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Texas Lawsuit Process

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured through another’s negligence, you may seek compensation through a lawsuit. There is a statute of limitations for filing many types of lawsuits. Usually, the statute of limitations is two years from the event causing the accident or death, but there are exceptions. Your lawyer will let you know the statute of limitations for your particular situation, and guide you through the lawsuit process.

If you or a loved one has been injured, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The Bonneau Law Firm, located in Dallas, Texas, provides personal injury law services to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. At Bonneau Law Firm, we will review the circumstances of your situation and determine whether you have a case.

Establish Terms of Attorney Representation

An attorney does not represent you until both the client and lawyer sign an engagement agreement. If the attorney has any conflicts of interest – whether with former or current clients or personal issues – he will not be able to represent you. The agreement for the terms of attorney representation clearly explains the relationship between the attorney and client.

The terms of the representation include any fees, retainers and when payment is due. In cases involving contingency fees, the percentage of any award going to the attorney in is stated in the agreement. The agreement states that litigation and other expenses are deducted from the recovery, as well as whether these expenses are deducted prior to after calculation of the contingency fee. The agreement will state whether the fee differs depending on whether the case is settled, goes to trial or appealed.

Negotiations with Defendant and Insurance Company

Never sign any insurance forms following an accident before consulting an attorney. An insurance company wants to pay as little as possible for a claim, and if you do not have a lawyer, the odds of your receiving fair compensation are low. Your attorney will protect your legal rights and help you negotiate the claims process.

If the person or entity believed responsible for the injury – the defendant – carries liability insurance, as is the case with the majority of personal injury claims, negotiations begin with defendant’s insurance adjuster. The insurance company may offer a settlement, and your attorney will evaluate the offer. If it is insufficient and the insurance company won’t budge, a lawsuit may be necessary for you to receive just compensation.

Filing the Lawsuit

The person filing the lawsuit, or petition, is the plaintiff. The person or entity against which the suit is filed is the defendant or respondent. The petition is filed with the clerk of the court. After your filing, the defendant must receive legal notice that the suit has been filed against them. The clerk of the court will issue a citation, and a process server will present the citation to the defendant. The defendant will likely file a counter-claim, or answer, with the court. Should the defendant not respond, or later fail to appear at trial, the judge can order a default judgment.

The defendant’s insurance company’s attorney usually sends a “general denial” standard answer. This answer does not indicate the plaintiff’s allegations are false, but it does mean the plaintiff must provide proof of the allegations. The answer may also include specific defenses to claims. The next step in the lawsuit process is discovery.

Written Discovery

1. Discovery is the process by which people get information from the other party in a lawsuit. Each side can ask the other to:

2. Respond to written questions, known as interrogatories

3. Allow the other party to read documents or other items – including property – controlled by the other side

4. Proceed with an oral or written deposition.

Anyone sent discovery must answer within the time allotted by civil law or as per a court’s order.

Type of Cases We Handle
The Bonneau Law Firm handles all types of serious injury and wrongful death cases. This is all we do. In the next slide you can find a sample listing of various types of cases we handle. This list is not exhaustive, and regardless of whether you see your type of case, we invite you to call us to discuss whether we are the right firm for you.
Tell Us Your Story
Auto/Car Accidents
Every year insurance companies spend millions of dollars a year in advertising to convince you that they are on your side. However, they don’t tell you that they make more money by not providing you full recovery...
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18 Wheeler Accidents
When semi trucks and 18 wheelers are involved in auto accidents, the result is often deadly. Unfortunately, truck accidents such as these are often caused by negligent trucking companies and their drivers. Distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to observe mandatory...
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Motorcycle Accidents
Riding a motorcycle can feel like a liberating experience, but it too often proves a dangerous or deadly one. Motorcyclists lack the protective shell surrounding them of car or truck drivers and are especially vulnerable to death or serious injury...
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Drunk Drivers
Every year hundreds of Texas residents sustain a serious personal injury due to an intoxicated driver who causes a car wreck or an intoxicated person that assaults an innocent victim. Injured persons have legal rights against
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Pedestrian Accidents
Walking is good exercise. Doctors recommend it for weight loss and overall fitness. Many people jog or run for fun or competition. It’s healthier to walk a short distance than get in the car to reach the destination – unless tragedy strikes...
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Concussions/Brain Injury
A concussion can put a person out of work for several weeks and can lead to serious complications. A person diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome (PCS) may experience constant headaches, difficulty concentrating and emotional instability...
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Wrongful Death
The loss of a loved one is always difficult, but especially so when death results from another person’s negligent actions. You and your family’s life are turned upside down. Not only do you mourn the loss...
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Back/Neck Injuries
Back and neck injuries may upend your life. Not only are such injuries extremely painful, but they often affect mobility. If the injury resulted from another’s negligence or a defective product, a Dallas-Fort Worth back and neck lawyer may help you receive the compensation you deserve.
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Dog Attack/Bite
If you or your child has been bitten and injured by a dog, you may file a civil lawsuit against the owner and/or handler of the animal, or a third party whose negligence contributed to the attack. However, finding the right attorney to represent you is not a simple matter of going online...
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Slip and Fall
A slip and fall accident can result in serious, incapacitating injury. Such accidents are not always the fault of the victim. If the accident occurred on another person’s or entity’s property, they may be liable...
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Nursing Home Abuse
For many elderly people, old age is far from “the golden years.” Instead, it is a time when they are confined to a nursing home or assisted living facility because they are no longer able to physically and/or mentally care...
Read More
Bicycle Crash
Riding a bicycle is good exercise and an energy-efficient way to travel. However, there’s a downside to this common pastime. When a motor vehicle hits a bicyclist, the result is usually devastating. If the cyclist is not killed, he or she may suffer severe....
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I have nothing but a good experience with Robert Nichols at The Bonneau Law firm! He has been more than helpful during this whole process!
Felicia Rogers
Felicia Rogers
2022-02-18
Grate communication always on top of things thanks for taking my case and resolve it the best way and convenient for our part than you Maria. Salacies for being such a profesional
Luis Arechiga
Luis Arechiga
2022-02-07
Robert Nichols was very helpful with my case I really recommend their services thank you for helping me out
Luis Miranda
Luis Miranda
2022-02-07
Very happy client here. They were able to closed my case above my expectations. They truly worked it out and handled it to the max. Great job Bonneu Law Firm. Highly recommended.
Lennie Solis
Lennie Solis
2021-12-29
Robert Nichols was very helpful. Handled my case with urgency and decisiveness. Worked hard to get the best options for me and deliver on them. 100% recommend this Law Firm.
Cole Smith
Cole Smith
2021-12-29
Responded quickly! Robert Nichols and Hunt Bonneau took time to hear my case and provide logical advice. It is evident that he cares about his clients. He let me know that he could take the case but also advised on ways to handle the situation amicably. Would highly recommend for personal injury lawyers!
Monty Albakhtari
Monty Albakhtari
2021-12-17
I would definitely recommend this law firm! Robert Nichols is very professional, and knowledgeable about your concerns. A very caring, and compassionate person. The kind of dim you want on your side!!!!
anna gibson
anna gibson
2021-11-17
I want to thank Robert Nichols for being very communicative through this whole ordeal and the Bonneau law firm he was very helpful with answering all my questions and any problems I had
kaled alshimmary
kaled alshimmary
2021-11-16
Bonneau Law Firm was amazing! They fought a case that wasn’t all the way guaranteed and won! Thanks to Robert for making sure we were taken well care of. Hunt also was exceptional at knowing what to do! Great experience! 😁
Cris Brenham
Cris Brenham
2021-11-11

Depositions

Depositions, whether written or oral, are taken under oath. The witness answers questions, and these answers are recorded by a court reporter. Depositions can be used if the case goes to trial. The questions are often wide-ranging but relevant to the lawsuit. In personal injury cases, the witness is asked about the circumstances leading up to the accident or incident.

Mediation

Mediation, or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), is one way of resolving a case before going to trial. The goal of mediation is reaching a settlement or an agreement between the parties in the suit. The attorneys representing the plaintiff and the defendant are present during mediation, and the plaintiffs or defendants may choose to appear.

A third-party mediator works impartially and “facilitates communication between parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them,” according to the Texas ADR statute. These mediators are lawyers and some previously served as judges. The session starts with all parties in the same room, with each attorney presenting their case. The parties separate and go into different rooms, and the mediator speaks with each side privately.

Whether you have to stay in the same room with “the other side” depends on your feelings and your attorney’s advice. You do not have to speak unless you want to and your attorney believes it is in your interest. If you decide to speak, whatever you say is privileged information. It remains confidential and cannot be used against you in the lawsuit. The mediator may suggest ways of resolving a dispute but does not have the authority to decide an issue. The goal of mediation is to reach a settlement. The mediation session is not recorded, either by tape or stenographer.

While the goal of mediation is to reach a settlement, it does not always happen. The next step in a case that has not settled is going to trial, although the overwhelming majority of personal injury cases are settled. A settlement is possible at any time, including during a trial or even after a verdict is returned. Once a settlement is reached, the case is over.

Jury Trial

If the case is not settled, it goes to trial. Civil cases may be tried with or without a jury. In civil cases, a written request for a jury trial must be filed with the clerk of the court within a specified time period. During jury selection – or voir dire – the lawyers for either side, as well as the judge, can question the potential jurors. Either side can dismiss potential jurors.

While a civil trial is similar to a criminal trial, the defendant is not accused of a crime, and there is no “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict. Each attorney gives an opening statement, focusing on what they intend to prove with the evidence presented. Since the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff, their evidence and witnesses go first. The plaintiff’s attorney can directly examine the witness, while the questions asked by the defendant’s attorney are called cross-examination.

Once the plaintiff’s attorney is finished presenting evidence, it becomes the defendant’s turn to put forward witnesses and evidence, with direct and cross-examination. Once all the evidence is presented, the jury receives questions along with instructions from the judge. The way questions are worded is crucial. A poorly worded question can end up causing a decision to become reversed on appeal.

Questions are answered either in the negative or the affirmative. A sample question in a personal injury case may be: “Do you find by a preponderance of the evidence that John Jones was driving his automobile in excess of the posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour?”

Juries then return a verdict, representing their findings on a case.

Slip and Fall

A slip and fall accident can result in serious, incapacitating injury. Such accidents are not always the fault of the victim. If the accident occurred on another person’s or entity’s property, they may be liable for enabling...

Nursing Home Abuse

For many elderly people, old age is far from “the golden years.” Instead, it is a time when they are confined to a nursing home or assisted living facility because they are no longer able to physically and/or mentally...

Back/Neck Injuries

Back and neck injuries may upend your life. Not only are such injuries extremely painful, but they often affect mobility. If the injury resulted from another’s negligence or a defective product, a Dallas-Fort Worth...