Personal Injury Lawyer Arlington, TX
When a person suffers harm from an accident or injury, the offender may be held responsible with a lawsuit for the harm inflicted. This is known as a personal injury case, which is a legal dispute through civil court proceedings which seeks to hold people, businesses, and corporations legally at fault through a court judgment or an informal settlement. An individual has a limited time to file a lawsuit, which is known as statute of limitations, and it begins when the accident or injury occurs, or when the individual discovers the injury. Each state varies the time limit on the statute of limitations based on the type of injury. Unlike criminal law where the rules can be found in the states penal code, personal injury law is governed mainly by court decision precedent. Bringing a lawsuit to court can be a long process over many years and many court appearance, factoring in a potential appeal if there is an error in the litigation process.
One of the first steps when seeking counsel is scheduling a consultation with a personal injury lawyer Arlington, TX trusts, preferably one who is experienced in civil litigation. Relaying the specifics of the accident or injury is important to help the attorney fully grasp the full potential of the case and so there are no surprises that could harm the case later down the road. When divulging all of the information pertaining to the case, information that would be of importance would be the negligent party and the expenses that could be compensated, the full extent of the injuries and the medical prognosis, the expenses incurred that relate to the injury, the loss of work caused by the accident, and any emotional distress or trauma inflicted by the injury. If the individual and the attorney decide to pursue the case, the attorney and the individual will enter into a fee agreement, and the attorney will begin working on the case.
When he or she retains counsel with an attorney, the next step for the attorney is to investigate their claim with the details of the accident scene including photographs, the police reports, any witness testimony, employment history, bills and relevant medical records, as well as any other relevant areas that could strengthen the case. The attorney may also reach out to experienced experts in the medical field, accident reconstructionist, and other experts in relevant fields related to the case. Having all of the information about the case helps the attorney form a successful case, while also considering areas of the case that the opposing counsel could bring to light and use to achieve a judgment that benefits their client.
Many cases end in alternative dispute resolution, where the case is negotiated outside of a trial where a jury would decide the outcome. Often times lawyers will bring in a mediator, who is someone that is a go-between on both sides of lawsuit, to help in trying to find a common ground in a civil manner. If the attorney feels like case can and should be settled, then the attorney will make a demand to the opposing counsel. If it is not successful and both sides cannot come to an agreement, then the attorney will file a lawsuit. Every state has different pre-trial procedures which determines how quickly the case will go to trial.
The discovery process is important in a case since it allows attorneys to see documents they otherwise would have not been able to see, and it gives the attorney an insight into the opposing counsel’s legal claims and defenses. Each side will send interrogatories and document requests to each other, and the swap of information can last up to year, depending on the case, the court’s deadlines and participation of each attorney.
Once it is time for trial, it can last anywhere from a day to several weeks, due to the complexity of the case and how the court schedules personal injury trials. As exciting as it is to have a trial date for a case, it is not set in stone. It could be delayed or rescheduled due to a conflict that arises in the court’s docket or a scheduling conflict pertaining to the judge. However, if the trial does get cancelled, it can be rescheduled. Even if a trial is scheduled for court, the case could still be settled out of court with negotiations. A case can be negotiated and settled up until the jury’s judgment is delivered to the court and ending the case.
When the case concludes in court the losing party may want to file an appeal, which asks the appeals court to review the case and determine whether there was an error of law in litigation that affected the decision of the case. The appellate courts is different than the trial court in that they look for the error of law and determine if there was an error that contributed to the court’s decision, then the appeals court will either overturn (reverse) the decision of the trial court, or will be remanded which means it will be sent back to the trial court with the request to look at the case again. Although the trial process is long and can have the possibility of bringing an unfavorable outcome, personal injury litigation establishes the negligent party.
Thank you to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury cases and litigation.