pointing fingersUnder Texas tort law, a person who is hurt due to the negligence of another individual, a business, or a governmental entity has the option of filing a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.

In order to establish a prima facie case of negligence, the plaintiff must provide proof of four distinct elements:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Once this hurdle is met, other issues, including the amount of damages necessary to fully compensate the plaintiff for his or her injuries, must be decided. One of the most common issues that arise in Texas car accident cases is that of proportionate responsibility.

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online shopping

If you’re old enough, you may remember when a certain national pizza chain guaranteed that your pizza would be delivered within 30 minutes. If it took longer than that for your pizza to arrive at your front door, it was free.

The pizza company ended that marketing campaign many years ago, and it has long been rumored that one of the primary reasons was that the company had faced multiple lawsuits from accident victims who claimed that the guarantee encouraged pizza deliverymen to drive unsafely in order to avoid giving away free pizza.

Now, a Texas teenager has reportedly filed suit against an internet sales giant, alleging that she was injured by a driver attempting to honor that company’s two-hour delivery promise.

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dark roadway

Motor vehicle accidents are not planned. As the recent east Texas accidents highlighted below reveal, a crash can happen in a split second, sometimes under highly improbable circumstances, forever changing the lives of innocent motorists, passengers, and even pedestrians in the process.

Those who are injured (or whose loved ones perish) in a traffic accident caused by another party’s negligent or reckless conduct have a right to file suit in a court of law against the responsible party.

While monetary compensation cannot bring back lost loved ones or undo a permanent disability suffered in a crash, a settlement or judgment can help ease the financial strain caused by a serious accident or a loved one’s wrongful death.

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stormy dayThe Court of Appeals for the Twelfth Court of Appeals District at Tyler, Texas, has now made a decision in a truck accident case that we first brought to your attention last summer. The case, which arose as a result of a truck-car accident in Gregg County, resulted in a jury verdict of close to $4 million in late 2015.

The defendants – the owner and driver of a cable “spooling” truck – filed their notice of appeal more than a year ago, seeking relief from the trial court’s order entering judgment upon the jury’s verdict. Continue Reading

bills

Preparing a lawsuit for trial can be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. In addition to retaining experts on the plaintiff’s behalf, plaintiff’s counsel may also find it necessary to depose the experts retained by the defendant in order to anticipate how a particular expert witness’s testimony is likely to impact the trial of the case.

Expert witnesses are usually paid quite well for their services. Insomuch as the witness’s testimony may be necessary to the plaintiff’s case, an expert’s fee is usually money well-spent. However, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff may be also be responsible for paying a portion of the fee charged by the defendant’s expert in some situations.

This is, of course, a much more bitter pill to swallow – especially when the defendant asks the plaintiff pay the expert for time that he or she spent consulting with the defendant’s own attorneys about the case.

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crowded streetAccording to a news report, a young woman has filed a lawsuit against Uber, an Uber driver, and Honda following a two-vehicle accident that allegedly broke her spinal column and left her paralyzed. The accident reportedly happened when the young woman was riding as a passenger in a Honda Odyssey van driven by an Uber driver after a night out celebrating a friend’s birthday.

The report was somewhat confusing about the manner in which the accident occurred. Apparently, the Uber driver did not stop at a red light, but the other driver – not the Uber driver – was charged with causing an accident that resulted in a serious bodily injury.

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exit signGenerally speaking, when someone is hurt due to the negligence of another party, the injured person has a right to pursue compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages via a negligence lawsuit. (If the accident victim is killed, his or her family may seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.)

When the party that allegedly caused an injury or death through its negligence was a governmental entity, however, it can be much more difficult for the injured person (or deceased person’s family) to receive fair compensation. This is because special laws protect the government from suit or limit its liability.

These laws are based on a holdover from the English common law. Under the sovereign immunity doctrine, “the king can do no wrong.” Although neither the United States nor the State of Texas has ever been under the authority of a king (at least after the signing of the Declaration of Independence), many of the provisions of sovereign immunity still hold true.

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big rig

Four young women from North Central Texas College were killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2014. Several others were seriously injured. The women were all members of a college softball team, and they were on their way home from a sporting event in Oklahoma.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and determined that the accident was probably caused by the failure of a truck driver to control his rig. According to the Board, the driver was operating a semi that crossed the median and collided with the bus in which the young women were riding.

Recently, several new developments have occurred in the case.

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busy street

Jury trials are part of the fabric of the American judicial system. The right to have one’s case decided by a jury of one’s peers is a great privilege. A jury can award substantial damages that can go far in compensating an injured person for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by a negligent driver.

However, having one’s case proceed to a trial by jury in a personal injury case (or any other case, for that matter) is not without risk. After all, if the outcome was obvious to both parties, the case would probably have settled out of court.

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oil field

The primary reasoning behind the civil tort of negligence is that those who fail to act in a reasonably prudent manner should be held accountable to those hurt by their actions (or inactions).

Just as direct negligence can be used to hold a careless individual liable in court, vicarious liability (sometimes known as respondeat superior) can be used to hold an employer responsible for the conduct of an employee.

Of course, not every action by a worker amounts to liability for the company for which he or she works. A recent case explored the law in Texas with respect to this issue.

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