Changes Coming to PI Cases in TX
The law is always changing and now, new rules in Texas personal injury cases mean they will proceed similarly to federal injury cases.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court but sometimes, a case must proceed to trial. The rules on personal injury trials in Texas state court have now changed so they are more similar to personal injury cases heard in federal court. The reason for the new changes is to expedite the trial process by eliminating six-person juries and increasing the amount-in-controversy threshold for lawsuits that are trying to avoid “expedited action” status.
Increasing the Amount-in-Controversy Limit
The first rule change is a result of SB 2342, which has increased the amount-in-controversy limit in statutory civil county courts. The amount-in-controversy is a term used in civil procedure to indicate the amount sought in a lawsuit. Prior to the bill being passed, the amount was $200,000. Now, the amount has been increased to $250,000.
SB 2342 also mandates that when a statutory county court has concurrent jurisdiction with district courts, jury selection must follow the same method that is used in district courts. When an injury case is heard in these county courts and the amount-in-controversy is more than $250,000, the jury must have 12 members instead of the six usually required in statutory county courts.
Changes to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
The new rules also made changes to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. These changes affect any case filed on or after January 1, 2021. This rule states that any case filed after that time that wants to avoid the status of “expedited action,” the amount-in-controversy has been raised to $250,000 from $100,000.
Under the previous law, expedited actions were only allowed six hours of oral depositions, and that has now been increased to 20 hours. Similar to federal civil actions, the new rules also outline three different categories of disclosure. These are known as initial required disclosures, testifying expert disclosures, and pretrial disclosures.
Initial requests for disclosures are now due within 30 days after the first answer has been filed. Testifying expert disclosures must be filed by the plaintiff 90 days prior to the end of discovery and other parties must file these disclosures 60 days prior to the end of discovery. Pretrial disclosures must be filed 30 days before the trial commences, unless the court has ordered otherwise.
Our Personal Injury Lawyer in South Texas Can Explain the New Laws
The laws governing civil cases are always changing and this is one reason it is so important to work with a South Texas personal injury lawyer. At the Law Office of Raul A. Guajardo, our knowledgeable attorney can explain all the laws that apply to your case, and how they will impact you. Attorney Guajardo also has the necessary trial experience to give you the best chance of a successful outcome with your case. Call us today at 956-318-3200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.