When you or someone you love has sustained a brain injury in an accident, getting justice and proper compensation from your car accident settlement can be especially difficult. Personal injury attorneys in Huntsville, TX and Rockdale, TX who specialize in brain injury cases will take a proven, structured approach to help you through this challenging time.
How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Handle Brain Injury Cases?
The journey starts with an initial consultation. In this meeting, your attorney will listen to your story, gather relevant information, and assess the circumstances surrounding the brain injury. They will ask detailed questions about the incident, such as where and how it happened and the impact it has had on your life. It’s critical to be as forthright and detailed as possible, as this information forms the foundation of your case.
Gathering Medical Evidence
Medical evidence is the cornerstone of brain injury cases, so your attorney will collect all medical records related to your injury, including hospital admissions records and records on your diagnoses, treatments, and prognoses. They may also consult with medical experts who can help interpret the evidence and explain the extent and future implications of the injury to a jury.
Under Texas law, proving negligence is essential in a personal injury case, so your attorney will work to show that the party responsible for your injury breached their duty of care to you, causing the accident which resulted in your brain injury. This may involve collecting evidence from the scene, speaking with witnesses, and sometimes reconstructing the accident.
“Duty of Care” is a legal concept that simply refers to the way any responsible person should behave to protect others. All drivers are expected to obey the rules of the road and avoid dangerous behaviors, like texting or driving after drinking, as their basic “duty of care” to others.
Your attorney will calculate both economic and non-economic damages to help you claim what you’re truly owed. Economic damages are quantifiable costs, like medical bills and lost wages, while non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. These calculations can be complex, but they are vital in ensuring you receive fair compensation.
Litigation and Trial Preparation
Once your attorney has established the groundwork of your case, the next step is to file a lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury, and while there are some limited exceptions to this rule, it’s imperative to act promptly. Your attorney will prepare and file a complaint with the court, officially starting the legal process.
After filing the lawsuit, both sides will enter the discovery phase. During this period, your attorney will exchange information with the defendant’s legal team. This includes interrogatories, requests for documents, and depositions.
The objective is to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim while also determining what you and the other side already agree on, so the court’s time isn’t wasted talking through aspects of the case that are not in dispute. Your attorney may also contact accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and economic damages experts during this phase.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
In many brain injury cases, insurance companies are the ones expected to cover the losses of victims. Your attorney will handle all communication with the insurers to ensure your rights are protected. They will negotiate on your behalf, armed with the evidence to support your claim for damages.
It’s not uncommon for insurers to extend a settlement offer, and your attorney will evaluate any offers and discuss them with you in detail. They will advise you on the fairness of the offer and whether it’s in your best interest to accept or to proceed to trial.
You have the final say in whether to settle or go to court, your attorney’s role is to provide you with the information and advice you need to make an informed decision. You should always listen to your attorney and be mindful that early settlement offers are often unfairly low. In some cases, however, taking a car accident settlement will be a better option than going to court.
The Trial Process
Pre-Trial Motions and Conferences
Before the trial officially starts, there will be a series of pre-trial motions and conferences. These are crucial, as they set the parameters for the trial, including deciding what evidence will be admissible, which witnesses can testify, and other procedural rules. Your attorney will argue motions to put your case in the strongest possible position before the court.
In Texas, the jury selection process is the first step in the trial phase, if you have requested a trial by jury. For civil cases, you can do this if you think a jury would be fairer to you than a judge, but this is fairly uncommon. Your lawyer will help you make this decision, and if you do choose to request a jury trial, your attorney will participate in selecting jurors, aiming to assemble a group of individuals who can be impartial and fair.
Your attorney will present a clear and concise narrative of what happened, why the defendant is liable, and how the brain injury has impacted your life. This is a critical moment to frame the story and set the stage for your case.
Your attorney will likely call witnesses to testify on your behalf. These may include medical experts, eyewitnesses, or even family members who can speak to the changes in your life post-injury. After each witness testifies, the defense will have an opportunity to cross-examine them, attempting to challenge their credibility or the substance of their testimony.
Alongside witness testimony, your attorney will introduce physical evidence, such as medical records, accident reports, and any other materials that support your claim. They will link each piece of evidence to the elements of your case, painting a complete picture. After all evidence is presented, your attorney will summarize the key points of your case, reminding the court of the defendant’s negligence and the extent of your suffering. They will argue passionately for the compensation you deserve, urging the judge or jury to hold the defendant accountable.
The Verdict and Beyond
The conclusion of the trial is not necessarily the end of the legal process. Either party can file post-trial motions to challenge certain aspects of the trial or the verdict itself. Common motions include a request for a new trial or a motion to reduce the amount of damages awarded. If these motions are denied, the losing party may decide to appeal to a higher court, which can extend the legal process.
Collecting the Judgment
If the verdict is in your favor and survives any appeals, the next step is collecting the judgment. Your attorney will facilitate this process, which may involve negotiating with the defendant or their insurance company to ensure the judgment is paid out in a timely manner. In some cases, this may require additional legal action, especially if the defendant is unwilling or unable to pay the awarded amount.
Get the Best Possible Car Accident Settlement with Experienced Huntsville, TX and Rockdale, TX Attorneys
Winning a brain injury case requires a skilled personal injury attorney who understands the complexities of the law and the medical issues involved. Remember, the goal is not just to win a case, but to provide you with the resources you need to move forward with your life. To get experienced help on your side, contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, right away.