Articles Posted in Personal Injury

oil wells
An issue that sometimes comes up in an east Texas car accident case is whether or not a certain business or company is vicariously liable for a crash caused by someone who worked for that business or company.

The resolution of this issue can greatly affect the amount of monetary compensation received by the plaintiff in the case, since businesses and corporations typically have much higher liability insurance limits (or other resources that can be attached and liquidated by the injured party if he or she is successful at trial) than do private individuals.

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

alarm clock
Most people who have been injured in an east Texas auto accident are at least somewhat aware that there is a deadline for filing a negligence claim against the at-fault driver. Called the “statute of limitations,” this important deadline is non-negotiable; if you miss it, your case is going to be dismissed (unless it meets one of the very few, very narrow exceptions under Texas law).

Not only must the complaint be filed with the appropriate court clerk within the limitations period, but also the plaintiff has an obligation to serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant within a certain time frame. Failing to do this can result in the dismissal of an otherwise timely filed lawsuit.

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

calendar
In a Texas truck accident or car crash, it is possible that the negligence of two or more individuals may be found to have contributed to the wreck. Under the principles of proportionate responsibility and comparative fault, the plaintiff may receive less than his or her total damages in such situations if part of the blame for the accident is assigned to him or her.

Likewise, the amount that a particular defendant must pay toward the plaintiff’s damages award can vary depending on the amount of negligence assigned to that defendant. Cases involving multiple defendants can further complicate matters.

Facts of the Case

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.