Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Many businesses use trucking companies to transport their products in and around Texas. While the size of tractor trailers makes them efficient for hauling goods, it also creates substantial risks for other people on the road, as collisions involving commercial trucks are frequently deadly. People hurt in such crashes can often recover damages from both the driver of the truck and their employer. However, as demonstrated in a recent Texas ruling issued in a truck accident case, JNM Express, et al. v. Lauro Lozano Jr. and Irene Lozano (No. 21-0853), it is not always readily evident who employs a truck driver and is therefore responsible for the harm they cause. If you were hurt in a truck collision, it is crucial to confer with a Texas truck accident lawyer about your rights as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff and a truck driver were involved in a collision. The collision, which caused the plaintiff severe injuries, was caused by the truck driver falling asleep at the wheel. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the defendant trucking company and the defendant brokerage companies, both of which he alleged were the driver’s employers, alleging negligence and gross negligence against the companies and their owners.

Reportedly, following a trial, the jury awarded substantial damages, including exemplary damages against the companies. The trial court held all defendants jointly and severally liable for the damages. Following an appeal, the court of appeals affirmed most of the judgment but eliminated joint and several liability for exemplary damages against the owners. The defendants then filed a petition for review, which the court granted. Continue Reading

Pursuant to Texas law, parties that cause fatal collisions may be deemed liable for any damages sustained by the deceased person’s survivors as a result of the accident. These damages include not only economic harm, like the cost of medical care or lost earnings, but also non-economic losses, including mental trauma and anguish. Regardless of the character of the compensation awarded, however, it must be reasonable and fair, as discussed in Gregory v. Chohan, 66 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 1086 (2023), a case in which the court found that the evidence did not support the non-economic damages awarded to the plaintiffs for wrongful death claims. If you lost a loved one in a collision, it is in your best interest to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual and Procedural Setting

It is reported that the widow of the decedent, along with their children and the decedent’s parents, brought a wrongful death action against the driver of a jackknifed truck and the driver’s employer. The plaintiffs alleged that the jackknifed truck caused a multi-vehicle accident on the interstate, resulting in the death of the trucker while he was outside his truck. The plaintiffs set forth vicarious liability claims against the employer, as well as claims for negligent entrustment, supervision, and training.

Allegedly, after a jury trial, the court entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them approximately $16.8 million; the vast majority of the damages award constituted non-economic damages for the loss of the decedent’s companionship and the mental anguish caused by his death. The driver and employer appealed the decision, but the court of appeals affirmed the judgment. The driver and employer then petitioned for review. Continue Reading

In cases arising out of truck accidents, the parties will typically engage in discovery. Under Texas law, parties can seek information via discovery that will support their claims and defenses. Discovery cannot be used as a fishing expedition, however, and overbroad requests may be quashed, as illustrated in In re Contract Firefighters Inc. No. 21-0134, a case arising out of a truck collision. If you were hurt in a crash involving a tractor-trailer, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses, and you should meet with a Texas truck accident attorney to evaluate your potential claims.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiffs suffered injuries in a collision with a commercial truck. They subsequently instituted negligence claims against the truck driver and the shipping company. The case proceeded to discovery, and the plaintiffs sought information regarding other truck accident lawsuits in which the company was named as a defendant and United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) records regarding accidents involving the company in all 50 states.

It is alleged that the company filed a motion to quash the request for information from the USDOT, while the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel the company to respond to their discovery requests. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion and denied the company’s. The company sought a writ of mandamus, which the appellate court denied. The company then filed a writ of mandamus petition in the Texas Supreme Court, after which the plaintiffs voluntarily withdrew their request and moved to dismiss the petition. Continue Reading

It is well-established under Texas law that attorneys are permitted and expected to advocate zealously on behalf of their clients, but they are subject to limitations with regard to the arguments they can make to the jury. Thus, if an attorney makes an improper argument, the opposing party may have grounds for arguing that the court should vacate the verdict. Recently, a Texas court set forth an opinion in Press Energy Services, LLC and Christopher James Nissley v. Javier Bustillos Ruiz, (Texas State, 8th Court of Appeals), a truck accident case in which the defendant appealed the verdict, explaining the grounds for reversing a judgment on the basis of an improper jury argument. If you suffered injuries in a collision with a commercial truck, it is smart to confer with a trusted Texas truck accident attorney to determine what damages you may be owed.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was driving a southbound truck, and the defendant, who was driving a northbound truck, collided in the southbound lane of traffic. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant and his employer, alleging that their gross negligence caused the collision and subsequent damages. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury awarded the plaintiff $3 million in compensatory damages and over $1 million in exemplary damages. The defendants moved for a new trial, but their motion was denied. They then appealed.

Improper Jury Arguments

The defendants set forth numerous arguments on appeal, including the assertion that the plaintiff’s counsel set forth improper arguments to the jury by referencing his client’s Mexican origin. Under Texas law, a party seeking reversal of a judgment based on an improper jury argument must show an error that was not provoked or invited and was preserved at trial by a proper objection, motion for mistrial, or motion to instruct. Continue Reading

In some east Texas truck accident cases, liability is clear. Everyone agrees who was at fault, but a trial may still be necessary because of a disagreement about the amount of money that it will take to fully compensate the plaintiff for the injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence.

In other cases, however, both liability and damages are contested, and the jury must decide both who was at fault and the amount of money due the “innocent” (or less at-fault, as the case may be) driver. Of course, the jury must follow certain rules and instructions in so doing, and it is not unusual for the losing side to file an appeal, arguing that the trial court gave erroneous instructions or that the jury misapplied the directions given by the judge.

Once the case reaches the appellate court level, the reviewing court has a few choices. It can reverse the lower court’s decision and send the case back for a retrial; it can opine that, although some error may have occurred, it did not ultimately affect the outcome of the proceedings; or it can determine that there were no errors made by the lower court.

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An east Texas truck accident case can involve many potential parties and multiple theories of liability. It is important that a family who has been impacted by such a collision retain counsel experienced in this area of the law.

There may be any number of issues that develop during the course of litigation, such as who was negligent and whether any defendant’s employer should be held vicariously liable. Insurance coverage issues may also be present.

Such cases require special care from beginning to end, starting with a thorough investigation of the accident scene and the retention of expert witnesses. It can also be anticipated that any verdict obtained on the plaintiff’s behalf may become the subject of a post-trial appeal.

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Big rigs, semis, and 18-wheelers can cause devastating personal injuries and even wrongful death in a truck accident. It only takes a few seconds for a trucker’s inattention or negligent conduct to cause a crash that can forever devastate those who are in his or her path.

Fortunately, truckers and the trucking outfits that employ them usually have sizable liability insurance limits, such that the plaintiff’s medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages can be taken care of. Of course, just because such coverage exists does not automatically mean that the insurance company will be willing to pay out even a dime without a fight.

An experienced east Texas truck accident litigation attorney can help the accident victim and his or her family understand their legal rights and help them fight for what is right. It is important that those who have been hurt by a careless or reckless truck driver speak to counsel as soon as possible after an accident; you can bet the insurance company will have someone on the scene within a short time, but that person (or, more likely, that team of professionals) will only be looking out for the insurance company’s bottom line, not for what’s right for the injured person.

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East Texas truck wreck cases often involve many legal theories, especially in cases resulting in wrongful death. Some of these theories may be “direct negligence” theories of liability against the trucking outfit that owned the big rig involved in the crash (such as negligent hiring, negligent training, etc.) Sometimes, there may also be indirect negligence claims, such as an allegation of respondeat superior for the careless driving of the trucker who caused the accident.

Of course, the exact claims and legal theories vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances of a particular crash. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a negligent trucker or trucking outfit, an attorney experienced in these types of cases can help you get started on the appropriate claim(s) in your situation.

It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after a truck crash because such cases tend to be complex, requiring a thorough investigation of the crash and prompt legal action. Failure to speak to counsel early on can give the trucking outfit’s insurance company a considerable advantage as the case develops, so please act quickly if you find your or someone in your family has been involved in a truck accident.

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A Texas truck accident can be devastating to an innocent motorist and his or her family. Medical bills can quickly mount, and finances can quickly spiral out of control with little or no money coming in due to the accident victim’s inability to work, either temporarily or permanently.

Fortunately, truck drivers and trucking companies can be held liable for the harm they cause. These types of cases must be pursued promptly, skillfully, and aggressively, however. The insurance companies and law firms that represent careless truckers and trucking outfits have their own interests at heart, not those of the people who are injured or the families of those that are killed by negligent truckers.

The good news is that most trucking companies do have a reasonable amount of insurance coverage (which, unfortunately is not always the case with regular drivers, who may only carry the minimum coverage required by the state). Still, it is likely that the plaintiff will have to fight hard for the recovery that he or she deserves because insurance companies try to keep payouts as low as possible, even when policy limits are high.

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In a Texas truck accident case, it is not unusual for one or both parties to send certain requests for information and/or documentation to the other. This process is known as “discovery” and is intended to assist the parties in preparing for trial and, if possible, facilitating a settlement.

Sometimes, disputes arise during discovery, with one party or the other objecting to requests propounded by their opponent. Some grounds for objection include over-breadth of the request(s) or irrelevance of the information sought. Certain privileges may also come into play (such as the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine). These disputes are usually settled by the trial court judge, but sometimes there is involvement from the court of appeals, as well.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the original plaintiffs were individuals who had been involved in a multi-car accident and/or had relatives who had perished in the accident. They filed suit in the 4th District Court of Rusk County, Texas, asserting claims against the truck driver whose negligence allegedly caused the crash and the delivery company that employed him. During the course of litigation, the plaintiffs sent the defendants interrogatories and requests for production. Included in these were a) requests for information concerning the identity of all commercial truck drivers dispatched out of the same facility as the defendant truck driver from 2006 to 2017 and the time in which those drivers were employed, and b) copies of documentation of all alcohol, drug, and controlled substance tests of the commercial truck drivers identified in the previous request.

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