This is the first post in a series of articles discussing the litigation process following a car accident in Fort Worth, Texas. Most Fort Worth residents will never have a reason to engage in complex litigation. Unfortunately, when a serious car accident occurs and a victim is injured or killed, the injured party or their family may find themselves immersed in a legal battle for years to come. Litigation can seem intimidating to many clients whose experience with the legal process is limited to television or movies. It is important, therefore, to understand what to expect after a lawsuit is filed. The purpose of this series is to provide information about how the litigation process may unfold following a serious car accident. If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile crash, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
This series will review the following key topics:
- When litigation becomes necessary following a car accident
- Dealing with preliminary motions filed by the defense
- Conducting discovery in car accident litigation
- Filing pretrial motions
- Attending a car accident trial
Car accident litigation, especially when serious injuries are involved, can be especially complicated. There is much more to a lawsuit than the trial itself. It is important to have a basic understanding of the various stages of litigation and how they may impact one’s case. First, many car accident cases are resolved long before litigation becomes necessary. Cases are very often settled with the defendant’s insurance company and no lawsuit is ever filed. However, settlement negotiations are not always successful and the parties may not be able to formalize an agreement before the statute of limitations is set to expire. In such cases, litigation must be initiated to preserve the victim’s rights. Second, in catastrophic injury incidents, it is not uncommon for the lawyers representing the defendant and their insurance company to attempt to have all or some of the lawsuit dismissed. In many cases, the motions are a delay tactic or a way for the defense to present information to the judge about their theory of the case. Your attorney should expect and be prepared to respond to any such motions. Third, discovery, or the legal process of gathering evidence from the defendants and other third parties, will begin after the lawsuit is filed. This is a valuable tool for attorneys and is essential for building one’s case. Fourth, lawyers for both sides often file a series of pretrial motions with the court. These may be used to narrow down issues to be heard at trial, limit the admission of certain evidence, and more. Last, once the trial begins, one should understand what to expect during that process. A law firm with extensive personal injury experience can help explain each phase of the litigation.
When selecting a personal injury attorney to represent you after a car accident, we recommend inquiring about a law firm’s financial resources and willingness to litigate the case if necessary. We also suggest that you retain a firm in which the attorneys are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law and which employs its own investigator. These recommendations are important whether you are injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.