Texas Lawsuit Process

Texas Lawsuit and Claim Process

Anyone seriously injured because of another party’s recklessness or negligence can seek compensation via a lawsuit. Many types of lawsuits have a statute of limitations or time limit within which the lawsuit must be filed. In Texas, most personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations from the accident causing the injury. For a wrongful death lawsuit, the two-year statute dates from the time of death. Your attorney will inform you about the relevant statutes of limitation in your case.

Consult with an Attorney

A person suffering a serious injury needs a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney to fight for them. The Dashner Law Firm, with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, and McAllen, Texas, provides personal injury law services to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. At Dashner Law Firm, we will evaluate your particular situation and determine whether you have a case.

Establish Terms of Attorney Representation

A lawyer does not represent a client until both parties sign an engagement agreement. An attorney cannot represent anyone with whom he may have a conflict of interest. Such conflicts may involve current or previous clients or issues of a personal nature. The attorney representation agreement delineates the attorney/client relationship.

If you have any questions, ask your attorney before signing the agreement. The terms of the agreement include any retainer, fees, and a payment schedule. If your case is taken on contingency, the agreement will state the percentage of any award due to the lawyer. The agreement should also state that other expenses, including litigation, are deducted from the award. It will state whether those expenses are deductible before or after the contingency fee calculation. The terms make clear whether fees vary depending on whether the case settles, heads to trial or is appealed.

Negotiations with the Defendant and Insurance Company

If you are in an accident, there are two primary issues to consider. The first is getting medical attention, even if you do not think you were badly hurt. The second is what not to do, and that involves signing any agreements with the insurance company. The other party’s – or defendant’s -insurance company wants you to settle for as little as possible and will try to get you to agree to an offer while you are still experiencing the physical, emotional and mental effects of an accident. Your attorney knows whether a compensation offer is reasonable, and can help you negotiate the insurance claim process. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case heads to trial.

Filing the Lawsuit

The plaintiff, or injured party, files the lawsuit with the clerk of the court. The lawsuit is also known as the petition. The person or business against whom the suit is filed is the defendant. The defendant then receives legal notice regarding the suit filed against them. After the clerk of the court issues a citation, a process server then “serves” the Judge's legal gavel on old law booksdefendant with the citation. Most likely, the defendant files a counterclaim with the court. If there is no response from the defendant, or the defendant does not appear at trial on a later date, the judge may order a “default judgment.”

More often, the defendant’s insurance company’s lawyer sends an answer known as a “general denial.” This means the plaintiff must provide proof of the allegations in the petition. The answer may include defenses to claims made in the suit.

Written Discovery

The discovery process permits each side in a lawsuit to ask each other for case-related information. Each side must show the other any evidence they intend to use in the suit. The responses must be submitted within the time allowed by law. There are various types of discovery, including:

Interrogatories

  • Response to written questions between the parties, with the responding party writing under oath.
  • Request for disclosure – this request asks for the legal names of all parties, factual basis and legal theories behind the lawsuit or the defense, and contact information for individuals possessing applicable information regarding the case.
  • Requests for admissions – this allows one side to ask the opposing side to admit or deny facts relating to the case. Such requests are made in writing, with each separate request listed as such in the document. If one side cannot answer these questions or objects to them, they must explain the reason for not answering or objecting.
  • Requests for examination – allowing the other party to examine documents – including emails, texts, and other electronic media – or property or physical items relating to the case. These requests must specify the time and place for the examination of the items, within a reasonable limit.
  • Physical or mental examinations – such examination usually requires a court order from a judge, who decides whether such a procedure is relevant to the facts of the case.

Depositions

Depositions are interviews performed under oath and taken down by a court reporter. Such interviews may be conducted in person or via telephone, an electronic medium or in writing. Parties involved in the case are not the only ones subject to deposition. Witnesses or others with relevant information to the case may be deposed. There are strict rules regarding depositions, including noticing, location, time limits, and areas of questioning. Should the case go to trial, depositions may be used in court.

Mediation

The goal of mediation is reaching a settlement. That does not always happen, but it is a last attempt to settle the case before going to trial. In Texas, mediation is necessary before a civil suit heads to court. In mediation, lawyers for both parties meet in an attorney’s office and discuss the case in front of a mediator. That individual is usually a retired judge. Once both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys speak, each goes into a separate room. The mediator meets with both of them, going back and forth in an attempt to reach a settlement. The mediator might recommend ways of resolving the issues, but he or she is not acting as a judge and cannot force a settlement.

The plaintiff and defendant do not have to say anything during mediation. If you do comment, it is considered privileged information – it cannot be used against you in the suit. A mediation session is not recorded. If seeing the person who caused the injury is distressing, you do not have to stay in the room with that individual.

Jury Trial

The overwhelming majority of personal injury cases are settled, but those cases that do not settle head to trial. In civil cases, either a jury or a judge renders the decision. It’s not a Jury Box in a new court room“guilty” or “not guilty” situation as occurs in a criminal trial. Unlike a criminal trial, where the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” in a civil trial it is based on the preponderance of the evidence. If your attorney thinks a jury trial is preferable, it is necessary to file a written request with the clerk of the court within a certain period of time.

In a civil trial, each attorney presents an opening statement. The plaintiff bears the burden of proof, so they and their witnesses and evidence go first. Besides witnesses, such evidence may include police reports, medical records, and copies of pay stubs or other information verifying lost wages.

There is a direct examination of the witnesses by the plaintiff’s lawyer and cross-examination by the attorney for the defendant. Then the defendant’s lawyer put forth their witnesses and evidence, with the opposite sides now directly or cross-examining witnesses. When both sides finish presenting evidence, the case goes to the jury along with questions. When the jury makes their decision, they will answer such questions either as “yes” or “no.”

Although the questions vary according to the situation, an affirmative answer generally means they side with the plaintiff and a negative answer with the defendant. For example, the question may be posed to the jury as, “Do you find on the preponderance of the evidence that Thomas Johnson was driving his truck in excess of the posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour?”

It is possible to settle a case even during a trial. Once the case is settled, it is over.

Recent Settlement: $200,000
Slip and fall in Tarrant County, Texas on a sidewalk after a business left their sprinklers on overnight when the temperature got below freezing, which resulted in significant soft-tissue injuries. (Pre-Litigation costs were $1,327.13 and attorney's fees were $66,666.66, medical bills and liens $7,131.92, net to client $124,874.29)
Recent Settlement: $305,000
(Policy Limits) Motor vehicle collision in Harris County, Texas resulting in multiple lumbar and cervical herniations and corresponding neck and back surgeries. (Pre-litigation costs $1,105.03 and attorney's fees $101,666.66, medical bills and liens $98,989.93, net to client $103,238.38)
Recent Settlement: $337,500
Bicycle wreck where client suffered fractured wrist and corresponding surgery. (Pre-litigation costs were approx. $1858.79, and attorney's fees were $112,500, medical bills and liens $18,017.59, net to client $205,123.62.)
Recent Settlement: $300,000
Pit Bull attack with disfiguring scars to client’s upper arm. (Pre-litigation costs were waived, attorney's fees $90,000, medical bills and liens $4,807.19, net to client $205,192.81.)
Recent Settlement: $227,000
Slip and fall in a restaurant in Tarrant County, Texas that resulted in a serious elbow injury and surgery.(Litigation costs $13,139.11 and attorney'’s fees $80,800.00, medical bills and liens $16,871.29, net to client $116,189.60)
Recent Settlement: $250,000
Motor vehicle collision, which resulted in a severe knee injury and rotator cuff tear. (Pre-litigation costs were approx. $1,000 and attorney's fees were $83,333, medical bills and liens, $70,071.07, net to client $95,044.29.)
Recent Settlement: $79,500
Motor vehicle wreck where client suffered soft tissue injuries (Pre-litigation costs were approx. $701.06, attorney's fees $26,500, medical bills and liens $15,987, net to client $36,311.94.)
Recent Settlement: $950,000
Motor vehicle collision involving a drunk driver, which resulted in a fractured shoulder and pelvis. (Pre-litigation costs were approx. $13,500 and attorney's fees were $316,666, medical bills and liens $44,568.90, net to client $531,225.13).
Recent Settlement: $735,476
Motor vehicle collision involving an uninsured driver. Client suffered severely fractured leg and corresponding surgeries. (Pre-litigation costs were approx. $1629.05, and attorney's fees were $245,158.81, medical bills and liens $84,916.62, net to client $403,771.97.)
Recent Settlement: $450,000
Personal injury lawsuit involving a slip and fall, which resulted in a fractured ankle and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). (Litigation costs were approx.. $11,250 and attorney's fees were $180,000 medical bills and liens $52,758.23, net to client $241,950.06.)
Recent Settlement: $2,000,000
Wrongful death 18-Wheeler motor-vehicle collision in Martin County, Texas. (Pre-Litigation costs were $12,397.69 and attorney's fees $666,666.66, zero medical bills or liens, net to client’s family $1,320,935.65)

Contact Us To See How Much Your Injury Case is Worth

Client Reviews

So far i am highly impressed! I have been speaking with them on several occasions, they always are helpful and answer my questions. They haven't collected any money from me!Amazing customer service!
Kimberly W.
11:02 06 Oct 21
(Translated by Google) Our family used the Dashner Law Firm the assistant who works for Mr. Dashner called Iliana is an incredible person answered questions and emails immediately and made sure we were as satisfied with the outcome of the marriage I recommend this lawyer for car accidents and personal injury.(Original)Nuestra familia usó el bufete abogado Dashner la asistente que trabaja para el señor Dashner llamada Iliana es una persona increíble respondió las preguntas y los correo electrónico de inmediato y se aseguró que estuviéramos lo más satisfecho con el resultado de el casó yo recomiendo a este abogado para accidentes automovilísticos y daños personales.
Graciela B.
17:01 09 Jul 21
Dashner Law Firm really help me out in a tight spot! Thank you
Jake S
01:54 07 May 21
Very knowledgeable and take charge person, all about his clients! Great person! Would highly recommend his firm!
Steve T.
21:34 25 Mar 21
Illiana was my paralegal she was very helpful answered all my questions. Called me back just check on me. I was very pleased. Keep up good work.
Mimi C.
16:30 26 Feb 21
Dashner Law Firm resolved my case within a timely manner, staff is professional, very knowledgeable, and responsive. Thank you Dashner Law Firm for all of your hard work!
DeAndra D.
22:42 09 Nov 20
I was injured in a car accident and Mr. Dashner and his associates took very good care of me. I thank them for working digently and taking the time to help me when I needed it the most...Again,Thank you!!!
Latonya L.
10:31 28 Oct 20
Could not be more pleased with the service from the Dashner Law Firm and the outcome of my case. I was involved in an accident and was hit from behind while at a stop light. Dashner was helpful, thorough and professional throughout the entire process of engagement to settling my case. I highly recommend them. Eugene Teagle and Gracie Ibarra in particular were AMAZING to deal with. Pros all the way. Thank you Dashner Team.
Jon W.
20:58 19 Oct 20
Highly recommended.. gracie treated me very well as well as all the staff..!!
Anish M.
19:53 06 Oct 20
I hired the Dashner Law Firm to represent me in an auto accident that I was in that resulted in a lot of medical bills. The insured that hit me didn’t have the coverage to cover all of the bills. The Dashner Law Firm worked with the hospital, doctors and chiropractic firms to reduce the amount I owed and was able to settle with the insured’s insurance company to get them all paid. The process was easy and they were extremely professional. I would highly recommend the Dashner Law Firm.
Craig
23:16 19 Sep 20
I had wonderful experience with Mr. Dashner and his team. A thorough professional and highly responsive team helped with my case. I will recommend this firm and will rate them high.
Sanjeev K.
00:26 06 Jul 20
I had a really good experience, they made it easy. Always upfront and honest. Very friendly and answered all your questions and concerns. I got my settlement and I am super excited. Thank you Dashner Law Firm🥳🤗
Heather H.
18:19 26 Mar 20
I highly recommend Mr. Dashner and his professional law firm. If you require legal representation or advice look no further. Mr. Dashner and his team of professionals work very hard to make sure you have winning results. Great service, great work ! Thank you again Dashner Law Firm!
Maggie R.
21:57 18 Mar 20
One of the few Personal Injury attorneys out there that treats his clients like clients and not numbers. Truly the best in the game. Only person in the industry I'd literally trust my family with. Highly recommend.
Tyler T.
18:51 04 Mar 20
Liz M.
17:34 19 Feb 20
Respresentation was an astronaminal experience.Tomas visited my family directly with no hesitation. He and Mr Dashner guide you with no reservation. Excellent care from beginning to end. Highly recommend this firm
Savannah Marie A.
03:14 06 Feb 20
Great attorney's and staff .
Sandra S.
17:31 05 Feb 20
Excellent service
jennifer O.
17:25 05 Feb 20
I recommend The dashner Law Firm! They do everything to help you along the way and make sure your taken care of. The best part is that they speak Spanish 👍🏻
Dalila L.
17:23 05 Feb 20
Excellent customer service throughout our entire case.Highly recommend Tomas to all very detailed , professional and knowledgeable.
Lisa A.
17:21 05 Feb 20
Great experience with Dashner Law Firm ,kept me informed and updated about my case ,and very good about returning my calls as well . Definitely recommend them to anyone.
Christina A.
17:20 05 Feb 20
Top notch lawyer and their customer service is unmatched!
Xochitl C.
17:18 05 Feb 20
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