When settlement negotiations are unsuccessful or cannot be completed before the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations, filing a lawsuit will be necessary to preserve the victim’s right to recover damages from the responsible party. While delaying a lawsuit during settlement talks may seem frustrating, it is often financially beneficial to the plaintiff to avoid the costs of litigation when possible. In this post, we will discuss a common initial step in the litigation process: dealing with preliminary motions filed by the defendant’s counsel. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.
Once a plaintiff files their lawsuit against potential defendants, the litigation process has begun. A common initial action taken by defense counsel is to seek dismissal of some or all of the causes of action against their clients by filing a Motion to Dismiss. A Motion to Dismiss claims that the facts alleged by the plaintiff in their Complaint, even if assumed to be true, do not constitute legal grounds for suing their client. For instance, if a Complaint alleges that the victim was almost hit by a car driven by the defendant, defense counsel may seek to have the case dismissed because their client cannot be held liable if an accident did not actually occur. These types of preliminary motions are particularly common in complex cases, involving large companies and multiple defendants. For example, if a plaintiff was injured by a semi-truck, they may sue the driver, the owner of the truck, and the trucking company responsible for operating the fleet. Depending upon the types of legal claims made against each, their counsel may believe the case should be dismissed against their client. Counsel for the victim will have the opportunity to respond to Motions to Dismiss and explain why their case should proceed.
Understandably, this process can frustrate and sometimes intimidate victims. Many may not realize that Motions to Dismiss are a routine part of litigation. In some instances, defense counsel file Motions to Dismiss as a delay tactic, buying them more time to investigate an accident and prepare for litigation. In other cases, preliminary defense Motions may be filed even when counsel expects the judge to deny the dismissal request. In such cases, the Motion may be used as a tool to educate the judge about the facts of the case. Regardless of the reasoning, experienced personal injury lawyers recognize that such Motions are common and will be prepared to respond to them accordingly.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, we recommend hiring a law firm with significant litigation experience. We also suggest that you retain a firm in which the attorneys are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law with adequate resources to handle your case through trial if needed. These recommendations are important whether you are injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.