The Messina Law Firm
Personal Injury Lawsuits Step By Step
When you suffer a personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s possible you may be entitled to compensation. To legally get this compensation, you will likely need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Steps of a typical Personal Injury Case
Firstly, you will meet with Joey Messina a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer, who will evaluate your case and determine your odds of winning that case. This first meeting, called an initial consultation, is always free at Messina Law Firm.
You will share the details of your injury and how it happened with Joey (probably first through one of his legal assistants). Joey will then assess your case to determine whether you are legally entitled to damages (the legal word for compensation) under Texas personal injury law.
If Joey agrees to take your case, he will do so on a contingency basis. That means you pay no money up front, but Joey keeps a percentage of the compensation he gets for you from the negligent party that caused your injury.
Joey will then draft a complaint, which is the legal term for the papers that are filed with the court to begin a personal injury lawsuit.
Complaint Filed, Now Discovery.
Once the complaint is filed, Joey and the lawyer for the opposing party will begin a lengthy process known as discovery. This is where each side tries to uncover as much information as they can about the accident that prompted your lawsuit. This can include asking for your medical records, information from your employer and other relevant information about you. At the same time, Joey will ask for information about the party that caused your injury.
As part of discovery, you may be asked by the opposing lawyer to give a deposition, (sworn evidence). You will be asked a series of questions by the opposing lawyer. Some questions will be about the incident that caused your injury, and some will be about your personal history. Expect to answer questions about any previous injuries or illnesses you have had. Also as well as your work history and other issues.
After the evidence has been gathered, each side will usually file motions with the court. These can be anything from a request for the court to dismiss the case to simply asking that some evidence be excluded from the trial for various reasons.
Once the court has ruled on the motions. The parties may be required by the court to have at least one session with a court-approved mediator. This is done to try to settle the case before a trial becomes necessary. Regardless of whether you actually meet with a mediator, Joey and the defendant’s lawyer will undoubtedly be talking periodically throughout the case to see if they can come to a settlement agreement.
Going to Trial in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you and the other party fail to settle out of court, the court will schedule your case for trial. Because the courts are very busy, your trial date could be months away. Once the trial begins, it will usually be a jury that decides whether you are entitled to any compensation. Then, if so, how much.
If you win the case and are awarded compensation, you then have to collect it. Most often, an insurance company will be required to make the payment on behalf of the losing party. You may have to sign many documents before the check is cut.
Getting compensation from an individual can sometimes be a lot harder. Joey may have to pursue seizing that person’s bank accounts or garnishing their wages. Especially if they are unable or unwilling to pay the awarded damages right away.
It is often better to settle a case before trial than to go through this sort of lengthy process. However, that’s a decision you and Joey will make together if the time comes.