East Texas truck wreck cases often involve many legal theories, especially in cases resulting in wrongful death. Some of these theories may be “direct negligence” theories of liability against the trucking outfit that owned the big rig involved in the crash (such as negligent hiring, negligent training, etc.) Sometimes, there may also be indirect negligence claims, such as an allegation of respondeat superior for the careless driving of the trucker who caused the accident.

Of course, the exact claims and legal theories vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances of a particular crash. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a negligent trucker or trucking outfit, an attorney experienced in these types of cases can help you get started on the appropriate claim(s) in your situation.

It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after a truck crash because such cases tend to be complex, requiring a thorough investigation of the crash and prompt legal action. Failure to speak to counsel early on can give the trucking outfit’s insurance company a considerable advantage as the case develops, so please act quickly if you find your or someone in your family has been involved in a truck accident.

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Fully recovering from a serious car accident in East Texas or elsewhere can require the assistance of multiple professionals. Obviously, receiving proper medical attention should be first and foremost in an accident victim’s mind. However, there are other concerns that are likely to arise along the way.

How will the medical expenses get paid? What if the wreck leaves the accident victim unable to work either temporarily or indefinitely? What is the process for filing a claim against the responsible party?

To get answers to these and other important questions, it is important that someone who has been hurt in such a crash talk to an East Texas car accident attorney experienced in such matters as soon as possible. Issues such as vicarious liability (which can occur when someone causes an accident while they are on the job) can complicate what might otherwise seem like a straightforward case, so it is important that the person hurt in the collision have assertive legal representation as the case develops.

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When a Texas car accident lawsuit is tried to a jury, it is highly likely that one party or the other will be dissatisfied with the verdict. When this happens, one side or the other (or sometimes both) may seek a new trial.

While new trials are sometimes granted, this is the exception rather than the rule. In the event that the court does order a second trial, the party favored by the original verdict may seek review from a higher court.

Such was the scenario leading up to a recent appellate court case arising from an uninsured motorist claim against an insurance company. The jury ruled in the plaintiff’s favor but did not award the full damages sought by the plaintiff. The insurance company apparently feared an even higher verdict if the case was retried – so it sought mandamus relief from the court of appeals.

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A Texas truck accident can be devastating to an innocent motorist and his or her family. Medical bills can quickly mount, and finances can quickly spiral out of control with little or no money coming in due to the accident victim’s inability to work, either temporarily or permanently.

Fortunately, truck drivers and trucking companies can be held liable for the harm they cause. These types of cases must be pursued promptly, skillfully, and aggressively, however. The insurance companies and law firms that represent careless truckers and trucking outfits have their own interests at heart, not those of the people who are injured or the families of those that are killed by negligent truckers.

The good news is that most trucking companies do have a reasonable amount of insurance coverage (which, unfortunately is not always the case with regular drivers, who may only carry the minimum coverage required by the state). Still, it is likely that the plaintiff will have to fight hard for the recovery that he or she deserves because insurance companies try to keep payouts as low as possible, even when policy limits are high.

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In a Texas truck accident case, it is not unusual for one or both parties to send certain requests for information and/or documentation to the other. This process is known as “discovery” and is intended to assist the parties in preparing for trial and, if possible, facilitating a settlement.

Sometimes, disputes arise during discovery, with one party or the other objecting to requests propounded by their opponent. Some grounds for objection include over-breadth of the request(s) or irrelevance of the information sought. Certain privileges may also come into play (such as the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine). These disputes are usually settled by the trial court judge, but sometimes there is involvement from the court of appeals, as well.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the original plaintiffs were individuals who had been involved in a multi-car accident and/or had relatives who had perished in the accident. They filed suit in the 4th District Court of Rusk County, Texas, asserting claims against the truck driver whose negligence allegedly caused the crash and the delivery company that employed him. During the course of litigation, the plaintiffs sent the defendants interrogatories and requests for production. Included in these were a) requests for information concerning the identity of all commercial truck drivers dispatched out of the same facility as the defendant truck driver from 2006 to 2017 and the time in which those drivers were employed, and b) copies of documentation of all alcohol, drug, and controlled substance tests of the commercial truck drivers identified in the previous request.

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Not all motor vehicle accidents happen on a street or highway. Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents can happen in parking lots, on other private property, and even on racetracks. Just as in other negligence cases, the burden in a Texas car accident case is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant breached a duty of care and that his or her injuries were the proximate result of this breach of duty. The defendant, in turn, may offer up one of more affirmative defenses aimed at preventing the plaintiff from prevailing at trial and/or to reduce any compensation ultimately awarded to the plaintiff in the case. A case of this nature was recently heard by the Texas Appellate Court, which ultimately found that a lower court had made a mistake in dismissing all of the driver’s claims against an allegedly negligence racetrack owner.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a driver who was seriously injured when he lost control of his vehicle while participating in activities at a drag strip. His vehicle struck a retaining wall, catching fire and causing him permanent and severe injuries. According to the plaintiff, the accident happened because the defendant drag strip owner had been negligent in not effectively cleaning up fluids spilled in an earlier accident, thus causing the track to be dangerously slick. The plaintiff suffered both orthopedic injuries and severe burns in the crash.

In response to the plaintiff’s claims that it was negligence and grossly negligent in failing to adequately clean the unsafe track conditions, provide appropriate fire-fighting equipment, provide appropriate medical personnel and equipment, and provide an adequately-designed safety retaining wall, the defendant filed a combined no-evidence and traditional summary judgment motion. The district court found in the defendant’s favor as to the combined motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Proving negligence in a car accident case requires several elements of proof. In addition to providing evidence regarding the duty of care owed by the defendant(s) to the plaintiff(s) and the defendant’s alleged breach of that duty, the plaintiff must also provide competent evidence of any physical injuries for which he or she seeks compensation. However, simply proving that the plaintiff suffered from a particular medical condition after the accident at issue is not, in and of itself, sufficient. Rather, the plaintiff must show that the injuries complained of by the plaintiff were proximately caused by the accident. Oftentimes, this requires the opinion of a medical expert witness – typically, a doctor – who has examined the plaintiff’s injuries, diagnosed his or her medical condition and future prognosis, and made a determination as to whether these injuries and conditions are causally linked to the accident.

Facts of the Case

A recent appellate case involved a multi-car accident in east Texas. The plaintiffs in the case were the driver and occupants of a car that was traveling along the interstate when the car behind them was struck by the defendant’s car. According to the defendant, the accident occurred when the vehicle in front of her “jolted into traffic” as it was entering the interstate, and this did not leave the defendant with enough time to stop before hitting the rear right side of the car that was traveling behind the plaintiffs’ car. After the initial collision, the defendant’s vehicle reportedly ricocheted into the back of the plaintiffs’ automobile. Although the defendant’s vehicle was totaled in the collision and the middle vehicle was substantially damaged, there was only minimal damage to the plaintiffs’ car. No airbags deployed in any of the vehicles that were involved in the wreck.

The case was tried to a judge in Harris County District Court, a jury trial having been waived by the parties. After hearing the testimony of the parties, the trial court judge awarded the plaintiffs past medical expenses of $145,460. The defendant filed a motion for a new trial, which the trial court judge denied. She appealed.

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Maintaining a cause of action against a governmental entity whose negligence led to a traffic accident can be difficult. Unlike other, private defendants, the State and the entities within it are entitled to certain protections that can make it harder for an injured person or deceased person’s family to prevail in a negligence lawsuit.

This is not to say, however, that such a suit cannot be won. Recently, a Texas jury returned a favorable verdict against a governmental entity whose alleged negligence resulted in the death of two people in a Texas car accident along a stretch of road in which several serious accidents had previously occurred. However, since the defendant was a governmental entity, the trial court was forced to reduce the award of damages to the accident victims and families. This is because Texas law places a cap on the amount of money damages that a governmental entity must pay when a court makes a finding of negligence against it.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were individuals who had been hurt or lost family members in a 2016 motor vehicle accident that occurred in Travis County, Texas. At the time of the crash, the driver and four passengers were allegedly traveling along a two-mile stretch of road in which some 117 crashes had occurred between 2010 and 2016. The driver’s truck hydroplaned and the crash, killing two of the passengers and injuring the driver and remaining passengers. The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant state department of transportation, alleging that the road condition was “so worn and slick” that it posed an unreasonable risk of harm. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendant had actual knowledge of the highways dangerous condition insomuch as there had been at least four fatalities in the immediate vicinity of the crash in recent years and that the defendant had, in spite of this knowledge, failed to use ordinary care to make the premises safe.

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When a person is injured or killed during an automobile accident, the most obvious form of legal redress is a negligence action against the at-fault driver. However, an east Texas auto accident lawsuit may not be the only remedy in some cases – or it may not be a remedy at all.

Take, for example, the case of a person who is hurt or killed while on the job. In such a situation, the injured individual (or his or her family, if it is a fatal accident) may also opt to file a workers’ compensation claim. If a third party claim against a negligent motorist is ultimately successful, the workers’ compensation insurer may be entitled to subrogation for monies paid out, but, in the meantime, the family may receive disability or death benefits that would otherwise be unavailable.

A workers’ compensation claim might be the only option in some such cases, however, especially if the accident was a single vehicle accident or if the employee was clearly at fault in the wreck (and thus unable to bring a third-party claim against another driver). Continue Reading

A Texas car accident case is usually pursued under a legal theory known as “negligence.” To prove negligence, a plaintiff must establish four basic elements: duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation.

In the legal sense, a “duty” arises when one person has a responsibility to another to act in particular manner, usually established by law. For example, drivers are under a duty to keep a proper lookout for one another, so as to avoid an accident if possible. When someone fails in his or her duty, a “breach” is said to occur.

If harm comes to the person to whom the duty was owed, that person has “damages.” Damages include things like pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages caused by personal injury. If the victim’s damages were proximately caused by the defendant’s breach of duty, the defendant can be held liable for payment of monetary compensation to the plaintiff for his or her damages.

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