How Selecting The Right Court Venue Can Help Your Texas Work Injury Case.
Assuming you've established the right to file a lawsuit in a Texas state court, the question becomes which one. After all, Texas has hundreds of counties, each with their own court. Which county is the right one?
The Texas rules governing such decisions don't allow you to sue just anywhere. Your attorney will have to be able to show that the incident and/or the people responsible for the incident have a connection with the county your case is filed in. In this article, personal injury attorney Michael Grossman will discuss how where your lawyer files your case can impact your recovery, and second, how courts decide where a case can go forward.
Questions answered on this page:
- What affect does the court venue have on my Texas personal injury case?
- Why does the location of the court matter in my Texas personal injury case?
- What criteria would make one venue better than another?
- How does an experienced Dallas-based attorney help me win?
Filing your claim in the wrong county can cost you money.
If you've spent any time traveling around Texas, you've probably noticed that different cities cost you more money. A downtown hotel and dinner in an east Texas small town will cost you substantially less than what it would in Houston or Dallas. Similarly, everyone knows that a lot of people move to a bigger city because salaries are often higher. You don't have to be an economist to know a lot of reasons for this. But, just as prices and wages might be higher in one county than another, so too are jury awards.
It might be hard to imagine, but what your case is "worth" varies from county to county. There is no set award for any injury claim, so it's up to the jurors of that county to make a determination of what your case is worth. And we all know that, say, residents of Austin are not usually the same as residents of, say, Tyler or Lubbock. Therefore, patterns have developed over the years in Texas with some counties' juries consistently award large dollar amounts to personal injury victims, with others being much stingier. It then logically follows: if you CAN legitimately file a claim in a county with traditionally-higher jury awards, then why would you NOT?
The answer is bad lawyering. As you'll see in the discussion of the rules below, it's not always apparent where a lawsuit can be filed. To maximize your recovery, your personal injury lawyer needs to not only know the law of venue but do the extra legwork in finding facts that support filing your case in a more-advantageous county.
The Texas venue rules require some connection to a county.
The rules on venue can be summed up as follows. The case must be filed in:
- The county where the accident happened, or at least the county where the person or company started the chain of events the led to the accident; or
- The county where the defendant lives, if the defendant is a person not a company; or
- The county where the defendant business has its "principal place"
You can tell from the above list that Texas doesn't want cases filed just anywhere, but wants cases litigated where it happened or where culpable people and businesses reside. Your attorney will have to make one of those reasons stick in court to where you want to file your case. Let's use an all-too-common example to show how this works: a man becomes intoxicated at a bar in Fort Worth, Tarrant County. He then gets in his car to drive to his home, causes an accident right outside the bar, and leaves another driver severely injured.
The injured driver could obviously file a lawsuit in Tarrant County based on the first bulleted rule above. However, what if his attorney thinks that Dallas County courts would be more favorable to his case? After researching county property and tax records, he might find that the injured man's home is actually in Dallas. Then he'd be able to file it in Dallas County and allege venue is proper because the defendant lives there.
Grossman Law Offices has experience litigating personal injury cases nationwide.
Making sure your case is filed in the best county it can is what the experienced attorneys at Grossman Law Offices do all the time. It takes extra effort, but that's the kind of service we always provide our clients. We'd love to hear about your case, so give us a call:(855) 326-0000.
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