Texas Appeals Court Affirms Very Modest Verdict for Plaintiff Allegedly Injured by Dump Truck Driver

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

In a recent appellate case, the plaintiff was a woman who filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant trucking company, seeking compensation for injuries she sustained as a result of a collision allegedly caused by the defendant’s employee. The case was tried to a jury, which found that the plaintiff was 49% responsible for the crash, and the defendant’s employee was 51% responsible. The trial court granted a directed verdict to the defendant on the plaintiff’s gross negligence claim and entered judgment on the jury’s verdict, ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff a net $3,295, plus interest and court costs. The plaintiff appealed, alleging that the trial court made several errors that entitled her to a new trial, including certain evidentiary rulings and a directed verdict on gross negligence.

Decision of the Court

The Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed the trial court’s decision. When a party complains on appeal that a trial court erroneously excluded evidence, the party is entitled to relief from the complained-of judgment only if there was an abuse of discretion. According to the appellate court, the plaintiff did not present any argument or analysis in her brief on this issue and thus waived any error by the trial court judge regarding the evidence in question.

With regard to the plaintiff’s argument that the trial court erred in granting a directed verdict to the defendant on the issue of gross negligence, the appellate court pointed out that the plaintiff’s brief did not contain any citations to the record. Without proof that she had raised a material fact issue on her gross negligence claim, the appellate court found no reason to disturb the lower court’s ruling.

The appellate court also found that, even though the plaintiff claimed to have proven over $35,000 in past medical expenses, the jury’s modest verdict was not against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence. In so holding, the court noted that there were gaps in the plaintiff’s medical treatment, such that the jury could have determined that only the plaintiff’s initial medical expenses were truly necessitated by the accident.

Get Reliable Advice from a Seasoned East Texas Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a negligent driver, you need to talk to an attorney who can help you understand what you must prove in court in order to recover money damages from the opposing party. At Earl Drott Law, we regularly help auto accident victims throughout East Texas, including in Tyler and Smith County. Call us at 903-531-9300 to schedule a free case review. You should not delay in speaking to legal counsel about your case, since a failure to file your claim in a timely fashion can result in your case being barred by the statute of limitations.

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