Under Texas law, people injured in car accidents can recover a variety of damages, including compensation for the cost of any past or future medical care. In order to recover such damages, however, they must adequately demonstrate that their alleged injuries were caused by the accident in question, which in many instances requires expert testimony. In a recent Texas case, Mary Lou Lara v. Jimmy Bui (NO. 01-21-00484-CV), the court examined what constitutes sufficient evidence to establish causation in a car accident case before ultimately determining that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof. If you were hurt in a car crash, it is smart to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer about what evidence you must produce to recover compensation.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff and the defendant were involved in a car accident in 2018. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit asserting a negligence claim against the defendant; in it, he alleged that he suffered various personal injuries due to the crash. The case proceeded to trial, during which the plaintiff testified that he did not suffer any fractures or internal bleeding due to the collision. Nevertheless, he stated that over time, he began to feel pain in his back and began to seek chiropractic treatment.
Allegedly, the plaintiff then began treating with a pain management specialist, who also testified at the trial. Specifically, he described what care the plaintiff may need in the future but failed to offer an opinion as to whether the plaintiff’s injuries or need for further treatment were caused by the accident. The jury ultimately issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him past medical costs and $150,000 in future medical expenses. The defendant moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support the verdict. The court denied the motion, and she appealed.
Evidence Sufficient to Demonstrate Causation in Texas Car Accident Cases
On appeal, the court agreed with the defendant’s assertions and reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that typically, expert testimony is required to prove the causation of medical conditions that are beyond the understanding of lay people. In some cases, however, non-expert testimony can be used to establish causation, like when it is based on general knowledge and common sense and there is a strong logical connection between the event and the condition.
This exception to the rule applies only in limited situations where a layperson can determine causation with reasonable probability. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff did not suffer immediate and clear harm after the accident, and therefore, the exception did not apply. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.
Speak with a Seasoned Texas Attorney
People hurt in car accidents often require extensive care, but in order to recover damages for their medical treatment, they must prove their injuries were caused by another party’s negligence. If you were injured in a car accident, it is smart to speak with an attorney about your options for pursuing compensation. Earl Drott is a seasoned Texas attorney who possesses the skills and experience needed to obtain favorable outcomes in cases arising out of collisions, and if you engage his services, he will zealously pursue the maximum damages recoverable in your case. You can reach Mr. Drott through the online form or at 903-531-9300 to set up a free conference.