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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intersectionOne of the core components of the American legal system is the right to a trial by jury. While not every civil lawsuit triggers a jury trial, those that do sometimes come with a myriad of issues that the jury must resolve.

In a car accident case, for instance, the jury may be asked to apportion fault between the respective parties, assess compensatory damages, and perhaps resolve other, case-specific issues. The appellate review of a trial court’s entry of judgment on a jury’s verdict can, therefore, be a rather complex endeavor.

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truck wreckMany issues, including proportionate responsibility (sometimes known as contributory negligence or comparative fault), can arise in a vehicle accident case. Recently, a Texas appeals court was asked to consider this issue, along with several evidentiary issues, after an accident involving an armored truck left a man with serious injuries.

The jury found in favor of the injured man, awarding him a substantial verdict. Dissatisfied with the result, the defendants appealed.

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semi-truck

Although any motor vehicle accident case can be contentious, those resulting from 18-wheeler wrecks are particularly so. This is because semi-truck wrecks so often result in staggering medical expenses and other damages for those who are hurt by a trucker or trucking company’s negligence.

In order to protect the sizable financial assets of those in the trucking industry, the liability insurance limits for truckers and trucking are typically much higher than those for motorists involved in more run-of-the mill car accident cases.

In other words, when a trucker or trucking company’s negligence severely hurts or kills an innocent motorist or passenger, a lot of money is at stake. That typically means a big fight and a lengthy battle, even when liability is clear.

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insurance adjuster

As any attorney who regularly represents those who have been injured or have lost loved ones due to a motor vehicle accident caused by another person’s negligence can tell you, it is very important to talk to an attorney before signing anything proffered by an insurance company. In fact, the best practice is to speak to an attorney before even talking to anyone from the defendant’s insurance company.

A recent case illustrates what can happen when this advice is not followed.

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