When you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the last thing you want to do is sit around waiting to be compensated. You may have car repair costs and/or medical bills piling up, as well as the money you’re losing if you can’t work. It can take weeks, even years to settle a claim if it ends up in court, and while you can’t always control the speed at which your claim is settled, understanding why it is taking so long may help you plan accordingly.
Settlements vs. Lawsuits
When you are injured in an accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, the law states that you are entitled to be compensated for the damages caused by the negligent party. You often have two options when it comes to obtaining reimbursement for damages, (1) settling out of court with the other party and/or their insurance company, or (2) filing a lawsuit against those responsible. An experienced personal injury attorney such as the Law Offices of Brian Brunson will guide you through the process, but the decision is ultimately yours to make. If a settlement cannot be reached amongst the parties, a lawsuit may be inevitable. If your claim goes to court, this can add a significant delays to the awarding and distribution of compensation.
Determining Whose At Fault
In most uncontested accidents, fault can usually be determined rather quickly. However, if a party denies responsibility, this can delay your claim moving forward. A claim may require investigation to determine who was actually at fault, or if any outlying factors such as vehicle defects or inclement road conditions played a role in the accident.
If poor road conditions contribute to your vehicle wreck, there may also be other parties, other than the another driver who is responsible for paying for your injuries and/or damages. In accordance with Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §107, you can file a lawsuit against the government for damages in certain situations. These situations may include when a motor vehicle wreck is caused by a government employee during the course of their work duties.
Figuring out how much you may be owed takes time. Settlements are based on the severity of the wreck and the costs stemming from the accident. These costs include:
- Property Damages – Vehicle repairs can cost thousands and you’ll likely need a rental car while yours is being repaired. But, the overall cost of an accident goes far beyond property damage.
- Medical Bills – The average cost of an emergency room visit is well over $3,000 and inpatient hospitalization following a motor vehicle crash can end up costing more than $50,000.
- Lost Wages – When you’re in an accident and can’t work, how are you going to pay your bills? Who is your family going to depend on if you suffer a short-term injury or long-term disability?
- Pain and Suffering – Vehicle repairs, medical bills, and lost wages can reek havoc on your life and well-being, and often cause emotional strain more damaging than an actual physical injury.
Before a claim can be settled, the negligent drivers’ insurance company must agree to the amount of compensation being sought by the injured party. In some cases, the insurance company will acknowledge fault and agree to pay the damages. However, most insurance companies have their own best interests at hand and will deny the initial claim put forward by the injured party. The insurance company will then make a counter-offer. This back and forth can go on for some time and often delays the distribution of any compensation. This is why you need an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney on your side to represent you and stand up to the insurance company.
When Claims Go To Court
If a settlement cannot be agreed upon between the parties involved, we will file a lawsuit and the claim will be heard in a court of law. If your case goes to trial, we will present your side to the court. Burden of proof must be demonstrated. After opening statements are heard, we will then present all of the evidence. This can include documentation and/or the testimony of bystanders or expert witnesses. Expert witnesses could include physicians, insurance or financial professionals, investigators, etc.
The opposing parties will then present their defense. The opposing party’s attorney may call forth witnesses and present evidence to support their argument against your claim. After both parties, the claimant and defendant present their evidence, they will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
After witnesses have been cross-examined, each attorney will present their closing arguments. Closing arguments give the claimant and the defendant a final attempt to persuade the judge or jury to present a favorable outcome for their side. Once this has concluded, the judge or jury will make a final determination if one, the defendant is liable for your injuries and/or damages, and two, the total amount of damages (money) the defendant must pay you.
It can take months or even years to settle a claim in court. We want you to be knowledgeable and prepared for the process.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer
Named one of the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” by Expertise.com, Brian Brunson is Texas personal injury attorney who is dedicated to helping clients who have suffered a car, truck, or motorcycle injury through the negligent or wrongful conduct of other drivers. In addition, his professionalism is unmatched and the firms’ client reviews speak for themselves.
We proudly serve the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas, our office supports the legal needs of a wide variety of clients. Let the Law Office of Brian Brunson be your advocate in your time of need and help you put your life back together. If we can’t win or settle your case, you don’t pay a dime! We know it can be daunting to take that first step after you’ve been hurt. Contact Brian Brunson today via email or call us toll-free at 1-844-41-WRECK. We can help, when no one else will.