Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

In most east Texas car accident cases, the fact that one party ran a red light and caused a collision is fairly convincing evidence that the defendant was negligent and should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. After all, the duty to stop at a red light is one of the basic rules of the road.

However, there are a few, very limited circumstances in which this factual scenario might not play out in the plaintiff’s favor. An example of a possible exception to the general rule might be when the allegedly negligent motorist was a public employee who was on the job at the time of the wreck – if certain conditions were present.

Of course, the simple fact that the defendant was a public employee does not in and of itself end the inquiry into whether the plaintiff will prevail in his or her negligence lawsuit. There are multiple factors that must be taken into consideration in determining whether the defendant is entitled to certain immunity protections under the facts presented.

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Each car accident case in Texas must stand on its own merits. The specific facts – as well as the particular parties – that are part of a given accident will inform the ultimate outcome of the case.

The more parties and claims that arise from a particular collision, the more complex the litigation is likely to be. Even in a simple crash involving only two individuals, it is wise to consult an attorney before speaking to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Speaking with counsel is even more important when multiple parties and/or multiple claims are involved. An experienced east Texas car accident attorney can help protect the victim’s legal rights as the case moves forward through the court system.

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Big rigs, semis, and 18-wheelers can cause devastating personal injuries and even wrongful death in a truck accident. It only takes a few seconds for a trucker’s inattention or negligent conduct to cause a crash that can forever devastate those who are in his or her path.

Fortunately, truckers and the trucking outfits that employ them usually have sizable liability insurance limits, such that the plaintiff’s medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages can be taken care of. Of course, just because such coverage exists does not automatically mean that the insurance company will be willing to pay out even a dime without a fight.

An experienced east Texas truck accident litigation attorney can help the accident victim and his or her family understand their legal rights and help them fight for what is right. It is important that those who have been hurt by a careless or reckless truck driver speak to counsel as soon as possible after an accident; you can bet the insurance company will have someone on the scene within a short time, but that person (or, more likely, that team of professionals) will only be looking out for the insurance company’s bottom line, not for what’s right for the injured person.

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If you have been hurt or lost a family member in an east Texas car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit seeking fair compensation. If you are unable to reach a settlement with the opposing party, your case may be tried by a jury, who will determine who was at fault and the amount of money damages to which you are entitled.

There are many rules of civil procedure that govern trial practice in Texas. An experienced trial lawyer can explain how those procedural rules may affect your case, should it proceed to trial.

Keep in mind that, although the majority of cases do settle prior to trial, it is important to assume that your case will be fully litigated – all the way to trial and maybe even through the appellate process – and prepare accordingly. Insurance companies can tell when an injured party isn’t prepared to go to trial, and they base their offer accordingly.

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Fully recovering from a serious car accident in East Texas or elsewhere can require the assistance of multiple professionals. Obviously, receiving proper medical attention should be first and foremost in an accident victim’s mind. However, there are other concerns that are likely to arise along the way.

How will the medical expenses get paid? What if the wreck leaves the accident victim unable to work either temporarily or indefinitely? What is the process for filing a claim against the responsible party?

To get answers to these and other important questions, it is important that someone who has been hurt in such a crash talk to an East Texas car accident attorney experienced in such matters as soon as possible. Issues such as vicarious liability (which can occur when someone causes an accident while they are on the job) can complicate what might otherwise seem like a straightforward case, so it is important that the person hurt in the collision have assertive legal representation as the case develops.

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When a Texas car accident lawsuit is tried to a jury, it is highly likely that one party or the other will be dissatisfied with the verdict. When this happens, one side or the other (or sometimes both) may seek a new trial.

While new trials are sometimes granted, this is the exception rather than the rule. In the event that the court does order a second trial, the party favored by the original verdict may seek review from a higher court.

Such was the scenario leading up to a recent appellate court case arising from an uninsured motorist claim against an insurance company. The jury ruled in the plaintiff’s favor but did not award the full damages sought by the plaintiff. The insurance company apparently feared an even higher verdict if the case was retried – so it sought mandamus relief from the court of appeals.

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A Texas truck accident can be devastating to an innocent motorist and his or her family. Medical bills can quickly mount, and finances can quickly spiral out of control with little or no money coming in due to the accident victim’s inability to work, either temporarily or permanently.

Fortunately, truck drivers and trucking companies can be held liable for the harm they cause. These types of cases must be pursued promptly, skillfully, and aggressively, however. The insurance companies and law firms that represent careless truckers and trucking outfits have their own interests at heart, not those of the people who are injured or the families of those that are killed by negligent truckers.

The good news is that most trucking companies do have a reasonable amount of insurance coverage (which, unfortunately is not always the case with regular drivers, who may only carry the minimum coverage required by the state). Still, it is likely that the plaintiff will have to fight hard for the recovery that he or she deserves because insurance companies try to keep payouts as low as possible, even when policy limits are high.

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Not all motor vehicle accidents happen on a street or highway. Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents can happen in parking lots, on other private property, and even on racetracks. Just as in other negligence cases, the burden in a Texas car accident case is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant breached a duty of care and that his or her injuries were the proximate result of this breach of duty. The defendant, in turn, may offer up one of more affirmative defenses aimed at preventing the plaintiff from prevailing at trial and/or to reduce any compensation ultimately awarded to the plaintiff in the case. A case of this nature was recently heard by the Texas Appellate Court, which ultimately found that a lower court had made a mistake in dismissing all of the driver’s claims against an allegedly negligence racetrack owner.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a driver who was seriously injured when he lost control of his vehicle while participating in activities at a drag strip. His vehicle struck a retaining wall, catching fire and causing him permanent and severe injuries. According to the plaintiff, the accident happened because the defendant drag strip owner had been negligent in not effectively cleaning up fluids spilled in an earlier accident, thus causing the track to be dangerously slick. The plaintiff suffered both orthopedic injuries and severe burns in the crash.

In response to the plaintiff’s claims that it was negligence and grossly negligent in failing to adequately clean the unsafe track conditions, provide appropriate fire-fighting equipment, provide appropriate medical personnel and equipment, and provide an adequately-designed safety retaining wall, the defendant filed a combined no-evidence and traditional summary judgment motion. The district court found in the defendant’s favor as to the combined motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Proving negligence in a car accident case requires several elements of proof. In addition to providing evidence regarding the duty of care owed by the defendant(s) to the plaintiff(s) and the defendant’s alleged breach of that duty, the plaintiff must also provide competent evidence of any physical injuries for which he or she seeks compensation. However, simply proving that the plaintiff suffered from a particular medical condition after the accident at issue is not, in and of itself, sufficient. Rather, the plaintiff must show that the injuries complained of by the plaintiff were proximately caused by the accident. Oftentimes, this requires the opinion of a medical expert witness – typically, a doctor – who has examined the plaintiff’s injuries, diagnosed his or her medical condition and future prognosis, and made a determination as to whether these injuries and conditions are causally linked to the accident.

Facts of the Case

A recent appellate case involved a multi-car accident in east Texas. The plaintiffs in the case were the driver and occupants of a car that was traveling along the interstate when the car behind them was struck by the defendant’s car. According to the defendant, the accident occurred when the vehicle in front of her “jolted into traffic” as it was entering the interstate, and this did not leave the defendant with enough time to stop before hitting the rear right side of the car that was traveling behind the plaintiffs’ car. After the initial collision, the defendant’s vehicle reportedly ricocheted into the back of the plaintiffs’ automobile. Although the defendant’s vehicle was totaled in the collision and the middle vehicle was substantially damaged, there was only minimal damage to the plaintiffs’ car. No airbags deployed in any of the vehicles that were involved in the wreck.

The case was tried to a judge in Harris County District Court, a jury trial having been waived by the parties. After hearing the testimony of the parties, the trial court judge awarded the plaintiffs past medical expenses of $145,460. The defendant filed a motion for a new trial, which the trial court judge denied. She appealed.

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Maintaining a cause of action against a governmental entity whose negligence led to a traffic accident can be difficult. Unlike other, private defendants, the State and the entities within it are entitled to certain protections that can make it harder for an injured person or deceased person’s family to prevail in a negligence lawsuit.

This is not to say, however, that such a suit cannot be won. Recently, a Texas jury returned a favorable verdict against a governmental entity whose alleged negligence resulted in the death of two people in a Texas car accident along a stretch of road in which several serious accidents had previously occurred. However, since the defendant was a governmental entity, the trial court was forced to reduce the award of damages to the accident victims and families. This is because Texas law places a cap on the amount of money damages that a governmental entity must pay when a court makes a finding of negligence against it.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were individuals who had been hurt or lost family members in a 2016 motor vehicle accident that occurred in Travis County, Texas. At the time of the crash, the driver and four passengers were allegedly traveling along a two-mile stretch of road in which some 117 crashes had occurred between 2010 and 2016. The driver’s truck hydroplaned and the crash, killing two of the passengers and injuring the driver and remaining passengers. The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant state department of transportation, alleging that the road condition was “so worn and slick” that it posed an unreasonable risk of harm. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendant had actual knowledge of the highways dangerous condition insomuch as there had been at least four fatalities in the immediate vicinity of the crash in recent years and that the defendant had, in spite of this knowledge, failed to use ordinary care to make the premises safe.

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