How to File a Texas Personal Injury Lawsuit
After your lawyer has gathered as much of the facts as are readily available and researched the applicable law, it's time to actually "file a lawsuit." This document, usually called a "complaint" or "petition," is the opening shot of the battle. This document is submitted to the court your lawyer has chosen to litigate your claim in.
This is entirely the lawyer's job: you won't be asked to sign anything, give witness statements, or be asked to appear in court when it is filed. Instead, in your name, the attorney---as your representative---tells the court what it needs to hear so the litigation process can truly begin.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- How do I file a lawsuit in the state of Texas?
- How do personal injury lawsuits work?
The basic components of every initial lawsuit filing are the same, no matter what
No lawyer worth his salt can predict with any assurance what's going to happen once a lawsuit is initiated. The defendants might try to ignore the problem, or they might immediately have their attorneys reach out to your lawyer and seek a quick resolution. Further, the defendants might file a stack of motions and requests for rulings of their own. But every petition or complaint that starts the process contains the following elements:
- It names the parties: Generally, your name will be listed as the "plaintiff" and the persons and/or companies that hurt you are listed as "defendants." It will read something like "Jane Smith v. Bob Jones and ABC Corporation."
- It will tell the court why you should be there: As you surely already assumed, you cannot file a lawsuit just anywhere. You need a factual basis for why a court should even entertain your claim in the first place. Without getting to thick into the weeds, you need to show two things: 1) the court has legal authority to pronounce judgment against the defendant, and 2) that the parties are best served by having the lawsuit in that particular court.
- It will give a brief version of the facts: You'd think that, in order to stand up in court, you'd need to get your whole story out there about what happened. This is not the case. Instead, courts want the simplest, most concise version of what you contend happened. Don't be alarmed if the fact section of your lawsuit is only a few sentences long. The lawsuit itself is not evidence, but merely serves to alert the court what happened. In a typical car wreck case, a few statements that you were driving down X road and the defendant improperly swerved into your car will suffice.
- It will briefly explain your legal basis for your lawsuit: The court and defendant are entitled to know what law you're alleging the defendant broke. In every personal injury case, there will be some allegation that the defendant was "negligent." Negligence is a cause of action, or, a recognized basis to sue someone.
- It will request money from the defendant: The lawsuit should explain what type of damages you are seeking. Are you seeking money for medical bills? Pain and suffering? Lost wages? Disfigurement? The court needs to know.
Once this process is done, the ball is now in the defendant's court. He must file a response or risk getting a default judgment imposed on him.
Call the Texas Personal Injury Attorneys at Grossman Law Offices:
Because the facts of each case are unique, the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices spend a great deal of time with our clients before the lawsuit is filed. We want to know what you think happened, and how you've been hurt. We also carefully research the law to ensure we're asking the court for all that you are entitled to. If you have been injured, it's important to get an experienced attorney on your side as soon as possible. Call us today for a free consultation.
Other articles about personal injury cases that may be helpful:
- Evidence in a Texas Personal Injury Lawsuit
- Questions of Law: What Judges Decide
- Common Defenses in Texas Civil Law