Herrman & Johnson explain to the viewers what statute of limitations really is. Herrman also reminds viewers about our scholarship opportunity, the firms community involvement, and stresses the importance of voting. If you liked this video, please like and subscribe to our channel.
Gregory: All right well, Hi everybody welcome again to another FAQ Friday, today we have a new attorney works for Herrman & Herrman; Jeff Johnson, Jeff you want to introduce yourself?
Jeff: Hello, my name is Jeff Johnson, I started working for Mr. Herrman about a month ago, born and raised in Indiana, graduated from MW Kellogg as a chemical engineer, worked in Houston in the 90s, got my Master's there and then moved back to Indiana to become a lawyer. Had my own practice for 14 years worked up to 16 and then moved down here almost three years ago.
Gregory: Alright alright, well today's question is about statute of limitations, I know people are hearing a lot about it, you know like I think the latest thing in the news is apparently Trump cheated a bunch on his taxes but they said he's not gonna go to jail because it all happened like over 10 years ago so he just gets off scot-free, he didn't go to jail, we have statute of limitations in personal injury law and tort law is that correct?
Jeff: Yes we do.
Gregory: And in Texas is generally two years, right?
Jeff: That's correct
Gregory: Now can you explain to people how that works that statute of limitations?
Jeff: Yes, the statute of limitations, there are various kinds, for instance, criminal cases are certain ones that maybe five years ten years, some don't have any statute limitations based upon the severity on that type of crime. In personal injury law it's two years, the difference is and that's usually in most states, in the state I came from, he just had to file this lawsuit within two years of when the incident actually happened. So if you're in a wreck today all you had you has to file a lawsuit by October 12th of 2020. In Texas not only you have to have a file, but you actually have to have the person or the defendant or defendant serve in those two years.
Gregory: What if you don't get them to serve?
Jeff: Yeah, usually that's a predicament that you really don't want to be in, if you don't have it filed or you haven't talked to an attorney and let's say you go talk to the attorney 3 years after the incident, you are waived out, if you've done it and there are two years of statute of limitations has passed, that there's an attempt to still try to get the person served, then you have to file due diligence and stuff at the court. It'll be up to the court to decide whether or not you can still be allowed to pursue it or not.
Gregory: Okay so let's say you file suit on the last day of the statute, as long as you use due diligence after that, you covered the lawsuit served on the person and the court rules. It looks like you've used due diligence as long as you do that then everything will be okay.
Jeff: Yeah, just to be safe I would get that lawsuit filed well before that make sure the person is served because if not, you don't know if you go through the discovery process, you might find there are other people liable you could have found that out beforehand and had everybody served.
Gregory: I know there any exceptions to that.
Jeff: There's a few, you can go ahead.
Gregory: All right well one of is if the person dies I know that the defendant dies then you get the court to get an estate set up and then you can serve the estate, the second is if the defendant was out of the state for any time during those two years and you can prove it, so let's say like I know we had a case where the subcontractor came down here, did a job, my client got injured and then he moved back to you know, wherever like Ohio and we literally just couldn't find the guy, but we could prove he was out of the state for a year and a half so the statute was tolled for a year and a half while he wasn't in the state of Texas.
Jeff: I also have one where the defendant was in the military overseas and so we were able to know where he was exactly to get a tolling because of that kind of statute, but he's in the military, in the military has a lot of exceptions to the rule because they're serving overseas.
Gregory: Right okay all right and then the other question was is: Can I pursue a claim for damages even though I was partly at fault?
Jeff: Yes in fact when even if you believe that you're 100% or the defendants is 100% at fault, it's very common for defense to try to claim comparative negligence, as long as it's proven that the defendant is 51% liable you can still recover damages, some level of damages so just because you may have been partially at fault does not mean it will prevent you from being able to file suit and getting damages, it just allows the defense an opportunity to claim comparative and then they have to prove comparative fault, so I mean in every case I've had that's always brought up by a defense attorney no matter how obvious it might look to somebody.
Gregory: And it doesn't have to be 51 or 49 51 percent right because they have things like joint several liabilities.
Jeff: Yes, I'm just saying just the run in the mill
Gregory: If you're just sort of one person
Jeff: Right, yeah that's what I was talking about because a lot of these cases are either slip and fall or motor vehicle accidents most of them, and that's where it really boils down to, you know, who's at fault, who's most at fault.
Gregory: So, with joining several liabilities that's what like say, multiple defendants and depending on what level of culpability they are, as long as the plaintiff is still under the 50 percent, multiple people can be held responsible and one person one defendant can be held responsible for all the damages if they're the right kind of defendant.
Jeff: Yeah when I encountered that, usually it's what I would call later defendants, it just depends if you have this one and then they are doing something or somebody else that's under somebody else or you have where it could have been, either one of them were working together or something like that, we have multiple defendants and you have to be certain who's more liable.