What to Expect (as a Plaintiff) During an Injury Lawsuit
As an accident and injury lawyer in Texas, I am intimately involved in the process of filing a lawsuit and guiding my clients through the legal process once the lawsuit has been filed. That's because I deal with dozens of injury claims at a time. But I am very aware that each one of the lawsuits I am working on represents a traumatic moment and ongoing pain for my clients. In most cases this lawsuit is the only time my client will have to deal with the court system in their lifetime. As a personal injury victim, it is important that you understand what you can expect when you decide to file a lawsuit. I have no interest in sugar coating anything I am about to tell you. The fact of the matter is that dealing with a lawsuit can be stressful and unpleasant. But it is worth it in the end. If you follow my advice, we can get through it together with great success and hopefully with as little disruption to your life as possible.
Here's what to expect:
1. Lawsuit resolution will take between 9 and 18 months
Yes, that is a long time. If you do not have the right aggressive accident attorney, an injury lawsuit will take longer than 18 months to resolve. There are many factors at play. First and foremost, you must find the best injury lawyer you can find. That lawyer will push your case forward quickly even though the defense lawyers will try everything to delay your case. The second most important factor for getting your case resolved quickly is your timing, you should speak to an accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The lawyer can begin the process of preserving evidence and filing your lawsuit. As soon as your case is filed, your lawyer will need to work to get the defendant served with the lawsuit and seek a trial date. The sooner the trial date is set, the quicker your case will be resolved.
2. You will need to testify
You may not need to testify in open court if your case settles before trial, but you will most likely need to take part in what is known as a deposition. A deposition is the defendant's opportunity to get your testimony before a trial. This will usually take place in a casual setting but you will be placed under oath and you will be questioned by the defendant's attorney. Your injury lawyer will be by your side the entire time and will object to inappropriate questions and instruct you not to answer certain questions that may seek confidential information. A court reporter will write down everything that is said during the deposition. This is your opportunity to tell your story to the insurance company. You and your injury lawyer will prepare for the deposition so you are ready to tell your story in the best possible way.
3. Your medical and personal history will be questioned
Part of the lawsuit process is known as discovery. During this phase of litigation, both sides send written questions and requests for documents to the other side. Your injury lawyer will send questions to the defendant mostly about liability facts to find out how best to present the story to the jury at the time of trial. The defense lawyers will send you questions about your medical history to determine if you were injured before the lawsuit. They will send you questions about your hobbies to find out if the accident affected your life in any major ways. They will ask you about your marriage and many other personal aspects of your life. Many of my clients find these questions invasive and abusive and some of them are. As your injury litigation attorney, I will walk your through these questions and we may decide not to answer some of them because they are abusive. Be prepared for these questions, but do not worry. I will take the stress out of answering them.
4. You can do it!
A lawsuit and the court system can be intimidating but you have a professional accident lawyer by your side and we will win together.