Timing Of A Car Accident Injury CaseClick for a Free Consultation
Timing of A Houston Car Accident Injury Claim
It takes much longer than many people expect to settle a personal injury claim in the state of Texas. The adjuster handling your claim will need specific information to document in their file and evaluate your injuries and their liability exposure in order to move forward with the settlement. See what to provide the adjuster.
Only after the adjuster has all the relevant information, can reasonable settlement discussions take place. If you want to know if the settlement offer is fair- read this!
Texas Injury Evaluation Process
The injury evaluation process begins with the receipt of the medical records that relate to the injuries you sustained in the accident. Obtaining medical records from your doctors and medical providers can take much longer than many people anticipate. The state of Texas sets the maximum fees that can be charged to you for obtaining your medical records from the providers. Because the medical people don’t make any money in dealing with your records, it is often hard to get them to act quickly. It can take up to 6 months to get records after your treatment is complete, if you have numerous different providers.
Once the adjuster has received all the information needed including your medical records, the records are reviewed to see what injuries have been outlined, as well as your diagnosis and prognosis. What your doctors have to say about your injuries is very important evidence in a personal injury case.
Note that not all doctor testimony will be treated the same. Many insurance companies take these reports and the testimony of some doctors and chiropractors with a grain of salt. In short, if your chiropractor says you will need lifetime adjustments, do not plan on the adjuster buying that.
Additionally, the insurance adjuster should be in receipt of information proving your lost wages during the time you were recovering from your injuries. This can be in the form of statements from your employer or potentially your W-2s for the period and any relevant prior periods.
After the adjuster has obtained all the necessary information, the settlement negotiations can proceed fairly quickly.
Do Not Wait to Long
However, in Texas, the general statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident and a victim must have filed suit within such time or they will have forever waived the claim. There are certain exceptions regarding minors and others. If you have questions, you should contact your attorney to discuss them immediately.
If A Lawsuit is Filed
If a Houston car accident lawyer takes your case and files a lawsuit. The case could take up to two years to get to court or be settled after discovery has been accomplished.
Jury Trials Take Time
If the case ends up in litigation, the process can take up to two years to obtain a jury trial in Harris County, Texas. There are certain fast-track procedures that can be utilized to obtain an earlier trial date. But with covid, the backlog is significant and getting a trial settling is not easy.
If You Need a Lawyer Get One Early
If you believe you may need a lawyer to assist you in a personal injury claim stemming from a car accident, contact the lawyer of your choosing immediately and do not wait until the last minute. Many reputable personal injury attorneys have policies that prevent them from accepting cases that are very close to the statute of limitations.
By waiting until the last minute, you may not only hurt your case but also limit the attorneys who may be interested in helping you.