Car accidents are often caused by driver negligence, in some form. All too often, these accidents could have been prevented, especially in cases where a driver fails to heed traffic safety laws. Fortunately, an injured victim may be entitled to recover compensation for certain pain and losses, depending on the facts of the case and the manner in which the claim is brought. As a general rule, in order to state a claim for a recovery in an auto accident case, the injured party must “plead” and “prove” certain elements. There are many important nuances in properly setting forth a successful claim. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to reach out to a local East Texas injury attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights to a recovery.
In a typical personal injury case, the plaintiff must show that: 1) the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, 2) the defendant breached that duty, 3) the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate causation of the resulting harm, and 4) the plaintiff experienced actual damages. “Proximate cause” can further be explained as an event that has a causal connection to the losses that the law recognizes. In a recent Texas car accident case, Williams v. Parker, the plaintiff sought damages for the injuries sustained, alleging negligence, negligence per se, and negligent entrustment. In a unique set of facts, Lawanna Keeth was driving and crossing into oncoming traffic when she struck a tractor-trailer head-on. Keeth was a diabetic and at the scene of the accident, her blood sugar was low. She later died at the hospital.
The tractor-trailer driver, Robert Williams, suffered injuries in the accident and brought this lawsuit against Keeth’s heir, Russell Parker. In response, Parker filed a combined traditional motion and a no-evidence motion for summary judgment. Under a no-evidence motion for summary judgment, the person seeking the relief claims that no evidence supports one or more of the essential elements of a claim. The trial court granted Parker’s motion.
Since the plaintiff argued three types of negligence, the court of appeals reviewed each one in order to determine whether the trial court erred in granting the summary judgment motion. As far as the general negligence claim is concerned, the court looked at Parker’s defense of “unforeseeable incapacity,” arguing that the evidence showed that Keeth “lost conscious control” over the vehicle due to her low blood sugar. But the court found that Parker misunderstood the defense and concluded that there was some evidence that Keeth did not lose consciousness before the accident, enough to raise a question of fact as to whether Parker conclusively established the defense. Therefore, the court ruled that the lower court erred in granting the traditional motion for summary judgment regarding the ordinary negligence cause of action.
For the next two claims, negligence per se and negligent entrustment, the court also found that the trial court erred in granting the summary judgment motion in favor of the defendant, concluding that there were questions of fact presented by the evidence that a juror should be entitled to consider and decide.
Some of these issues can become quite complicated if you are not fully aware of how the local Texas negligence laws can affect your auto accident case. An experienced injury attorney from the local area could help you achieve the best possible recovery under the circumstances. Earl Drott is an injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience representing parties with auto accident cases in the East Texas area. For a free consultation, call (903) 531-9300.
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