, it can be weeks. The size of the county and the number of cases being heard will determine when your court date will be.
This is a general breakdown of what you can expect. There are many factors that can change the order of events. If you have been injured, don’t wait. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.