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Auto Insurance Claims/Rules of Discovery in Texas Small Claims Court


In December 2012, my son was rear-ended by another driver while turning into a gas station parking lot.  The police report was less than helpful since it attributed cause to both drivers.  The officer's opinion was that my son made an "evasive lane change" and failed to travel 100 feet before changing lanes.  However, Texas statute does not require you to travel 100 feet before a lane change-you have to signal for 100 feet before making a right or left turn, which he did.  The other driver had a yield sign but stated he didn't see my son until he hit him.  I did have a local attorney do the free consult and they said the case was good, but it wouldn't be worth me paying them since there was no personal injury.  Since I did not have collision coverage, my insurance company cannot subrogate.

After the papers were served to the defendant, I began getting inundated with requests for discovery, disclosure and interrogatories.  I also got a phone message requesting contact with my son for them to take a deposition.  The was I read the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP), discovery is normally limited in Small Claims court to whatever the Judge believes is reasonable.  However, I call the Court Clerk and they suggest I call an attorney if I have questions about how I should respond to the discovery requests.  My opinion is that the defense attorney is abusing the discovery process in order to intimidate me hoping that I'll just go away.  The other driver's insurance company is one of the "non-standard" issuers and is well known as being "difficult" to deal with-never settle, always litigate, etc.

Can you provide any clarification on responsibilities to respond to discovery requests in small claims court in absence of guidance from the Judge?  I am working on at least a partial reply to show good faith, but will be citing TRCP Rule 192.4(a), in that much of what defense counsel requests in discovery is duplicative to information provided to the insurance company (his client), who should have already provided the basic of claim, etc.

Also have a question about filing.  The defense counsel letter to me also stated a copy was being filed with the Court.  However, in TRCP Rule 191.4(a), I read that discovery directed only at parties to the suit should not be filed unless directed by the court IAW Rule 191.4(c).

A day or two after receiving the documents, I did go ahead and send my own set of discovery requests loosely following the documents received and sent a copy to the court.  We'll see how that goes.

Thanks for any help!

Chapter 28 of the Texas Government code used to govern it until just recently (in May of 2013 the small claims court in Texas was abolished).  If the suit was filed prior to the change, clarification on which rules are being used needs to be obtained from the Judge.  The new rules for similar claims like small claims is now found in the "proposed" new rules from 500 - 509 of the TRCP (so new they're hard to find online).  It get's a little complicated, but indeed you are right about discovery.  It is limited to that which is considered appropriate by the Judge, and in fact there are now specific rules we can read.  Anyway, I am an expert in this field, and I'll consult with you for free.  Information is always free at Petty Details, LLC!  It's just too complicated for this thread.

You don't even have to respond to discovery without the order coming from the Judge and normally the Judge will set a pre-trial hearing to discuss such matters and feel the case out.  There are many ways to respond.  I cut my teeth as a litigation specialist at non-standard auto carriers, in Texas.  

I hope this helps

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Justin Petty


Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.


Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author ( All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

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State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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