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First Time Hiring an Injury Attorney? Here’s What to Expect.
Whether you are seeking representation for your own serious injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one, Crosley Law Firm has experienced attorneys and staff who will walk you through every step of the litigation process. While each case we handle is unique, you can expect that once you retain the services of Crosley Law Firm, your personal injury case will advance through the following stages:
During this stage, getting medical treatment for your injuries is vital. Regardless of whether or not they have health insurance, some people have difficulty finding a doctor willing to treat them for injuries caused by a car wreck. When this happens, clients can become frustrated with the healthcare system. We will help you navigate the healthcare maze by providing you with an analysis of any insurance benefits to which you may be entitled.
During pre-litigation, we also investigate the parties involved, their potential liability, and their assets. We locate all sources of insurance coverage. Depending on the case, we will often inspect the vehicles involved in the crash and interview witnesses. In every case, we try to obtain all medical records, billing statements, and doctor reports relating to your injuries. Finally, we negotiate with insurance adjusters to determine whether your case can be resolved fairly without incurring the costs of a lawsuit.
Litigation begins when a lawsuit is filed on your behalf. Usually, the judge will issue a scheduling order that creates a series of deadlines that all parties must meet to keep the case moving toward a trial date. A large part of litigation is the process of “discovery”; this involves the lawyers for both sides learning more about the evidence, claims, and defenses by asking questions or requesting documents from other parties.
Usually, this process includes taking depositions, which are formal sworn witness statements given under oath, of any important witnesses in the case.
Your medical treatment continues during the litigation stage as well. The goal is to determine whether your injuries are healing well or if you will need additional long-term medical treatment. Also, we consult with experts during this stage who will help the jury understand any complex medical, scientific or technical issues in your case.
The litigation stage often includes mediation, which is a settlement discussion ordered by the court to be facilitated by a neutral third party. This process allows the parties to candidly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions and make a good-faith effort to reach a reasonable settlement.
3. Trial and Appeal
If we are unable to resolve your case fairly during mediation and other settlement negotiations, then we will proceed to trial. Usually this trial is held before a jury selected by the legal parties. A personal injury trial can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The injured party carries the burden of proving their case based on a preponderance of the evidence and gets to present its side first.
After each side has presented their witnesses and evidence to the jury, the judge will instruct the jury on the relevant law so they can begin deciding the case. Once a jury returns a verdict, the losing side often challenges the verdict by asking for a new trial.
If a new trial is denied, then the losing side has the option of filing an appeal with an intermediate appellate court. An appeal is a legal filing that asks a higher court to correct errors made by the trial court. An appeal can take a year or more to be decided. The side that loses the appeal can ask the Texas Supreme Court to overrule the appellate court, but it is ultimately up the Supreme Court whether or not to take the case.
In terms of overall timing, the average personal injury case takes 1-2 years to resolve in its entirety. However, Crosley Law Firm has settled cases in as little as 3 months. Every case is unique.