What Happens if I Lose My Case? Do I Owe Money?

If you have been injured by someone else’s behavior in Texas, Texas state law may provide you with legal relief.

Specifically, you can often file a lawsuit against the person or company that injured you. You can request money for your bodily injuries and property damage. You can also often receive compensation for lost wages and other costs to you resulting from the injury.

In most cases in the United States, each side must pay their own litigation costs, no matter who wins. But there are certain cases in which the losing side must pay.

So if you lose your lawsuit, do you owe money? That may depend on:

Whether you are suing or being sued

The person that files a lawsuit against the other side is called the plaintiff. The person or company that is being sued is known as the defendant.

Plaintiffs Who Lose a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas Usually Do Not Have to Pay Defendant’s Litigation Costs

Some people are reluctant to file a lawsuit because they are afraid what will happen if they lose. Specifically, many fear they will have to pay money to the person they sued.

But in most cases, even if you lose a personal injury lawsuit you filed, you will not have to pay money. But you still might be financially affected.

Plaintiffs Who Lose Their Personal Injury Lawsuits Do Not Receive Compensation

If you lose a personal injury lawsuit that you filed in Texas, in most cases you will not receive money from the other side. You will be responsible for your own property repairs and medical bills. You will also be responsible for lost wages and other costs.

What Happens When a Defendant Loses a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas

If you are being sued, you are the defendant. Losing your case may mean having to pay for the injuries and damage you caused. The court can impose a money judgment.

If you were reckless or acted intentionally, you may be subject to additional costs as punishment for your dangerous behavior. These are generally known in legal terms as punitive damages. Punitive means “punishing.”

In Texas, punitive damages are called exemplary damages. You are punished as an example to others, in order to prevent anyone from acting recklessly in the future.

The specific laws that support your lawsuit

Some laws that allow you to sue specifically require the losing person to pay the other side’s litigation costs.

There are also laws that require you to pay the winning side’s attorney costs if you file a lawsuit that has no real basis in fact or law. This is known as a frivolous lawsuit, and you can lose your lawsuit and have to pay civil penalties if you file one.

If you have been injured and think you might be able to file a lawsuit in Texas, speak to an experienced Texas personal injury attorney.

If You Made or Received a Rule 167 Offer of Settlement

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 42 and Rule 167 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure allow a defendant to challenge the plaintiff with a special kind of settlement offer. This is sometimes called a Rule 167 Offer of Settlement.

A Rule 167 Offer of Settlement in Texas Must Be Formalized

A defendant who wants to make a Rule 167 Offer of Settlement must refer to those laws specifically when making the settlement offer. The offer must:

  • Be in writing
  • State the defendant is referring to Rule 167 and Chapter 42 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code
  • Name everyone receiving the offer of settlementState all the terms of settlement – who will receive what costs
  • State a deadline for accepting the offer (at least two weeks from the date of the offer)
  • Be delivered to everyone receiving the offer

What if a Rule 167 Settlement Offer is Refused?

Imagine a plaintiff sues an insurance company for injuries caused by the insurance company’s insured driver. Let’s say the plaintiff has $10,000 in medical bills and car repairs and sues for that amount.

Let’s say the defendant makes a formal Rule 167 Offer of Settlement for $6,000. Let’s also say the plaintiff decides that is enough because the actual injuries cost much more. The plaintiff refuses the Rule 167 Offer of Settlement.

If the Plaintiff Loses the Case After Refusing a Rule 167 Offer of Settlement

If the plaintiff loses the case, the plaintiff might have to pay the insurance company’s legal costs. This might include their attorneys fees.

If the Plaintiff Wins the Case After Refusing a Rule 167 Offer of Settlement

Here’s the tough part – even if the plaintiff wins the case, the plaintiff may have to pay the defendant’s litigation costs, unless the plaintiff receives much more money than the defendant offered.

This law is designed to encourage the plaintiff and defendant to settle. A plaintiff takes a risk by turning down such an offer.

The Plaintiff Can Also Make a Rule 167 Counteroffer

If a plaintiff sues, even if the plaintiff wins, the defendant usually does not have to pay the plaintiff’s litigation costs (like attorney and court fees.)

But if the defendant makes a Rule 167 Settlement Offer, then the plaintiff can also make a Rule 167 Settlement Counteroffer. This says to the defendant that the plaintiff will settle, but for more money than the defendant offered.

If the Defendant refuses a Rule 167 Settlement Counteroffer

If a defendant refuses a plaintiff’s Rule 167 Settlement Counteroffer, and the plaintiff wins the case for more money than the plaintiff counteroffered, the defendant usually has to pay the plaintiff’s litigation costs.

This is in addition to the amount that the plaintiff wins in the case. So there is a real risk for defendants making a Rule 167 Offer of Settlement.

The Specific Fee Arrangement You Have with Your Personal Injury Attorney

Some Attorneys Charge You Fees Even If You Lose Your Case
We Do Not

Most attorneys charge fees for their work. They also may have costs for investigators and expert witnessesSome lawyers charge fees and expenses to clients, even when they lose the case.

If you hire Justinian & Associates to represent you in an Texas personal injury lawsuit, even if you lose, you will not have to pay. That is because we work on contingency.

That means our fee is contingent (dependent) on whether we get you money for your damages. If we do not get you any money, then we do not get paid.

That is why you may want to hire an Texas personal injury law firm like Justinian & Associates that works on contingency. We only charge fees if you receive money for your injuries.