Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

A successful Texas car accident case has many components:  proof of liability of the negligent driver, credible evidence of the plaintiff’s physical injuries and other damages, and enough insurance coverage to fully compensate the plaintiff for his or her losses.

Unfortunately, the “insurance coverage” issue can be problematic. If the defendant does not have insurance, or in a case in which the defendant’s identity is not known (as in the case of a hit-and-run driver), the plaintiff may have to rely upon his or her own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Thus, it is important that an insurance policy be purchased at the appropriate time.

As is illustrated in the case below (concerning lack of coverage for a new car that was vandalized during an attempted theft), disputes can arise concerning coverage, and failing to obtain adequate coverage in a timely fashion can be a very costly mistake.

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Under Texas law (Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 169, to be exact), there is an “expedited actions process” through which parties to certain civil litigation may ask the court to fast-track their claims. East Texas car accident cases in which $100,000 or less is sought in damages are among the types of cases in which the fast-track route may be sought.

When a case is fast-tracked, the trial court puts limits on things like discovery, continuances, challenges to experts, and the time that the parties have for their presentation of evidence and arguments at trial. On a showing of good cause, a case that would otherwise be qualified for expedited action can be removed from the process by the trial court.

Facts of the Case

We have said it before, and we will probably say it again. When it comes to litigation related to an east Texas automobile accident, time is of the essence. This means that a person who is hurt in a car crash should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible so that a prompt investigation can be made and all filing deadlines can be met.

Timeliness is also very important when a case is “over” – that is, when the judge has entered an order adjudicating the parties’ respective rights in the case. While both sides to a judgment have a right to ask an appellate court to review the matter, this can only happen if a timely notice of appeal is filed.

Facts of the Case

An issue that sometimes comes up in an east Texas car accident case is whether or not a certain business or company is vicariously liable for a crash caused by someone who worked for that business or company.

The resolution of this issue can greatly affect the amount of monetary compensation received by the plaintiff in the case, since businesses and corporations typically have much higher liability insurance limits (or other resources that can be attached and liquidated by the injured party if he or she is successful at trial) than do private individuals.

Facts of the Case

There are many issues of timeliness in an east Texas car accident case. First, there is the statute of limitations, which governs the time the injured party has to file his or her claim in court. The statute of repose may also come into play if there is a product liability claim or medical malpractice claim that is part of the car accident case. The time for filing notice of a claim with the government may also be relevant if one of the defendants is a governmental entity.

Once suit is filed, there are many additional deadlines that must be met, including discovery deadlines and time limits on the filing of certain pre-trial motions. While there is not an absolute deadline that says when a trial must occur, the best course of action is to get to trial as soon as possible once the plaintiff has been released from medical care and discovery has been completed. Otherwise, it is possible that the defendant will file a motion to dismiss for want of prosecution, unnecessarily complicating matters and causing additional delay.

Facts of the Case

Everyone knows that the outcome of a divorce case is often based on the resolution of “he said, she said” factual disputes. East Texas car accident cases are similar in this regard, although it may be “he said, he said” or “she said, she said,” depending on the gender of the respective parties. In cases in which the plaintiff and the defendant blatantly disagree about what caused the accident – or in situations in which one of the parties has given multiple accounts of how the crash happened – the court (or the jury) has the difficult task of deciding who is telling the truth.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and the defendant in a recent case (No.  04-16-00739-CV; Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas) had very different theories as to how a two-vehicle accident involving the plaintiff and the defendant’s employee happened. According to the plaintiff, she was traveling along a four-lane highway when the defendant’s employee, whom the plaintiff alleged was acting within the course and scope of her employment with the defendant, pulled out in front of her, forcing the plaintiff to strike the employee’s vehicle. The defendant, on the other hand, maintained that the accident happened because its employee, who had ended her work duties for the day and was on her way home, was t-boned by the plaintiff, whom it alleged was speeding and distracted by her cellphone.

There are many issues that must be taken into consideration in an east Texas truck accident case. Who are the proper defendants? What are the claims against each? Which court has jurisdiction and venue over the defendants and/or the claims?

Sometimes, issues of venue (i.e., the appropriate court in which a given case should be heard) can complicate an otherwise straightforward case. This is especially true in cases involving corporate defendants.

Facts of the Case

Most east Texas truck accident cases are ultimately settled out of court, although this sometimes happens literally “on the steps of the courthouse.” When an agreement cannot be reached, however, it is a jury that usually decides the case.

When a jury trial is required in an automobile accident case, a party aggrieved by the jury’s findings has a right to appeal the trial court’s judgment entered thereon. While most jury verdicts are affirmed on appeal, the higher courts do sometimes rule that a reversible error occurred in the court below.

Facts of the Case

When alcohol is a factor in an east Texas car accident, the defendant in the case is usually an allegedly intoxicated driver whose negligence or recklessness caused or contributed to the crash. This is not always the case, however.

Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, an establishment that “over-serves” a person who is obviously intoxicated to a point at which he or she presents a danger to themselves or others can also be held liable in a lawsuit brought by a person harmed by the over-served individual. In some cases, the over-served person may also seek compensation under the Act.

Facts of the Case

Although east Texas motorcycle accident lawsuits in which a governmental entity is named as the defendant can be difficult to win, there are many situations in which such claims can be successful. Since the government enjoys immunity unless it is expressly waived by statute, a would-be plaintiff’s case must fit squarely within the statutory exceptions in order for him or her to prevail, however.

It should be noted that, even when a plaintiff does win a case against the government, there may be caps on damages. Still, in a one-vehicle accident in which the government’s negligence played a significant part, such a lawsuit may be the plaintiff’s only hope for assistance with medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Facts of the Case