Name:  Details:
Phone: 
Email: 
Subject: 

Texas Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

For most people, a personal injury lawsuit is their first interaction with attorneys and the court system. This can be a confusing and overwhelming process. While each case is different, following is a basic outline of the major aspects of resolving a personal injury claim:

Consultation with an Attorney

The first step in a personal injury case is consulting with a competent personal injury trial lawyer with the knowledge and experience to help you through the process and help you to receive the recovery you deserve. A good attorney will provide a thorough explanation of your legal rights, help you sort through the information that will be important to your case, give you guidance as to what to expect from the process, and advise you what steps you should take to obtain the best possible outcome. In the initial consultation, the lawyer will also establish the terms of representation, including how a contingency fee agreement works.

Negotiation with the Defendant and Their Insurance Company

After obtaining some basic facts about your case and establishing the terms of attorney representation, the lawyer will contact the defendant and their insurance company to put them on notice that you have retained counsel. In most cases, the personal injury attorney will also attempt to settle your case without the having to file a lawsuit in court. The decision whether to settle always belongs to the client. If a reasonable settlement can be obtained, the defendant or their insurance company will pay the agreed upon amount of money. The defendant will usually require that the injured party sign a release of all of their claims in exchange for payment of the settlement amount.

Filing the Lawsuit

If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, the attorney will file a lawsuit with the appropriate court. The initial paperwork filed with the court, called the original petition, will contain the specific claims being made by the injured party. The original petition must be then served on the defendant or their attorney.

Written Discovery

To ascertain evidence of the defenses being made by the defendant, your attorney will send formal written discovery questions to the other party. These questions generally include requests for the defendant to produce documents they intend to use to support their defenses, and questions that require sworn narrative responses from the defendant about the case. The defendant will almost always send written discovery to the plaintiff as well. Both sides will also most likely order copies of the relevant medical records, medical billing records, as well as employment records and tax returns (if the plaintiff is making a claim for lost wages).

Depositions

Usually after the written discovery process is complete, the defendant will subpoena the plaintiff for an oral deposition. In a deposition, the attorney for the defendant will ask the plaintiff questions relevant to the case. The plaintiff’s attorney will also be present for the deposition, and a court reporter will record the attorneys’ questions and the plaintiff’s answers and prepare the record in written form for use in court. Typically after the plaintiff’s deposition is taken, the attorneys on both sides will take additional depositions of important witnesses who may testify at the jury trial.

Mediation

Many courts in Harris County and Montgomery County require parties to attend mediation to attempt to resolve the case before trial. A qualified and skilled mediator can facilitate an agreement between the parties. At mediation the parties and their attorneys negotiate with one another through a neutral third party (the mediator) to find a solution to the case. The mediation process is confidential, and the mediator may only report to the court whether the parties reached or did not reach a settlement. If an agreement cannot be made, the outstanding issues must be presented to the judge and jury at trial.

Jury Trial

When the parties are unable to reach an agreement at mediation, they must present their cases to the judge and jury. Trial is a formal proceeding where the parties present evidence, question witnesses, and ask the jury to make a ruling. The first part of the jury trial is picking a jury, also called “voir dire.” After a jury is selected, the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant will each make an opening statement, the plaintiff will present his or her case, and the defendant will present their case when the plaintiff has concluded. Once both sides have presented all of their evidence, the attorneys for each party will have an opportunity to make a closing argument. After all evidence is presented, the judge will present the jury with questions to answer that will decide the case. The jury’s answers to the questions presented to them are called the jury’s verdict. The jury’s verdict will determine whether the defendant is to be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and if so, the amount of money the defendant is to pay.

Wilhite & Associates, P.C. | Houston Personal Injury Lawyers

Contact us to start your personal injury claims process if you are located in Houston or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Washington County, Grimes County, Fort Bend County or Waller County. Call (281) 537-2171 or submit your brief situation details in our online form.

Wilhite & Associates, P.C. represents clients from all over Southeast Texas, including:

Harris County - Aldine, Atascocita, Barrett, Barker, Baytown, Bellaire, Brownwood, Bunker Hill Village, Channelview, Clear Lake, Cloverleaf, Crosby, Cypress, Deer Park, East Houston, El Lago, Galena Park, Hedwig Village, Highlands, Hilshire Village, Houston, Hudson, Humble, Hunters Creek Village, Jacinto City, Jersey Village, Katy, Kingwood, Klein, La Porte, Louetta, Lynchburg, Nassau Bay, North Houston, Pasadena, Piney Point Village, Seabrook, Sheldon, Shoreacres, South Houston, Southside Place, Spring, Spring Valley, Taylor Lake Village, Tomball, Webster, West University Place

Montgomery County - Conroe, Cut and Shoot, Magnolia, Montgomery, Oak Ridge North, Panorama Village, Patton Village, Roman Forest, Shenandoah, Splendora, Stagecoach, Willis, Woodbranch, Woodloch, The Woodlands

Fort Bend County - Arcola, Beasley, Fairchilds, Fulshear, Kendleton, Meadows Place, Missouri City, Needville, Orchard, Pleak, Richmond, Rosenberg, Simonton, Stafford, Sugar Land, Thompsons

Waller County - Brookshire, Hempstead, Pattison, Pine Island, Prairie View, Waller

Grimes County - Anderson, Bedias, Iola, Navasota, Todd Mission

Washington County - Brenham, Burton, Chappell Hill

The hiring of a personal injury attorney or other civil law attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide which Houston attorney to hire for your case, ask us to send you free written information about our legal experience and qualifications.

This site is sponsored by George W. Wilhite, P.C. Our principal office is located in Harris County, Texas at 17101 Kuykendahl Rd., Houston, TX 77068.

The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your own particular situation. The content of this site, including but not limited to written text, images, videos, and informational articles, has not been prepared, endorsed, or reviewed by any form of licensed medical professional, doctor, or physician. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, medical advice. All visitors are encouraged to consult with a physician or other licensed medical professional for any form of medical advice.

Use of this website or submission of an online form does not create an attorney-client relationship. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship is formed until after you consulted with an attorney at Wilhite & Associates, P.C. and have signed a client agreement. Please do not send any confidential information to us until after an attorney-client relationship has been established. Contact us today for more information.

Copyright 2016 MaxeyMedia