Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Even in a “simple” east Texas car accident case in which one driver seeks monetary compensation from another motorist whose negligence obviously caused the crash, things can get complicated.car crash

This is all the more so when two drivers blame each other for an automobile accident. In such a situation, it is very important that the jury be charged appropriately with regard to the assignment of fault, assuming that the evidence warrants such a charge.

Facts of the Case

highwayState law places an outer limit upon the time that victims of an east Texas car accident may assert their rights in a court of law. Referred to in legal parlance as the “statute of limitations,” this time period is absolute in most cases.

While there are a few, limited exceptions, the vast majority of cases filed outside of the applicable statute of limitations are dismissed by the courts. In such cases, the plaintiff receives nothing, even if he or she would otherwise have been entitled to substantial monetary compensation.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided case, the plaintiff was a woman who was allegedly involved in a “hit and run” motor vehicle accident caused by an uninsured motorist in January 2013. Displeased with the way her claim was handled, she filed a lawsuit against the defendant insurance company, with which she had collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. In her first suit, which was filed in March 2013, the plaintiff sought declaratory relief regarding her UM coverage and averred that the defendant had breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing. In 2015, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her suit. Continue Reading

car accidentEven in situations in which liability for an east Texas car accident is clear, there are several factors which can potentially jeopardize the plaintiff’s case. For example, if a plaintiff has pre-existing medical conditions, this can be a factor considered by the jury in determining whether the physical problems about which the plaintiff complains were truly caused by, or at least aggravated by, the crash.

If the jury is of the opinion that the defendant is not to blame for the plaintiff’s current physical condition, the plaintiff will not be able to recovery money damages, even if the defendant admits to being at fault in the wreck.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas; No. 02-18-00121-CV), the plaintiff was a woman whose car was rear-ended by the defendant motorist as the plaintiff was traveling in heavy traffic on the interstate. The plaintiff sued the defendant motorist, as well as the plaintiff’s own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance carrier, seeking monetary compensation for past and future medical-care expenses, impairment, pain, and mental anguish. Continue Reading

immigrationImmigration is a hot-button issue these days. From the feasibility of building a wall to the propriety of separating parents and children at the border, it seems there is a story in the news pertaining to immigration nearly every day.

The subject of immigration can even arise in an east Texas car or truck accident case, causing complications and, sometimes, the need for a new trial when potentially prejudicial information is presented to the jury.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District; No. 13-17-00006-CV), the plaintiff was a woman who filed suit against the defendants, a truck driver and a trucking company, seeking compensation for injuries the plaintiff allegedly suffered in a 2013 motor vehicle accident. According to the plaintiff, the accident was caused by the negligence of the truck driver, who made an unsafe lane change and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle as the two were traveling along I-10. At trial, both the plaintiff and the truck driver testified with the aid of an interpreter. Continue Reading

hospital roomWhen someone brings a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries suffered in an east Texas automobile accident, he or she may ask for reimbursement for past medical expenses, along with compensation for medical costs that may reasonably be expected to be incurred in the future. However, even in cases in which liability is clear, disputes may arise regarding the amount of money to which the plaintiff is entitled for his or her medical expenses, especially if the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident and is not joined in the lawsuit by his or her parents.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas; No. 01-16-00463-CV), the plaintiff was a young man who sought to recover compensation for injuries he suffered in a car accident that occurred when he was still a minor. The trial court directed a verdict on the plaintiff’s claim for past medical expenses, ruling that the defendant driver could not be held liable for the medical expenses incurred while the plaintiff was still a minor.

tireIn most east Texas car accident cases, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, each of the four distinct elements of negligence:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Occasionally, however, a case arises in which a legal doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur applies.

Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase that means “the thing speaks for itself.” In the context of a negligence lawsuit, a res ipsa loquitur instruction allows the jury to infer negligence from the circumstances of the accident, thereby effectively lowering the burden of proof for the plaintiff.

Facts of the Case

schedulingUnder Texas law (Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 169, to be exact), there is an “expedited actions process” through which parties to certain civil litigation may ask the court to fast-track their claims. East Texas car accident cases in which $100,000 or less is sought in damages are among the types of cases in which the fast-track route may be sought.

When a case is fast-tracked, the trial court puts limits on things like discovery, continuances, challenges to experts, and the time that the parties have for their presentation of evidence and arguments at trial. On a showing of good cause, a case that would otherwise be qualified for expedited action can be removed from the process by the trial court.

Facts of the Case

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.