Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Legal News GavelAn east Texas car, truck, or motorcycle accident can happen any time of the night or day and under many different types of weather conditions. However, some kinds of weather tend to make an accident more likely. Snow, ice, rain, sleet, and fog can all interfere with a driver’s ability to control his or her vehicle and interact safely with those in other vehicles. When an accident does occur under such conditions, it is the job of the jury to determine which driver was at fault.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recently decided case (Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas; No. 01-17-00509-CV) was the representative of the estate of a man who died in a motor vehicle accident in late January 2014. The plaintiff’s suit alleged both negligence and gross negligence against the defendants, the driver and owner of the 18-wheeler with which the motorcycle of the plaintiff’s decedent collided. Several witnesses testified, offering conflicting testimony as to who was to blame for the crash. The one thing that everyone agreed upon was that there was a heavy fog on the morning of the accident, limiting visibility. Continue Reading

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Most east Texas motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligent or reckless conduct of an individual – a motorist, a truck driver, a motorcyclist, etc. However, some motor vehicle collisions may be caused by other entities, including the government (or government employees).

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pursue fair compensation when one of the defendants in an personal injury or wrongful death case is the government or a government employee. While it is not necessarily impossible in every case, it certainly does present some additional challenges beyond what would be necessary to prove liability against a more typical defendant.

Facts of the Case

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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

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In an east Texas motorcycle accident, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the accident. This requires proof of four elements:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. If any of these elements is missing, the plaintiff cannot recover a monetary judgment against the defendant.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (No. 04-16-00712-CV; Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas), the plaintiffs were the parents of a man who died after he lost control of his motorcycle in December 2013. During the accident, the decedent was thrown off his cycle and hit by three separate vehicles. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant motorcycle repair shop, alleging that the decedent lost control of the motorcycle because the defendant failed to properly repair the bike when the decedent took it in for repairs a few weeks before the accident.

Legal News GavelIn an east Texas car accident lawsuit, a jury has three options:  find that the defendant was totally at fault, decide that the plaintiff alone caused the accident, or determine that the parties shared in the blame for the accident.

When both the plaintiff and the defendant are found to have contributed to a crash, the plaintiff can only recover compensation if he or she is less than 50% at fault. In such cases, the plaintiff recovers damages in proportion to the defendant’s fault. Recently, a jury in a truck/motorcycle crash found that the plaintiff had suffered damages of $7 million, but, since the plaintiff himself was 75% at fault in the wreck, he received nothing.

Facts of the Case

Legal News GavelUsually, the defendant in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident case is the driver who was allegedly at fault in the crash. However, this is not always the case.

Sometimes, there are other parties – businesses, governmental entities, etc. – whose negligence may have caused or at least contributed to the cause of a particular accident. An example of such a situation was highlighted in a recent appellate court case.

Facts of the Case

Legal News GavelAs most people know, a common place to have an accident is in or near a construction zone. For this reason, it is wise to slow down and leave plenty of room in front of one’s vehicle when driving in such areas.

Rush hour traffic also can be a frequent occasion for an accident because there are more vehicles than usual on the road, many drivers are distracted, and a disproportionate number of automobiles tend to speed.

Recently, an east Texas court was called upon to determine whether a jury made a mistake with regard to assigning fault in a multi-vehicle accident that occurred near a construction zone in rush hour traffic.

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Legal News GavelUnder Texas tort law, a person who is hurt due to the negligence of another individual, a business, or a governmental entity has the option of filing a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.

In order to establish a prima facie case of negligence, the plaintiff must provide proof of four distinct elements:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Once this hurdle is met, other issues, including the amount of damages necessary to fully compensate the plaintiff for his or her injuries, must be decided. One of the most common issues that arise in Texas car accident cases is that of proportionate responsibility.

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Legal News GavelGenerally speaking, when someone is hurt due to the negligence of another party, the injured person has a right to pursue compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages via a negligence lawsuit. (If the accident victim is killed, his or her family may seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.)

When the party that allegedly caused an injury or death through its negligence was a governmental entity, however, it can be much more difficult for the injured person (or deceased person’s family) to receive fair compensation. This is because special laws protect the government from suit or limit its liability.

These laws are based on a holdover from the English common law. Under the sovereign immunity doctrine, “the king can do no wrong.” Although neither the United States nor the State of Texas has ever been under the authority of a king (at least after the signing of the Declaration of Independence), many of the provisions of sovereign immunity still hold true.

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Legal News GavelWhen a driver’s negligence or recklessness causes a vehicular accident that results in an injury or death, the at-fault driver can be held financially liable for damages resulting from the accident. In personal injury cases, these damages include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. In wrongful death cases, the deceased accident victim’s family may be able to recover funeral and burial expenses, lost companionship and society, and other damages.

In addition to a civil lawsuit sounding in negligence, there may also be a criminal prosecution if the at-fault driver’s conduct was more than simple negligence. Typically, the criminal case does not yield any financial recovery for the accident victim (although the court may order the defendant to pay reparations in some cases), but a finding of guilt in the criminal case can be of assistance in proving fault in the civil case.

The decision to bring criminal charges after a motor vehicle accident rests with the State, namely the police and the district attorney. The exact charges depend upon the facts of the accident.

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