If another party injures you through negligence or intentional misconduct, Texas personal injury laws allow you to seek compensation for your damages. Your “claim” may be based on negligence, intentional torts, strict liability, or other wrongful acts. If you and the at-fault fault cannot settle your claim through negotiations, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and take your case to court.

The terms claim and lawsuit refers to the methods for seeking damages after a personal injury or accident. However, the terms have slightly different meanings when you examine the personal injury process in Dallas, Texas. Understanding the differences can help you know what to expect as you work to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. 

What Is a Personal Injury Claim in Dallas, TX?

A personal injury claim arises from accidents and other incidents that cause injury or harm. Examples of situations that could give rise to a personal injury claim include, but are not limited to:

A “claim” is a set of facts that creates a legal liability enforceable in court. The claim is between you and the party who caused your injury. If the party had liability insurance, the insurance company might be liable for payment of damages under the insurance policy terms.

The term personal injury claim is generally used to describe the process of settling insurance claims related to accidents and other injuries. The process of settling a personal injury claim includes, but is not limited to:

  • Filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company
  • Investigating the claim to determine causation, fault, and liability for the injury
  • Documenting damages to determine how much the personal injury case is worth
  • Making a settlement demand to resolve the claim
  • Negotiating a settlement amount
  • Signing a settlement agreement and receiving a settlement check

You are not legally required to hire a Dallas personal injury lawyer to file or settle a personal injury claim. However, it is wise to remember that the insurance company has substantial resources to fight your claim. It has a team of highly-trained, experienced insurance adjusters and other professionals to protect its best interest.

The insurance company’s best interest is to pay as little as possible for your personal injury claim. If possible, the company prefers to deny the claim entirely. It will use whatever resources and tactics it can to reduce its liability for damages.

Therefore, hiring a personal injury attorney in Dallas can give you an advantage and even the playing field. Your attorney has the resources to investigate the claim and gather evidence proving the other party is responsible for your injury. Your attorney also understands the damages you are entitled to receive and the correct value of those damages. 

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Dallas, TX?

A personal injury lawsuit is more complicated than a personal injury claim. It is a legal action filed in court against the party who caused your injury. You are the plaintiff and the other party is the defendant.

A jury hears the evidence from both sides during a trial. Then, the jurors decide what evidence to believe as facts. They use the facts to decide if the defendant is responsible for causing the plaintiff’s injury, whether to award damages, and how much the damages are worth.

Most personal injury cases are settled through negotiations. Therefore, your attorney has taken all the steps we discussed before filing a lawsuit. However, if the other party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement amount, you might have no option but to file a personal injury lawsuit and go to trial.

The phases of a personal injury lawsuit include:

  • Pre-filing investigation and settlement attempts
  • Filing a complaint and serving it on the defendant
  • Receipt of an answer or response from the defendant
  • Discovery (i.e., the process of gathering additional evidence and exchanging evidence ad information with the parties to the lawsuit)
  • Settlement negotiations 
  • Pretrial motions to resolve issues of law and evidence
  • Trial and jury verdict
  • Appeals

It could take more than a year after filing a personal injury lawsuit for the case to go to trial. If either party believes there is reason to appeal the decision, an appeal could take up to another year to resolve. 

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not a guarantee of payment of damages. The defendant might not pay the judgment even if the jury decides in your favor. 

Therefore, before proceeding with a lawsuit, it is wise to carefully consider whether it is better to settle your claim or go to trial. A personal injury lawyer can help you weigh your options to choose the best option to get you the maximum value for your personal injury claim. 

Call Now for a Free Consultation with Our Dallas Personal Injury Lawyers

Our Dallas personal injury attorneys at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers are seasoned trial lawyers and aggressive negotiators. Whether we are negotiating a settlement for a personal injury claim or arguing a personal injury lawsuit in court, we will use all our resources and expertise to get you the best possible outcome for your personal injury case. Contact our law firm to schedule your free case evaluation today at (214) 855-1420.