ANATOMY OF A LAWSUIT
After enough evidence has been traded on both sides, Jon will present you with recommendations and you will have to decide: Do you want to settle or go to trial? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Most cases settle because trials are risky, take longer, are more costly and can be appealed. Unlike many attorneys, Jon has a lot of courtroom experience, even taking on big insurance companies that other attorneys were too intimidated to confront. Jon is not afraid to go to trial.
That said, settlement can often be the best option. 19 out of 20 cases normally settle at a mediation. Settlement is a certainty and you are not left waiting for a jury decision and a possible appeal of a jury decision. Additionally, if you need money quickly, settlements are much faster. Jon advises you honestly about whether a settlement is better than going to trial in your particular situation.
The Powell Law Firm aggressively pursues your lawsuit. A typical timeline for a case follows:
- Meet with the client and get the fee agreement signed.
- File and serve the lawsuit. 7 days.
- Wait for an answer to be filed. 20 days.
- Written discovery completed. 60 days.
- Fact witness depositions completed. 45 days.
- Expert witness depositions completes. 30 days.
- Mediation. 30 days. This is where most cases get settled – approximately 19/20 cases settle at mediation. This mediation usually occurs within 6 – 7 months from the signing of the fee contract.
- If the case does not settle, then the following occurs. Dispositive motions. 30 days.
- Pre-trial paperwork. Motion in limine, trial exhibit list, witness list and jury charge. 30 days.
- Jury trial. 15-30 days.
- Post-trial motions. 105 days. If filed by the defendant.
- Post-Trial Mediation. 30 days. If the plaintiff wins at trial, most cases are then
settled at a post-trial mediation. This means that if the case was not settled at the mediation, or at the trial which is common, then most cases will have settled if the plaintiff wins at trial within 14 months of the fee agreement being signed. Sometimes 1 to 2 months can be added to that figure due to delays such as a motion for continuance of the trial date by a defendant.
- Appeal to the Court of Appeals. 270 days. If filed by the defendant.
- Appeal to the Texas or United States Supreme Court. 360 days. If filed by the defendant. This is the worst case scenario time wise. If the case is taken up on appeal all the way to the Supreme Court and affirmed your case could take three years or more to finally be resolved. Even longer than that if the Supreme Court sends you back to the trial court to try your case again to a jury. It is rare however for cases to go this far and this long – perhaps 1 in 100 cases takes this long.
It is expensive to pursue a lawsuit as a plaintiff. Some of the expenses include depositions, travel, medical expenses and more. If you need to see a doctor, Jon can arrange the visit – even if you can’t afford to pay for it at the time. The important thing to remember is that as your attorney, Jon covers the cost of those expenses for you. If you don’t win your lawsuit, you’re not responsible for re-paying those costs. If you do win, Jon gets reimbursed for all the expenses he’s covered. Be assured that Jon is unique in his consideration for his client’s bottom line.
Some lawsuits require the testimony of expert witnesses. An expert witness is someone who is allowed to testify at your trial because he or she has special knowledge of a subject related to your case. For example, a cardiologist could be an expert witness if you suffered a heart attack because of your injury. Expert witnesses are paid for their time in depositions and on the witness stand.
Depositions are used by both sides to discover more information about your case. Your deposition will be the first time you’ll meet face to face with the attorneys representing the other side. They’ll ask you questions, and you will be under oath to answer truthfully. We will prepare you for this process, and you will know what to expect on the day of the deposition. We will also be right there in the room with you during the deposition.
Once the lawsuit is filed, you will have to answer discovery. Discovery can include a set of questions (interrogatories) that will ask in great detail about your injuries and lifestyle, as well as what you’ve done to seek medical care. All the questions should be based on your claims. They can be lengthy and require very detailed information. You must meet the deadlines which can make you feel panicked or pressured but Jon’s office will work with you to get everything answered.
All this work may seem unfair, but it is important to remember that the defendants will be going through the same process and just as your answers are shared with their attorney, their answers are also shared with Jon.
After you meet with Jon, he will decide if you have a valid case. If you do, and you decide to proceed with your lawsuit, he will file and serve the lawsuit. During the course of your case, Jon will keep you informed of the progress of the lawsuit and will answer any questions or concerns you have. You will receive copies of everything filed on your behalf as well as all communications with the defendant’s attorneys. Jon is different because if you have a question or concern, at any time, you can reach him at the office, or even on his cell phone. He is working for you, and he wants to make sure that you are completely informed.
When you first meet with Jon, he will ask you to bring documentation of your accident. This is so he can make the most of your first meeting. For example, he will want any and all photos, paper work, lost wages information, medical records and bills, car rental receipts, text messages, phone records, police report, onsite injury report, eye witness names and contact information, as well as any other documents or information that you think supports your claim.
After the end of the trial or once you reach a settlement, your wellbeing continues to be important for The Powell Law Firm. The Powell Law Firm, when requested by the client, can help to make sure you have access to healthcare in the future and that the settlement funds are structured into an annuity such that you will be assured of having health care and money into the future after your case is resolved.
Your wellbeing is important. That is why The Powell Law Firm not only advocates for you in legal matters, but also advocates for you in health matters. The Powell Law Firm will get you established with doctors to make sure that you get the right treatment for your injuries, even if you can’t afford it. This treatment can include medical examinations, testing such as MRIs and CAT-Scans, Physical Therapy and prescription pain medications. Your physical wellbeing is one of the most important factors to ensure your ultimate maximum recovery. The Powell Law Firm will include lost wages and medical bills in the past and the future as a part of your claims in a lawsuit. In appropriate cases, The Powell Law Firm will bring in an economist to calculate your lost wages or lost earnings capacity into the future along with the loss of household services – a claim for the things you can no longer do such as wash dishes, shop, mow the yard, play with your children and other normal daily activities that your pain and impairment keeps you from doing as in the past. The Powell Law Firm will also seek to maximize your claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, physical impairment and disfigurement by seeking a multiple of the economic damages in the case or by seeking an amount per day 24/7/365 into the future to compensate for pain and suffering, physical impairment and disfigurement. At the end of the lawsuit, The Powell Law Firm negotiates with healthcare providers, insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid where needed to reduce the medical bills that have been incurred in the case. This means that when you receive money at the end of your case you can rest assured that the money is yours and there are no lingering medical bills or other claims against the money.