Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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

dump truckMost Texas car accident cases settle out of court, but some do go to trial. Usually, this is because the parties have vastly different opinions as to issues such as liability, comparative fault, and damages.

Sometimes, the jury’s verdict will reflect a middle ground between the parties’ respective positions, but it is also possible that the defendant will have to pay a much larger judgment than anticipated or that the plaintiff will receive only a very modest judgment despite allegations of serious injuries and large medical expenses.

Facts of the Case

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

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

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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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

mailboxIf you have been involved in a traffic accident, it may be tempting to take a “wait and see” approach. You may be thinking, “As long as I file my case by the statute of limitations, I’m good, right?” Not necessarily.

In some east Texas car accident cases, there are other considerations that effectively “move up” the filing deadline, and a delay can result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid claim. A recent federal case illustrates the point.

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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trainIf every dispute arising under the law of negligence had to go all the way to a jury trial in order to be resolved, there would be a huge backlog in the courts. Those injured by others’ carelessness might have to wait many years for justice. The defendant also would have to live with a great deal of uncertainty, waiting on the outcome of the case.

This is one of the many reasons that settlements are highly favored as a way to end a legal dispute arising from an accident. A recent case explores some of the issues that a court may encounter in determining whether a particular agreement is binding on the parties.

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