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