Articles Posted in Negligence

motorcyles
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

stopwatchThere 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

pointing the finger
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.

alcoholic beverage
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

tireOn average, approximately 3,500 to 4,00o people lose their lives in Texas car accidents each year. Tens of thousands more are seriously injured. The cause of a crash may be obvious (such as a speeding driver running a stop sign), or a lengthy investigation may be required in order to discover the cause of a wreck.

Usually, it is the negligence of one driver or another that causes a motor vehicle collision, but sometimes other factors – such as a defective tire or automotive component – can result in a wreck.

Facts of the Case

jury box
When people outside the legal field think about an east Texas car accident case, they may envision a courtroom scene with the parties giving their respective testimonies to a jury while a black-robed judge looks down from the bench, glaring at counsel when an objection is sustained.

The truth is, most cases don’t make it to trial. Both plaintiffs and defendants prefer to settle the issues outside court if at all possible. Trials are time-consuming, expensive, and risky.

Facts of the Case

rearview mirror
The right to a trial by jury is fundamental to our legal system. In an east Texas car accident lawsuit, the possibility of a jury determining fault and assessing the amount of damages due to an injured person can be a strong encouragement for negligent drivers and their insurers to settle a case out of court.

Unfortunately, juries sometimes enter verdicts that are not at all what one party or the other expected. Although both the trial court and the appellate courts have some authority to set aside a verdict, juries are afforded a great deal of latitude in most situations.

Facts of the Case

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.