Articles Posted in Negligence

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.

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

school bus
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

city traffic
Part of being a responsible driver is obtaining a policy of liability insurance that will cover personal injuries or wrongful deaths caused by the driver’s negligence. In most east Texas car accident lawsuits, the “real” defendant is the negligent driver’s insurance company (although it may not seem so from the pleadings or the proceedings in front of the jury at trial).

Unfortunately, there can be other requirements in addition to just taking out an appropriate policy and paying one’s premiums on time. Failing to comply with these provisions can cause big problems – not only for the insured individual but also for those hurt by his or her careless actions behind the wheel.

Facts of the Case

money
In an east Texas car accident lawsuit, the parties named in the complaint are typically the injured person (the plaintiff) and the driver whose negligence allegedly caused the crash (the defendant).

However, it is not usually the actual defendant who writes the check at the end of the case – that would be an insurance company. Of course, you probably wouldn’t know this if you just happened to walk into a courtroom during the trial of a car wreck case. The insurance companies work very hard to keep this information away from the jury. They also put in a substantial amount of time doing everything they can to limit their liability in a particular case. In a recent case, this even included filing a separate lawsuit asking the court to declare that they only owed the injured person a portion of the total amount of money a jury awarded him or her.

Facts of the Case

police carPolice are charged with the duty of serving and protecting the public, and generally they do a good job of this. However, police officers are human, and they, too, can make mistakes – including getting distracted and running into another vehicle.

What happens when a police officer causes a Texas car accident – not while pursuing a suspect but just in the ordinary course of making his rounds about town? Should the city for which he works be held liable for the injuries he causes? Under Texas law, it may be possible for a person injured in such a situation to be awarded money damages in compensation for their injuries, but there are several very specific procedural requirements that must be followed – including the giving of notice.

Facts of the Case

oil pump jack
East Texas truck accidents can be very difficult. Truckers and trucking companies fight liability as fiercely as possible in most cases.

Sometimes, there may be others who could potentially be liable in a truck accident case – for example, a party who failed to properly secure a load that later spilled and caused an accident – but these defendants, too, pull out every possible defense to avoid liability. Fortunately, these tactics are not always successful.

Facts of the Case

stop signIf someone runs a stop sign and causes a wreck, shouldn’t they be 100% responsible for any and all damages suffered by an innocent person in the other vehicle? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as simple as it might seem.

In a recent Texas car accident case, several issues arose that stood in the way of an injured man receiving full compensation for injuries suffered in a car wreck that the defendant admitted happened after he ran a stop sign.

Facts of the Case