Texas: Can You Be Sued in Civil Court for Self Defense?

The short answer is, “Yes,” according to Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor. However, the Lone Star State supplies a lot of legal protection for people against such suits. Click the video below to watch the details of how civil lawsuits work in Texas, and watch how civil law applied to a Member in the related Home Invasion or Surprise Guest video.

 

Once you’ve used your firearm in self-defense, and navigated the criminal legal process, your journey might not be over.

You can be sued civilly by the bad guy you shot, or his surviving family. There’s a statute in Texas that governs whether or not you’ll be held liable for damages in such a suit. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 83.001 says that if you use force, or deadly force that’s justified in self-defense, defense of others, or defensive property, you’re immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results.

Note: This statute doesn’t prevent you from being sued, having to answer the lawsuit, and appear in court. It only prevents you from being held liable in money damages. So even if you were never charged with a crime, you had your case dismissed, or you were acquitted by a jury, you still have to answer that civil lawsuit and show the court that your use of deadly force was legally justified.

By the language of the Practice and Remedies Code this immunity from having to pay money damages is only good for personal injury and death. So even if you were justified in defending yourself, you can still be held liable for any property damage that your stray or over-penetrated bullet might have caused.

 

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