If you get injured in an accident, such as a motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall, you may be eligible for financial benefits from one or more parties. The person or entity at fault for causing your accident may be financially responsible for your related damages, including medical bills and property repairs. Learn how to file a personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, as well as when to hire an attorney for assistance.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in San Antonio
Before you begin the legal process, you may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio. A personal injury lawyer will have the information and resources to help you fully protect your legal rights as a plaintiff. You may need to hire a lawyer to represent you during a claim, especially if you have severe or catastrophic personal injuries.
With a life-changing injury, it is more likely that an insurance company will try to take advantage of you and devalue your claim. An attorney can help you file your lawsuit and obtain maximum financial compensation for your losses. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so you can discuss your case with a lawyer without any financial risk.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
Next, learn your deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas (known in legalese as the statute of limitations). The statute of limitations is two years for most personal injury cases in Texas. If you wait longer than two years after your accident to bring a claim to damages, expect the courts to deny your case. It is important to act quickly in the aftermath of an accident to make sure you file within the required window, as well as while important evidence is still available.
Gather Information and Evidence
Start building your personal injury claim in San Antonio by collecting as much information, evidence and documentation about your accident and injury as possible:
- Write down the at-fault party’s name, contact information and insurance carrier.
- Call the hospital where you sought treatment to obtain copies of your relevant medical records.
- If you were in an auto accident and called the police, contact the local police department for a copy of your police report.
- Gather any photographs and videos of your accident.
- If you have signed statements from eyewitnesses, put this in your case folder as well.
Having all the information and evidence organized in a single place can make it easier to file a lawsuit.
Find Out Where to File Your Lawsuit in San Antonio
You will file your personal injury claim with the civil courthouse in the county where your accident took place, in most cases. If this is Bexar County, you will go to the Civil District Court. If you estimate your case is worth less than $10,000, including court costs, you will file with the Bexar County Small Claims Court instead. Filing a lawsuit requires filling out the claims forms given to you by the courthouse clerk completely, in as much detail as possible.
On your claims form, you will need to include the defendant’s name and contact information, a brief description of your accident and why you believe the defendant is responsible, a list of the damages for which you are seeking compensation, and the amount of money you are demanding from the defendant’s insurance company to resolve your claim. You will need to pay the filing fee when you submit the paperwork. This fee is typically $200.
Negotiate on Your Own or With Help From an Attorney
Once you file your personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, the defendant will have a chance to respond to your petition. If the defendant does not deny or refute fault, you will most likely receive a settlement offer from the insurance company.
Before accepting the offer, bring it to an attorney for review. If the offer is not adequate for your injuries and losses, an attorney can help you negotiate back and forth for a better amount. In the rare incident that your case cannot settle, your lawyer can represent you at trial in Bexar County instead. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the results you deserve.