Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

car accidentGenerally speaking, when a motorist causes an east Texas car accident while he or she is “on the clock,” the motorist’s employer may be named as a defendant in a resulting lawsuit and potentially held vicariously liable to the injured party for his or her medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages. This benefits the injured person because, usually, an employer has “deeper pockets” (higher liability insurance limits and/or assets that could be liquidated to satisfy a judgment) than the employee.

Sometimes, an employer may be held liable for a worker’s “off-the-clock” actions, but these cases are rare. It all comes down to the specific facts of the case.

The Facts of the Case

In a recent case (Texas Court of Appeals, Third District; No. 03-18-00252-CV), the plaintiff was a man who was injured in an automobile accident allegedly caused by the negligence of the defendant’s employee. At the time of the accident, the defendant’s employee had left work and was on his way home. However, a co-worker was riding with him, and the employee decided to stop by a future work site so that the he could show the co-worker the location of the site. According to the employee, he did not intend to get out of the vehicle or speak to anyone onsite. The accident happened as the employee was attempting to turn into the driveway of the future work site. Continue Reading

vanishing timeTimeliness is extremely important in the litigation of an east Texas automobile accident case. Even if you are already of aware of the date that the statute of limitations runs in your particular case, there may be other requirements (with earlier deadlines) that require your attention – especially if a governmental entity or employee is likely to be a defendant.

Unfortunately, the failure to take timely legal action or comply with procedural requirements in a car wreck case is usually fatal to the plaintiff’s claim, even if he or she suffered permanent injuries and someone else was obviously at fault. (Even if the case is not ultimately dismissed, waiting too long to talk to a lawyer about your case can cause other issues, such as spoliation of evidence.)

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate case (Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District of Texas; No. 13-18-00090-CV), the plaintiffs were a mother and daughter who were injured in an automobile accident allegedly caused by a garbage truck driver employed by the defendant city. The accident happened on May 26, 2015. On May 18, 2016, the plaintiffs sent formal notice of their claim to the city. Continue Reading

East Texas car accident cases can sometimes involve issues beyond the typical “which driver was at fault” or “how much is the case worth” questions. For instance, sometimes the defendant in the case is not a driver at all, but instead a manufacturer of an automobile or component part. In these situations, jurisdiction and venue may be disputed, especially if the accident happened somewhere other than the county – or even the country – in which the lawsuit was filed.Legal News Gavel

Facts of the Case

In a case recently considered on appeal (No. 08-17-00119-CV; Court of Appeals for the Eighth District of Texas), the court of appeals described the facts as “a variation on a familiar theme” in law school textbooks. It analyzed whether the defendant, an out-of-state tire manufacturer that had allegedly targeted Texas as a marketplace and sold products extensively here, could be brought into a Texas court to answer a claim of product liability for an accident that occurred when the plaintiffs, all Texas residents, were traveling in Mexico.

Even in a “simple” east Texas car accident case in which one driver seeks monetary compensation from another motorist whose negligence obviously caused the crash, things can get complicated.Legal News Gavel

This is all the more so when two drivers blame each other for an automobile accident. In such a situation, it is very important that the jury be charged appropriately with regard to the assignment of fault, assuming that the evidence warrants such a charge.

Facts of the Case

Legal News GavelState law places an outer limit upon the time that victims of an east Texas car accident may assert their rights in a court of law. Referred to in legal parlance as the “statute of limitations,” this time period is absolute in most cases.

While there are a few, limited exceptions, the vast majority of cases filed outside of the applicable statute of limitations are dismissed by the courts. In such cases, the plaintiff receives nothing, even if he or she would otherwise have been entitled to substantial monetary compensation.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided case, the plaintiff was a woman who was allegedly involved in a “hit and run” motor vehicle accident caused by an uninsured motorist in January 2013. Displeased with the way her claim was handled, she filed a lawsuit against the defendant insurance company, with which she had collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. In her first suit, which was filed in March 2013, the plaintiff sought declaratory relief regarding her UM coverage and averred that the defendant had breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing. In 2015, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her suit. Continue Reading

Legal News GavelEven in situations in which liability for an east Texas car accident is clear, there are several factors which can potentially jeopardize the plaintiff’s case. For example, if a plaintiff has pre-existing medical conditions, this can be a factor considered by the jury in determining whether the physical problems about which the plaintiff complains were truly caused by, or at least aggravated by, the crash.

If the jury is of the opinion that the defendant is not to blame for the plaintiff’s current physical condition, the plaintiff will not be able to recovery money damages, even if the defendant admits to being at fault in the wreck.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas; No. 02-18-00121-CV), the plaintiff was a woman whose car was rear-ended by the defendant motorist as the plaintiff was traveling in heavy traffic on the interstate. The plaintiff sued the defendant motorist, as well as the plaintiff’s own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance carrier, seeking monetary compensation for past and future medical-care expenses, impairment, pain, and mental anguish. Continue Reading

Legal News GavelIn most east Texas car accident cases, there are several issues that must be decided – either at trial or through an agreement between the parties. These include fault, damages for personal injury or wrongful death, and/or compensation to the plaintiff for damage to his or her automobile.

Sometimes, some of these issues are settled prior to trial, with only a single issue being considered by the jury. Such was the case with regard to a 2014 accident in which fault was admitted but the parties were unable to agree on a particular issue.

Facts of the Case

In a case (Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas; No. 01-17-00826-CV) recently considered by a Texas appellate court, the parties agreed that the defendant motorist had caused a motor vehicle accident in Harris County, Texas. All issues other than the diminution in value of the plaintiff’s automobile due to the collision caused by the defendant were settled prior to trial. Continue Reading

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The litigation process in an east Texas car accident case is sometimes long and arduous. If a case goes all the way to trial, one or both parties may appeal the trial court’s judgment, asking the court of appeals to correct an error or grant a new trial. Sometimes, a party will attempt to circumvent the usual appellate process by filing what is known in the law as a request for a “writ of mandamus.” In essence, this is a plea to an appellate court to correct an alleged wrong made by a trial court before the usual judicial process has been completed.

Facts of the Case

A recent case decided by the Court of Appeals for the Twelfth District of Texas involved a dispute between a woman who was involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist and her underinsured motorist (UM) insurance carrier. In the trial court, the plaintiff filed suit against both the uninsured motorist (asserting a claim of negligence) and the UM carrier (claiming breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and civil conspiracy and asking for certification of a class and a declaratory judgment).

Legal News GavelWhen someone brings a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries suffered in an east Texas automobile accident, he or she may ask for reimbursement for past medical expenses, along with compensation for medical costs that may reasonably be expected to be incurred in the future. However, even in cases in which liability is clear, disputes may arise regarding the amount of money to which the plaintiff is entitled for his or her medical expenses, especially if the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident and is not joined in the lawsuit by his or her parents.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas; No. 01-16-00463-CV), the plaintiff was a young man who sought to recover compensation for injuries he suffered in a car accident that occurred when he was still a minor. The trial court directed a verdict on the plaintiff’s claim for past medical expenses, ruling that the defendant driver could not be held liable for the medical expenses incurred while the plaintiff was still a minor.

Legal News GavelIn most east Texas car accident cases, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, each of the four distinct elements of negligence:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Occasionally, however, a case arises in which a legal doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur applies.

Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase that means “the thing speaks for itself.” In the context of a negligence lawsuit, a res ipsa loquitur instruction allows the jury to infer negligence from the circumstances of the accident, thereby effectively lowering the burden of proof for the plaintiff.

Facts of the Case