motorcycle
In an east Texas motorcycle accident, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the accident. This requires proof of four elements:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. If any of these elements is missing, the plaintiff cannot recover a monetary judgment against the defendant.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (No. 04-16-00712-CV; Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas), the plaintiffs were the parents of a man who died after he lost control of his motorcycle in December 2013. During the accident, the decedent was thrown off his cycle and hit by three separate vehicles. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant motorcycle repair shop, alleging that the decedent lost control of the motorcycle because the defendant failed to properly repair the bike when the decedent took it in for repairs a few weeks before the accident.

jury box
When people outside the legal field think about an east Texas car accident case, they may envision a courtroom scene with the parties giving their respective testimonies to a jury while a black-robed judge looks down from the bench, glaring at counsel when an objection is sustained.

The truth is, most cases don’t make it to trial. Both plaintiffs and defendants prefer to settle the issues outside court if at all possible. Trials are time-consuming, expensive, and risky.

Facts of the Case

rearview mirror
The right to a trial by jury is fundamental to our legal system. In an east Texas car accident lawsuit, the possibility of a jury determining fault and assessing the amount of damages due to an injured person can be a strong encouragement for negligent drivers and their insurers to settle a case out of court.

Unfortunately, juries sometimes enter verdicts that are not at all what one party or the other expected. Although both the trial court and the appellate courts have some authority to set aside a verdict, juries are afforded a great deal of latitude in most situations.

Facts of the Case

car and map
Insurance is a good thing. In a Texas auto accident case, the settlement or judgment ultimately received by an injured person usually comes from the negligent driver’s liability insurance company. If the defendant did not have insurance (or didn’t have enough coverage to fully compensate the injured person for his or her losses), the injured person may seek compensation from his or her own uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier.

Usually, this involves a single insurance company – the one to which the plaintiff himself has paid premiums. Sometimes, however, there may be another possible source of monetary compensation. When multiple insurance companies are involved, a “simple” case can quickly become complicated.

Facts of the Case

helicopterEast Texas motor vehicle collisions can happen in a seemingly endless array of circumstances. The most common scenario is when one car strikes another, but accidents can also arise between cars and trucks, trucks and motorcycles, trains and buses, and so on. As one can imagine, the appellate courts have reviewed many different types of accidents over the years. What exactly does it take for the court of appeals to deem a particular accident “novel?”

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (No. 02-17-00013-CV; Court of Appeals Second District of Texas) decided by the appellate court, the plaintiff was the owner of a helicopter-transport service that provided medical transportation services between hospitals. The defendant was the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. According to the plaintiff’s formal complaint against the defendant, the defendant’s employee parked a 15-passenger van in a hospital parking lot adjacent to a ground level helipad on which the plaintiff’s flight crew was securing a patient and preparing for takeoff. As the employee was walking away, the van began to roll, crashing into the helicopter and causing $74,000 in damage. Although the van was in “park,” a post-accident inspection revealed that the shifter bushings and level were so badly worn that the vehicle would not fully go into the proper lock position.

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In a Texas truck accident or car crash, it is possible that the negligence of two or more individuals may be found to have contributed to the wreck. Under the principles of proportionate responsibility and comparative fault, the plaintiff may receive less than his or her total damages in such situations if part of the blame for the accident is assigned to him or her.

Likewise, the amount that a particular defendant must pay toward the plaintiff’s damages award can vary depending on the amount of negligence assigned to that defendant. Cases involving multiple defendants can further complicate matters.

Facts of the Case

ambulance
Payments for medical expenses rendered to a person injured in an east Texas car accident can be a complicated process involving multiple insurance companies, including health insurance carriers, liability insurers, and even the injured person’s own automobile accident insurance company.

It helps to have an experienced automobile accident attorney involved in the case as soon as possible to help make sure that bills are routed to the appropriate entities for payment. Still, disputes can arise, especially when the providers themselves do not go about their business in a timely or efficient manner.

Facts of the Case

cold beerA night out on the town can turn tragic in just a few seconds’ time. When someone is hurt in an east Texas drunk driving accident, the driver is the most obvious defendant if a lawsuit is to be filed by the person who was hurt (or, after a fatal accident, the family of the person who died in the crash). Sometimes, however, there are other potential defendants.

Of course, naming another person, a business, or a governmental entity in a drunk driving lawsuit and actually recovering a money judgment are two different things. Such claims are very fact-specific and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Facts of the Case

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