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Understanding the Auto Accident Case Settlement Process and Timeline

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, your priority must be obtaining medical assistance and attending to your recovery. Next, your focus should turn to protecting your rights in the legal system. While every personal injury case is unique, most follow a basic timeline.

Texas has a statute of limitations for auto accidents. The very last day that an injured party can file suit in an auto accident case is two years after the date of the accident. The basic steps of this process are:

Step 1: Choosing representation

  • Identify a few law firms with the experience and resources to handle your case. Personal recommendations are best, but these days you can learn a lot about a law firm from their website.
  • Schedule consultations with attorneys. Our firm provides free initial consultations to people injured in car accidents.
  • Choose a representative and sign an engagement letter with them.

Step 2: Fact finding, evidence gathering and strategy

  • Cooperate with your legal team to get them all the information and evidence they need. The team will need the contact information for your insurance company, a copy of the police report and access to your medical records. You will be asked to sign several releases and/or authorizations that will allow the team to obtain these records.
  • Your personal injury attorney will analyze the evidence and determine the best way to approach the other parties — including your own insurance company and the defendants’ insurance company.
  • Depending upon the facts of your case, your attorney may choose to enter into settlement negations with the other parties either before or after filing a complaint with the court.

Step 3: The lawsuit

  • Your attorney may prepare and file a Complaint at any time (but no later than two years after the accident). The other parties must respond by filing their own papers with the court.
  • Next, the parties will participate in a process called discovery. Each party will make requests from the others with the goal of everyone having access to all evidence.
  • At any point, the parties may agree to settle the case. Most cases end in settlement before they go to a jury trial.
  • If the case does go to trial, all parties will present their case to the jury and abide by the jury’s verdict.

Step 4 (if chosen): Settlement negotiations

  • Your attorney will initiate contact with the other parties to present your side of the case and make a demand for compensation on your behalf. There are many approaches to settlement negotiations and your counsel will decide whether to take a more formal or informal approach.
  • If settlement negotiations are successful, the parties will all sign a settlement agreement. Payments will be made, and after your attorney collects their fee, you will receive compensation.

Some cases are resolved very quickly, and some take years to conclude. It is important to get started as soon as possible.

At the Leland Reinhard Law Firm, I represent people who have been injured in car accidents throughout Texas, advocating for a fair amount of compensation through either an award or settlement. Contact the firm online or call me at 817-645-5400 for a free consultation.