fire truckWhen an east Texas car accident case is tried in front of a jury, many things can happen. The jury may be sympathetic to the injured party and award him or her a generous amount of compensatory damages. Alternatively, the jury may decide that the plaintiff was at fault in the accident and enter a defense verdict. Another thing that can happen – although it is less common – is for the jury to agree that the defendant caused the accident but award absolutely no monetary compensation to the plaintiff.

Facts of the Case

In a recent decision (Case No. 08-15-00067-CV; Court of Appeals for the Eighth District of Texas), the plaintiff was a man whose car was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant. At the time of the crash, the defendant was attempting to move over into the plaintiff’s lane in order to avoid a firetruck that he believed was about to turn onto the road. Both vehicles were damaged during the accident but were still driveable. The defendant admitted that he was at fault in the accident, and his insurance company paid the plaintiff for the damage to his vehicle.

deposition of adjuster
When someone has been involved in an east Texas car accident, they often assume that their own insurance company will “take care of them” if the person who caused the accident was uninsured or did not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate those injured in the crash.

While it is true that those who pay for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage have a contractual right to be paid for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering up to the limits of such coverage, payment of these funds is not automatic and can be a surprisingly protracted process, especially for those who think they and their insurance company are on the “same side” when it comes to UM/UIM claims. Actually, the opposite is true.

Facts of the Case

stop lightEast Texas car accident cases arising from collisions at red lights, four-way stops, and other intersections are often highly contentious. Often, the two drivers each insist that they each had the right of way, and it is up to the jury to resolve issues of credibility.

Other issues can arise in such cases as well, including disputes concerning the admissibility of certain evidence, such as out-of-court statements. If a party is dissatisfied with the trial court’s ruling on a particular issue, the burden is on him or her to convince the appellate court that an error was made that should result in a reversal of the judgment ultimately entered by the trial court.

Facts of the Case

school bus
When someone dies in an accident, those left behind are left with many lingering thoughts and feelings about how and why their loved one passed away. Why did this happen? How will we pay for our loved one’s medical bills and funeral costs?

In some situations, an East Texas wrongful death action may lie against the responsible party. Such cases should be pursued as soon as possible, given that evidence can quickly disappear, and there are deadlines that must be followed. In cases involving governmental entities, there may also be other requirements, such as the giving of notice of a claim.

Facts of the Case

car keysWhen someone’s negligence (or recklessness) causes an east Texas automobile accident, for which types of injuries or damages may the victim be compensated? Will the case be settled out of court, or will it be necessary to try the issues to a jury?

While each case stands on its own facts, typical damages in a car wreck case include property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Very often, the property damage aspect of a claim gets settled out of court fairly quickly, while the personal injury portion of the claim takes much longer to settle or may even go to trial. A recently decided appellate court case represents an exception to that general rule.

Facts of the Case

trainIt is not unusual for a Texas car accident case to be resolved prior to trial. The most commonly recognized way that this can happen through a settlement, in which the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain sum of money in exchange for the dismissal of the case.

It can also happen on a motion for summary judgment, a procedure through which the trial court finds in favor of one party or the other “as a matter of law,” without a jury’s involvement. Often, cases that end in summary judgment are the subject of an appeal.

Facts of the Case

city traffic
Part of being a responsible driver is obtaining a policy of liability insurance that will cover personal injuries or wrongful deaths caused by the driver’s negligence. In most east Texas car accident lawsuits, the “real” defendant is the negligent driver’s insurance company (although it may not seem so from the pleadings or the proceedings in front of the jury at trial).

Unfortunately, there can be other requirements in addition to just taking out an appropriate policy and paying one’s premiums on time. Failing to comply with these provisions can cause big problems – not only for the insured individual but also for those hurt by his or her careless actions behind the wheel.

Facts of the Case

dump truckMost Texas car accident cases settle out of court, but some do go to trial. Usually, this is because the parties have vastly different opinions as to issues such as liability, comparative fault, and damages.

Sometimes, the jury’s verdict will reflect a middle ground between the parties’ respective positions, but it is also possible that the defendant will have to pay a much larger judgment than anticipated or that the plaintiff will receive only a very modest judgment despite allegations of serious injuries and large medical expenses.

Facts of the Case

money
In an east Texas car accident lawsuit, the parties named in the complaint are typically the injured person (the plaintiff) and the driver whose negligence allegedly caused the crash (the defendant).

However, it is not usually the actual defendant who writes the check at the end of the case – that would be an insurance company. Of course, you probably wouldn’t know this if you just happened to walk into a courtroom during the trial of a car wreck case. The insurance companies work very hard to keep this information away from the jury. They also put in a substantial amount of time doing everything they can to limit their liability in a particular case. In a recent case, this even included filing a separate lawsuit asking the court to declare that they only owed the injured person a portion of the total amount of money a jury awarded him or her.

Facts of the Case

police carPolice are charged with the duty of serving and protecting the public, and generally they do a good job of this. However, police officers are human, and they, too, can make mistakes – including getting distracted and running into another vehicle.

What happens when a police officer causes a Texas car accident – not while pursuing a suspect but just in the ordinary course of making his rounds about town? Should the city for which he works be held liable for the injuries he causes? Under Texas law, it may be possible for a person injured in such a situation to be awarded money damages in compensation for their injuries, but there are several very specific procedural requirements that must be followed – including the giving of notice.

Facts of the Case