The Advantages Of Settling A Personal Injury Claim Out Of Court
If you are injured in a traffic accident – or in any other kind of accident – by another person’s negligence in the state of Texas, here is what you are entitled to under state law:
1. full reimbursement for all of your medical costs
2. full reimbursement for all of your lost wages
3. full reimbursement for all of your other accident-and-injury related losses and damages
If you have been injured by negligence, will you be required to go to court to receive that compensation? Not in most cases. Most auto accident attorneys in Texas work towards having personal injury claims settled in private negotiations, outside of the courtroom.
WHAT SHOULD EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT PERSONAL INJURY CASES?
Because anyone can be a victim of negligence, you should keep reading to learn how personal injury claims are settled out-of-court.
You’ll also learn why, if you have been injured in an accident by someone else’s negligence in south Texas, you must have the legal advice and representation that an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney can offer you.
Settling a personal injury lawsuit privately and outside of the court system is much faster, much less expensive, and far less risky than taking your personal injury case to a trial jury. You are about to learn why.
HOW DOES THE PERSONAL INJURY PROCESS WORK?
If you have been injured in a traffic crash or in any other type of accident because another party was negligent, as soon as you have been examined by a healthcare provider, you will need to discuss your rights and options with a Texas personal injury lawyer.
Your first consultation with an injury attorney will not cost you anything. Injury lawyers in our state offer the injured victims of negligence a free, no-obligation first legal consultation and case review.
If you qualify to bring a legal action, and if that’s what you choose to do, you will not pay your attorney anything “up front.” Most accident attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, so they do not collect from you until – and unless – they obtain a settlement or a verdict on your behalf.
A personal injury trial means a great deal more work for your attorney than a settlement negotiation, so if your case goes to trial, you will pay your accident attorney more. Expert witnesses, court costs, travel, and lost time from work during a trial also must be considered.
WHAT IS THE “DISCOVERY” PROCESS IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
Of course, the sooner a case can be settled, the less it will cost. If there’s no quick settlement, a lawsuit may be filed, and the “discovery” process begins. Discovery is the pre-trial process of gathering and reviewing evidence and testimony. It is sometimes an expensive process.
“Interrogatories” are key to the discovery phase; an interrogatory is a set of questions from the other side about your personal injury, the incident that caused it, your expenses arising from the injury, and your ability to work while you are recuperating.
Answering interrogatory questions truthfully and comprehensively is imperative and is one of the keys to prevailing with your personal injury lawsuit.
“Depositions” are also a part of discovery. Depositions are face-to-face interrogations conducted under oath by each side’s attorneys. These questions must also be answered truthfully and comprehensively. Depositions usually take place in the conference room at an attorney’s offices.
Subpoenas may also be used during discovery; a subpoena is a court order that requires a person to appear for a hearing or a deposition or requires a document or other evidence to be produced. Every step in the discovery process adds another expense to a defendant’s final costs.
WHAT ELSE MAKES SETTLEMENTS PREFERABLE TO TRIALS?
Trials cost more than settlements, but the cost is not the only reason to seek a settlement and avoid a trial. Although personal injury trials rarely last more than a few days, when you file a personal injury lawsuit, it may be more than a year before a trial actually commences.
The most complicated cases can last for months – and for years if there are appeals. The entire process – from filing the claim to obtaining your damages – can take three or four years or even longer.
WHY SHOULD YOU TRY TO AVOID A PERSONAL INJURY TRIAL?
If you pursue a personal injury claim, here are four good reasons why you should try to avoid a jury trial:
1. the amount of time that a trial involves
2. the personal stress that a trial involves
3. the financial risk that a trial involves
4. the unpredictability of jurors
A personal injury trial can mean high stress for anyone who’s involved. Both parties may be examined and cross-examined. The honesty and character of both parties will be questioned and scrutinized. An out-of-court settlement lets both sides avoid these uncomfortable situations.
DOES A PERSONAL INJURY TRIAL ENTAIL A FINANCIAL RISK?
What about the financial risk of taking a personal injury case to trial? Of course, while a jury may award a defendant more than that defendant would have received in a settlement, there’s no guarantee in a trial that the defendant will prevail or be awarded even one cent.
Trials and juries are unpredictable. A judge might exclude what you consider to be key evidence. Eyewitnesses may appear unreliable. Some jurors may not be able to grasp the more complicated legal or technical aspects of the case.
HOW CAN YOU KEEP SOME CONTROL OVER YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
Unlike a settlement, where both sides typically give up something to get something – but remain in control of the process – in a trial, the amount a plaintiff is awarded will be decided exclusively by the jury.
A defendant could be awarded full compensation and even more, but a defendant might also be awarded nothing.
However, if you are able to settle out-of-court, both parties will know and control exactly when and how the case will be resolved and for how much.
WHY IS A LAWYER’S HELP WITH A PERSONAL INJURY CASE SO IMPERATIVE?
The final advantage of an out-of-court settlement over a trial is that if you settle out-of-court, the matter can remain entirely private, but if the case goes to trial, everything in the trial will be part of the public record.
This has been a general explanation of the personal injury settlement process, but every case is unique, and the details of every case are different.
That is why, if you are injured by another person’s negligence in south Texas, you must have the personalized legal advice and insights of an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney. Remember, a first consultation is free, so it costs nothing to learn more about your rights.
Get the legal help that you need – immediately – if you’ve been injured by negligence. Your future may depend on it.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.