Articles Posted in Negligence

serving alcohol

Many states, including Texas, have so-called “Dram Shop Act” laws that can be used to hold a business (or sometimes even a private host) liable for serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is obviously intoxicated.

Texas’ version of this law is codified at Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 2.02. Under this statute, a person seeking to recover compensation on a Dram Shop claim must prove that the person to whom the alcoholic beverages were served was “obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others.” The claimant must also prove that the intoxication of the person who was over-served was the proximate cause of the damages he or she suffered.

Typically, the plaintiff in an east Texas car accident case filed under the Dram Shop Act is a person who is a victim of a drunk driving accident. A recent case presented an exception to this general rule.

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yellow semiIn an east Texas auto accident case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. Unless he or she can convince the jury, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant was negligent, he or she cannot recover money damages.

The trial court judge is tasked with determining which evidence proffered by the respective parties is admissible. Disputes often arise concerning specific pieces of evidence, including whether or not a certain witness should be allowed to testify or whether a particular document should be allowed into evidence to be considered by the jury.

A party who is aggrieved by the trial court’s decision has the right to an appeal – usually, after the case has been tried and a verdict entered.

woman's shouldersIn an East Texas personal injury case arising from a motor vehicle accident, there are sometimes multiple witnesses who testify at trial regarding how the accident happened and the effects that it had on the plaintiff’s physical health and well-being.

These witnesses may include not only the plaintiff and the defendant but also sometimes experts such as medical providers and even accident reconstructionists. When there is a conflict in this evidence, it is up to the jury to determine the relative credibility of the witnesses. (However, one or both parties may contest the trial court’s admissibility of certain testimony on appeal.)

Facts of the Case

traffic lightUsually, 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

big rig
When someone is hurt due to the negligence of a trucker or trucking company, the burden is on the injured person to prove each element of his or her Texas truck accident case by a preponderance of the evidence. This includes proof of not only the defendant’s duty to the plaintiff and the breach thereof but also the plaintiff’s damages, such as medical expenses (past and future), pain and suffering, and lost income.

Usually, proving medical expenses and lost future earnings requires the testimony of an expert witness. Without this important testimony, the plaintiff’s case can be substantially undervalued.

Facts of the Case

interstate traffic

In civil lawsuits, there is typically a limitations period after which a plaintiff’s case will be dismissed regardless of its merits. For car accident cases in which the plaintiff seeks to recover monetary compensation for injuries or property damage suffered due to another party’s alleged negligence, the statute of limitations is generally two years in Texas.

There are a few, limited exceptions to this general rule, but such cases are few and far between. (This is one of the many reasons that it is so important to contact a knowledgeable accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash.)

In order for the plaintiff to qualify under an exception or to have his or her filing deadline effectually tolled on a certain ground, he or she has the burden of proving the grounds for the exception. Unfortunately, this can be extremely difficult.

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commuter trainA successful personal injury lawsuit requires many components. First, the plaintiff must “prove his case” against the defendant by establishing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, that the duty was breached, that the plaintiff suffered damages, and that there was proximate cause between the breach of duty and the damages claimed by the plaintiff.

Once these elements are proven, the jury decides the amount of money due the plaintiff, and the trial court enters a judgment in the plaintiff’s favor. At that point, the defendant has the option of paying the judgment or appealing the case to a higher court. In most cases, it is the defendant’s insurance company that makes this decision (and many others). This is because a policy of insurance is a contract under which both the insured driver and the company have certain rights and responsibilities.

A recent case dealt with the consequences of a driver’s apparent failure to formally demand that an insurance company defend him in a state court lawsuit brought by a passenger who alleged that she was hurt due to the driver’s negligence.

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online shopping

If you’re old enough, you may remember when a certain national pizza chain guaranteed that your pizza would be delivered within 30 minutes. If it took longer than that for your pizza to arrive at your front door, it was free.

The pizza company ended that marketing campaign many years ago, and it has long been rumored that one of the primary reasons was that the company had faced multiple lawsuits from accident victims who claimed that the guarantee encouraged pizza deliverymen to drive unsafely in order to avoid giving away free pizza.

Now, a Texas teenager has reportedly filed suit against an internet sales giant, alleging that she was injured by a driver attempting to honor that company’s two-hour delivery promise.

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big rig

Four young women from North Central Texas College were killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2014. Several others were seriously injured. The women were all members of a college softball team, and they were on their way home from a sporting event in Oklahoma.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and determined that the accident was probably caused by the failure of a truck driver to control his rig. According to the Board, the driver was operating a semi that crossed the median and collided with the bus in which the young women were riding.

Recently, several new developments have occurred in the case.

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busy street

Jury trials are part of the fabric of the American judicial system. The right to have one’s case decided by a jury of one’s peers is a great privilege. A jury can award substantial damages that can go far in compensating an injured person for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by a negligent driver.

However, having one’s case proceed to a trial by jury in a personal injury case (or any other case, for that matter) is not without risk. After all, if the outcome was obvious to both parties, the case would probably have settled out of court.

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