A common question car accident victims ask is how long a lawsuit will take from start to finish. It is normal to want to expedite the claims process and receive a financial award as soon as possible after a harmful auto accident in Texas. Taking your time with the legal system, however, could benefit you and lead to greater compensation for your losses.
Trust an attorney if he or she says going to trial is in your best interest rather than accepting a fast insurance settlement, even if that means a longer claims process. Although no standard time frame for a claim exists (each case is unique), a breakdown of a potential car accident lawsuit timeline could help you prepare for what lies ahead.
Immediately After Your Car Accident
You can take steps that may help your personal injury case immediately following a car accident in Texas. Prompt action while still at the scene could help you build a case. In the minutes after your collision, try to remain calm enough to assess yourself for injuries. Then, start to collect evidence, if you can. This includes the other driver’s name and contact information, a description of all vehicles involved, the date and location of the accident, and photographs of damages. Call the police and report your crash if it is serious.
24-72 Hours After the Wreck
Report your car accident to the at-fault party’s insurance company as soon as possible – typically within 24 to 72 hours of the collision. Most insurance companies have policies requiring claimants to notify them of car accidents right away to be eligible for coverage. In this time, you may also receive phone calls from insurance companies asking you to give statements about the wreck. Refrain from doing so until you have spoken to an attorney.
Choose a car accident lawyer to help you through the claims process as soon as you can. Contacting a lawyer right away can have many benefits, such as someone assisting you in preserving and collecting evidence. A lawyer may take a few days to review all the facts and details of your car accident case before deciding whether or not to take you on as a client. Follow your lawyer’s advice during this time. Keep up with medical treatments, do not admit fault to anyone and be careful what you say to insurance adjusters.
30 Days After Filing an Insurance Claim
If you or your lawyer file an insurance claim in pursuit of compensation for your car accident, the insurance company will most likely get back to you with an answer within 30 days. Most insurance companies aim for a 30-day maximum on claims responses. If the company needs more time to investigate or review your case, it should send you a letter requesting more time and giving an explanation.
Your lawyer may be able to reach a suitable settlement with an insurance company and resolve your case within 30 days after your car accident. You could receive a check in the mail and complete your case in just a few weeks after your crash. If you have serious injuries or the insurance company is giving you a hard time, however, your case could take longer. Your lawyer may need to proceed to court to obtain fair compensation on your behalf.
One Year or Longer After Your Accident
A car accident lawsuit involves many steps and official legal processes. Most lawsuits take 12 months or longer to resolve in Texas. During this time, you and your lawyer may go through pre-trial negotiations, mediation, arbitration, the discovery phase, depositions, and an injury trial. Most car accident cases resolve during pre-trial negotiations and do not make it to courtrooms. Each claim is unique, however. Some may require trials before judges and juries to achieve fair results. Work with an experienced car accident attorney in San Antonio to help you expedite the legal process as much as possible.