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

oil pump jack
East Texas truck accidents can be very difficult. Truckers and trucking companies fight liability as fiercely as possible in most cases.

Sometimes, there may be others who could potentially be liable in a truck accident case – for example, a party who failed to properly secure a load that later spilled and caused an accident – but these defendants, too, pull out every possible defense to avoid liability. Fortunately, these tactics are not always successful.

Facts of the Case

stop signIf someone runs a stop sign and causes a wreck, shouldn’t they be 100% responsible for any and all damages suffered by an innocent person in the other vehicle? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as simple as it might seem.

In a recent Texas car accident case, several issues arose that stood in the way of an injured man receiving full compensation for injuries suffered in a car wreck that the defendant admitted happened after he ran a stop sign.

Facts of the Case

roadway at sunsetIn an east Texas car accident lawsuit, a jury has three options:  find that the defendant was totally at fault, decide that the plaintiff alone caused the accident, or determine that the parties shared in the blame for the accident.

When both the plaintiff and the defendant are found to have contributed to a crash, the plaintiff can only recover compensation if he or she is less than 50% at fault. In such cases, the plaintiff recovers damages in proportion to the defendant’s fault. Recently, a jury in a truck/motorcycle crash found that the plaintiff had suffered damages of $7 million, but, since the plaintiff himself was 75% at fault in the wreck, he received nothing.

Facts of the Case

serving alcohol

Many states, including Texas, have so-called “Dram Shop Act” laws that can be used to hold a business (or sometimes even a private host) liable for serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is obviously intoxicated.

Texas’ version of this law is codified at Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 2.02. Under this statute, a person seeking to recover compensation on a Dram Shop claim must prove that the person to whom the alcoholic beverages were served was “obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others.” The claimant must also prove that the intoxication of the person who was over-served was the proximate cause of the damages he or she suffered.

Typically, the plaintiff in an east Texas car accident case filed under the Dram Shop Act is a person who is a victim of a drunk driving accident. A recent case presented an exception to this general rule.

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yellow semiIn an east Texas auto accident case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. Unless he or she can convince the jury, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant was negligent, he or she cannot recover money damages.

The trial court judge is tasked with determining which evidence proffered by the respective parties is admissible. Disputes often arise concerning specific pieces of evidence, including whether or not a certain witness should be allowed to testify or whether a particular document should be allowed into evidence to be considered by the jury.

A party who is aggrieved by the trial court’s decision has the right to an appeal – usually, after the case has been tried and a verdict entered.