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How long does a car accident lawsuit take in Houston?
Not every case requires a lawsuit. 15 or 20 years ago, about 80% of all automobile accident claims were settled before filing a lawsuit. In the meantime, Texas has enacted “tort reform,” which has encouraged automobile insurance companies and adjusters to take a more hardline approach with injury victims. The net result of this law change is that more often than not, a lawsuit is required to get the insurance company’s attention focused rightly on your claim. That is not to say that the case will end up going to a trial, as most cases settle before the trial starts. But, the odds of a car accident lawsuit being filed are much higher today than they were before “tort reform.”
The process from the attorney’s perspective begins with the signing up of the case. After the lawyer is hired for the injury claim, the initial investigation process begins. However, the negotiation process does not usually start until the car accident victims have been released from treatment or reached maximum medical improvement and the medical records are obtained.
It is only then that the attorney can present the claim to the insurance company for negotiation about a settlement. This process can take from 3 to 6 months after doctors have discharged the injury victim. The main reason for the delay is the length of time it takes doctors and hospitals to respond with medical records and bills. That can take much longer than you would expect.
If a lawsuit is filed, your “day in court” can be as early as a year from the date of filing in Harris County, Texas, but most often it is closer to two years. The exact day is up to the court, and it is not unusual to have multiple settings before a trial is conducted on a case.
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