Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

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

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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

stop lightEast Texas car accident cases arising from collisions at red lights, four-way stops, and other intersections are often highly contentious. Often, the two drivers each insist that they each had the right of way, and it is up to the jury to resolve issues of credibility.

Other issues can arise in such cases as well, including disputes concerning the admissibility of certain evidence, such as out-of-court statements. If a party is dissatisfied with the trial court’s ruling on a particular issue, the burden is on him or her to convince the appellate court that an error was made that should result in a reversal of the judgment ultimately entered by the trial court.

Facts of the Case

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When someone dies in an accident, those left behind are left with many lingering thoughts and feelings about how and why their loved one passed away. Why did this happen? How will we pay for our loved one’s medical bills and funeral costs?

In some situations, an East Texas wrongful death action may lie against the responsible party. Such cases should be pursued as soon as possible, given that evidence can quickly disappear, and there are deadlines that must be followed. In cases involving governmental entities, there may also be other requirements, such as the giving of notice of a claim.

Facts of the Case

car keysWhen someone’s negligence (or recklessness) causes an east Texas automobile accident, for which types of injuries or damages may the victim be compensated? Will the case be settled out of court, or will it be necessary to try the issues to a jury?

While each case stands on its own facts, typical damages in a car wreck case include property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Very often, the property damage aspect of a claim gets settled out of court fairly quickly, while the personal injury portion of the claim takes much longer to settle or may even go to trial. A recently decided appellate court case represents an exception to that general rule.

Facts of the Case

trainIt is not unusual for a Texas car accident case to be resolved prior to trial. The most commonly recognized way that this can happen through a settlement, in which the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain sum of money in exchange for the dismissal of the case.

It can also happen on a motion for summary judgment, a procedure through which the trial court finds in favor of one party or the other “as a matter of law,” without a jury’s involvement. Often, cases that end in summary judgment are the subject of an appeal.

Facts of the Case