Articles Posted in Negligence

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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oil field

The primary reasoning behind the civil tort of negligence is that those who fail to act in a reasonably prudent manner should be held accountable to those hurt by their actions (or inactions).

Just as direct negligence can be used to hold a careless individual liable in court, vicarious liability (sometimes known as respondeat superior) can be used to hold an employer responsible for the conduct of an employee.

Of course, not every action by a worker amounts to liability for the company for which he or she works. A recent case explored the law in Texas with respect to this issue.

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intersectionOne of the core components of the American legal system is the right to a trial by jury. While not every civil lawsuit triggers a jury trial, those that do sometimes come with a myriad of issues that the jury must resolve.

In a car accident case, for instance, the jury may be asked to apportion fault between the respective parties, assess compensatory damages, and perhaps resolve other, case-specific issues. The appellate review of a trial court’s entry of judgment on a jury’s verdict can, therefore, be a rather complex endeavor.

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insurance adjuster

As any attorney who regularly represents those who have been injured or have lost loved ones due to a motor vehicle accident caused by another person’s negligence can tell you, it is very important to talk to an attorney before signing anything proffered by an insurance company. In fact, the best practice is to speak to an attorney before even talking to anyone from the defendant’s insurance company.

A recent case illustrates what can happen when this advice is not followed.

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dining roomIn some cases proceeding under Texas negligence law, the doctrine of respondeat superior can be used hold an employer vicariously liable for the tortious acts of a servant. This includes situations in which an employee’s negligent operation of an automobile results in injuries to an innocent motorist or passenger.

Of course, there are exceptions to the doctrine, and sometimes an employer is relieved of vicarious liability due to the particular circumstances of a given case.

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paper pusher

Only an insurance company would have the audacity to deny an injured woman’s uninsured motorist claim, fail to file an answer to the lawsuit she was forced to file in order to get the coverage for which she had paid premiums, ask the court for a new trial after it granted the woman a new trial, and then complain about the amount of time it took the woman to file suit against it in the first place.

Fortunately, an east Texas appellate court did the right thing when this exact scenario unfolded recently. It reinstated the default judgment against the insurance company, making it pay the woman the money awarded to her by the trial judge.

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