What Costs Cannot Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Case?
When filing a civil lawsuit for a personal injury, statutory and case law determine which damages the injured party can ask the jury to award. We frequently see discussions of what damages can be recovered in a Texas personal injury case, but there’s not as much information about the costs that cannot be recovered in a personal injury case. These costs must be considered before filing since all non-recoverable expenses must ultimately be paid for from any eventual settlement or judgment. The unrecoverable costs may determine whether or not litigating the case is justified.
What Court Costs are Recoverable in a Personal Injury Case?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 131 indicates that court costs are recoverable, but includes the troublesome phrase, “except where otherwise prohibited.” Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Ann. § 31.007(b) clarifies the issue more by outlining some of the court costs a judge may include in any order/judgment: clerk fees, county service fees, masters, interpreters, and guardians ad litem appointed according to law, deposition costs and filing, court reporter, transcript and subpoena/citation fees, costs for rental of a television and video recorder and copies of videotapes, photographs, and service of citation. This list seems to include the vast majority of costs, but some of the costs left out can be significant.
Can Attorneys’ Fees Be Recovered in a TX Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Attorneys’ fees may be recoverable, but only in cases where a specific statute provides authorization. For example, a statute authorizes the award of attorney fees for specific contract claims and DTPA claims, but attorney’s fees are not recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit from the other side. Since the entire point of personal injury damages is to provide victims with compensation for harm done in the amount that is a fair representation of the damages they suffered, this presents a bit of a paradox. Awarding a personal injury victim with damages is an attempt to make them “whole.” But if the attorney’s fee is 40% of the damages awarded, the personal injury victim can theoretically not be made more than 60% whole by going to trial even if they win their personal injury lawsuit.
Can You Recover Expert Witness Fees in Texas Personal Injury Lawsuits?
No, you cannot recover expert witness fees in your Texas personal injury lawsuit. While one of the most significant expenses your case may incur is the cost of expert witness fees, they are not recoverable in a personal injury case in Texas. Additionally, the defense counsel may force a plaintiff to bring the testimony of a doctor to testify as a medical expert by filing a counter-affidavit challenging medical bills submitted to support their claim. Once the counter-affidavit is filed, failing to provide the expert witness testimony would result in the documentation being excluded from evidence, which is significant because a doctor’s fees for testifying can run thousands of dollars per hour.
What Other Expert Witness Fees Are Not Recoverable in a Texas Personal Injury Case?
- Accident Reconstructionists (for disputed liability claims)
- Economists (testifying about lost earning capacity)
- Safety Engineers
- Vocational Rehabilitation Experts
- Other Industry Experts
- What Other Costs Are Not Recoverable in Texas Personal Injury Cases?
- Video Editing Costs
- Many General Case Expenses (copying costs, office supplies, mailing/shipping costs, etc.)
- Travel Expenses (airfare, mileage, parking, etc. if the attorney must travel for depositions, hearings, etc.)
- Demonstrative Aid Costs (charts, diagrams, X-rays, photos, etc.)
If you are filing a Texas personal injury lawsuit and are worried about unrecoverable costs, don’t wait! Get in touch with Carrollton’s Hudson Law Firm immediately. We put Personal back into Personal Injury Law.