Texas Court Upholds Award of Damages for Multiple Categories in Car Accident Case

traffic-light-1316690Victims of car accidents often suffer serious, life-altering injuries. Texas law recognizes that these injuries can include physical pain as well as mental anguish. Plaintiffs who file a personal injury lawsuit against an allegedly negligent driver may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, as well as physical impairment and future medical expenses. But it is important to keep in mind that a plaintiff must provide the appropriate evidence to support his or her claims for damages. If you have been injured in a car accident, due to the negligence of another, you are strongly encouraged to consult with a local East Texas injury attorney who can assess your claim and potential entitlement to compensation.

Every personal injury case is highly dependent on the facts surrounding the accident. In a recent Texas case, Dabbs v. Calderon (Texas Ct. of App. 2015), the plaintiff – Vincent Calderon – brought an action against a driver, Johanna Dabbs, for negligently running a red light and crashing into the car in which he was a passenger. He claimed that Dabbs was not paying attention to the road at the time of the accident. Dabbs contended that she was unable to stop at the red light because her brakes failed.

According to the facts, immediately after the crash, the plaintiff was pinned inside the vehicle and suffered serious injuries to his leg. As a result, he underwent two different surgical procedures, attended physical therapy sessions, and some time later realized that any time he used his right leg, it became painful and swelled up. The plaintiff also suffered from ailments unrelated to the accident, and he was never able to drive or maintain employment other than manual labor. At the time of the accident, he was in the process of completing a course in becoming a barber, a career that he allegedly was no longer able to pursue due to the injury to his leg.

After a bench trial, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him damages for past and future medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement. Dabbs appealed the decision, arguing (among other things) that the evidence was both legally and factually insufficient to support the claim that she acted negligently. First, the court found there to be legally sufficient evidence that Dabbs was negligent in running through the red light. The court explained that there was no evidence that Dabbs experienced problems with the brakes before the accident, and there was no evidence of repairs after the accident. Furthermore, she failed to provide any expert evidence regarding her theory of brake failure. Dabbs also testified that she did not know the light’s color as she approached the intersection, and there was also testimony that a crying child in the car distracted her at the time of the crash.

Next, regarding the factual sufficiency of the evidence, the court reiterated some of the items mentioned immediately above:  the evidence of driver distraction and that Dabbs admittedly did not know the color of the light. Based on these findings (and other facts), the court concluded that the evidence was both legally and factually sufficient to support the trial court’s decision that Dabbs negligently caused the accident. The court further upheld the lower court’s various damages awards, finding there to be sufficient legal and factual evidence to support the ruling.

This case nicely illustrates the assorted categories of relief available to victims of car accidents under Texas law. An experienced, local injury attorney would be able to prepare a strong strategy for relief under the particular circumstances of your case. Earl Drott is an injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience representing parties in auto accident cases in the East Texas area. For a free consultation, call (903) 531-9300.

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