TYPICAL CASE LENGTH
Every case is different, and I don’t know that there is a typical personal injury case. It depends on the triggering mechanisms that move things through the system or how long it will take you to receive your care and treatment because you don’t want to talk about settling your case until you are done treating with your doctor so you have a handle on what your future medical needs might be. The statute of limitations in Texas for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the wreck; so if your claim hasn’t been resolved within two years, then you will need to file a lawsuit in order to keep your case from being barred by the statute of limitations. Once a lawsuit is filed, different courts work at different paces and at different workloads, though it’s really hard to tell.
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The Texas Supreme Court has some rules in place where they try to force the parties to have the case ready for trial within 18 months of the date of the finding, but often backlogs can cause those trial dates to take longer than that. Keep in mind that as the claimant, you are the one that wants to keep things moving forward; so when you are considering hiring a lawyer, you need to hire one who is going to continue to push the ball forward and keep things moving. The insurance company and their lawyers are more than happy to let things sit because they have the money. It’s in their account, working for them. It’s up to us to keep stirring the soup and make sure that the case is moving forward towards a resolution.
HOW DO PEOPLE GENERALLY HURT THEIR OWN PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
Hurt people go to the doctor; and while trying to tough it out may have been admirable when you were on your high school football team, making appointments and waiting to go to care like it’s no big deal, must not be heard by the insurance adjuster. Another thing that people do that may unintentionally hurt their claim is that sometimes they will admit fault that wasn’t there.
Lots of people are very non-confrontational and don’t want any fuss when an injury occurs. I understand that, but you must be mindful of your comments that when repeated later are going to be taken as admitting responsibility that wasn’t there. For example, if you made a hard stop at a red light, it doesn’t give another car the right to slam into your vehicle. If you told the other driver or the police officer that you were cutting it close at that light, then it might get embedded into the police report for that adjuster to use against you. It’s okay to exchange information and be polite to the other parties involved in the wreck, but they may take it too far and assume you were taking responsibility for something that wasn’t your fault. That is something I see people doing all the time, unfortunately.
WHAT SETS YOU AND YOUR FIRM APART IN HANDLING PERSONAL INJURY CASES?
This is all we do. I don’t do divorces, I don’t do criminal work, and I wouldn’t know where to stand in the bankruptcy court if you called me down there. I do personal injury work for plaintiffs, for victims of negligence and only for those people. For the first seven years of my career, I worked on the other side for a law firm that did insurance defense work. After a while, I learned that if I’m going to spend my career doing this, I’d rather be doing it for the people who have been hurt and are being victimized for a second time by the conduct of the insurance company, seeing how they handle their claim. My practice is small by design; when you call here, you are going to talk to me, my assistant or my voicemail. Those are the only three options.
I encourage my clients to keep in touch and call if they have questions. The last thing I say to someone after we sign the paperwork to retain me is remember this: If you have questions, call. That’s what we are here for; you are not wasting our time. I’m board-certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and have been since 1995. What that means is my practice is primarily personal injury and I’ve taken a really nasty written exam that only a small percentage of lawyers, who’ve practiced in this area, has passed. So I think it’s important to show that I’m well qualified to do what I do, which is represent you and get you the best result in your case.
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