The Texas Tort Claims Act law generally protects governmental entities from civil liability. There are exceptions, however, under which parties injured by government employees acting in their scope of work can pursue claims against the government. In doing so, they must follow the proper procedure, which, in part, requires them to provide the government entity with notice of their claim within the statutory timeframe. In a recent Texas case arising out of a collision involving an ambulance, City of Alvin, v. Edna Fields (No. 01-22-00572-CV), the court discussed what evidence is needed to establish actual or constructive notice. If you were injured in a crash caused by another party’s negligence, you might be owed damages, and you should meet with a Texas car accident lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Factual and Procedural Setting

It is reported that in October 2019, the plaintiff called 911 due to a headache and weakness in her left arm. She had suffered an intracranial bleed two weeks prior.  Emergency medical technicians employed by the defendant city responded. After assessing the plaintiff, they suspected she suffered a stroke, and they decided to transport her to the hospital via ambulance.

It is alleged that while approaching an intersection at about 65 miles per hour, the ambulance entered against a red light, colliding with a pickup truck. No significant injuries were reported at the scene. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit nearly two years later, alleging negligence claims against the defendant and the pickup truck driver. The defendant claimed governmental immunity, arguing that the plaintiff failed to give the defendant notice of her claim within six months. The trial court denied the defendant’s plea to the jurisdiction and motion to dismiss. The defendant appealed. 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

Under Texas law, government agencies have sovereign immunity from tort claims pursuant to the Texas Tort Claims Act. The immunity can be waived in certain circumstances, however, such as when a government employee harms a person via a motor vehicle used in the course and scope of their employment. Recently, the Texas courts discussed said waiver in Martin v. Village of Surfside Beach (NO. 14-22-00085-CV), a case in which the plaintiff appealed the trial court’s dismissal of her claims. If you were hurt in a car crash involving a government employee, you may be owed damages, and you should contact a Texas car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant’s employee,  a was driving a truck owned by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed to have suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against defendant’s employee and the defendant, alleging negligence on the employee’s part for not yielding at a stop sign and arguing that the defendant was responsible under the legal principle of respondeat superior.

Allegedly, Defendant then sought to dismiss Defendant’s employee from the case, and the plaintiff dropped her claims against him while continuing with the case against the defendant. The defendant argued in its plea to the jurisdiction that the plaintiff had not demonstrated a waiver of governmental immunity under the Texas Tort Claims Act, as the employee was not acting within the scope of his employment during the accident. To support its plea, the defendant presented a declaration from Defendant’s employee stating that he had left work, ran a personal errand, and was driving home when the collision occurred. The trial court accepted the defendant’s plea and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

How Texas courts interpret statutes has real consequences on the exercise of government power and the outcome of disputes. For example, a recent Texas car accident case, Sibel Onasis Ferrer v.  Madalena Elizabeth Almanza et al., No. 21-0513, illustrates the difference between a pragmatic common-law approach, which empowers courts to void statutes they view as obsolete, and a formal textualist approach, which adheres to the ordinary meaning of the words enacted and leaves updating to the legislative branch. Despite previous statements favoring the latter approach, the Court, in this case, opted for the former, deviating from the ordinary meaning of Texas’s tolling statute’s language. If you were injured in a car crash, it is important to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to recover damages.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by one of the defendants. The plaintiff suffered injuries in the crash and subsequently instituted a lawsuit against the defendants. Following discovery, the defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the statute of limitations barred the plaintiff’s claim.

Allegedly, the plaintiff objected to the defendant’s motion, averring that Texas’s tolling statute applied because the defendant driver was away at college following the accident, and therefore, her claim was timely. The court found in favor of the defendants, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

Under Texas law, people hurt in car accidents have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible for their harm. They must do so within the time prescribed by the statute of limitations, though, otherwise, their claims will most likely be dismissed. While typically determining whether an action is timely is a straightforward undertaking, governmental orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can complicate the process. In Olivia Segovia v. Suzanne Stebbins (NO. 14-21-00078-CV), the Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (14th Dist.), analyzed whether emergency orders required the tolling of the statute of limitations in a lawsuit arising out of a car crash, ultimately determining that they did not. If you suffered harm in a collision, it is in your best interest to meet with a Texas car accident attorney about your potential claims as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff sustained injuries in an auto accident involving the defendant in October 2018. She filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the defendant over two years after the date of the accident. The defendant filed an answer in which she argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations.

Reportedly, following discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that Texas’s two-year statute of limitations for negligence claims required the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. In response, the plaintiff argued that emergency orders issued by the Supreme Court of Texas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic extended or tolled the statute of limitations. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

In most cases arising out of car accidents, while liability may be disputed, it is clear who was involved in the collision. In some matters, however, the identity of the driver that caused a crash may be disputed as well. As demonstrated in Felipe Martinez Rubio v. Paul Shields No. 01-22-00084-CV, if a plaintiff cannot prove that the defendant was operating the vehicle involved in an accident at the time the accident occurred, the court is likely to dismiss their case. If you were hurt in a collision caused by another driver, it is prudent to talk to a Texas car accident attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries when the car he was driving was struck by a vehicle owned by the defendant. The plaintiff instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he negligently operated his vehicle, thereby causing the accident and the plaintiff’s harm. During the course of discovery, the defendant admitted that he owned the car involved in the crash but denied that he was driving it when the incident occurred.

Allegedly, the defendant indicated that his nephew was the person responsible for the collision. The defendant ultimately moved for a no-evidence summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that he was driving the car at the time of the crash or caused the plaintiff’s harm. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

While most Texas motor vehicle collisions arise out of negligent driving, some are caused by defective vehicles. People harmed in crashes caused by unsafe cars have the right to pursue product liability claims against the vehicle manufacturer, but, pursuant to Texas’s statute of repose pertaining to product liability claims, they must do so within 15 years of the date of the sale of the vehicle. If a defendant cannot establish the date of sale, they most likely cannot challenge a product liability claim as untimely, as demonstrated in Jennifer Parks et al. v. Ford Motor Company (No. 05-21-00632-CV), an opinion recently delivered by a Texas court. If you suffered harm in an accident caused by an unsafe vehicle, you might be able to recover damages from the company that manufactured the vehicle, and it is in your best interest to confer with a Texas car accident attorney.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent was involved in a collision in May 2014 while driving a vehicle manufactured by the defendant. Subsequently, in May 2016, the plaintiff, as guardian of the decedent’s estate, and several other plaintiffs filed a product liability lawsuit against the defendant. In part, they alleged that the design of the subject vehicle, which was a 2001 model, rendered it unsafe because it was prone to rollovers and the strength of the roof was insufficient to withstand crashes.

Reportedly, the defendant set forth numerous affirmative defenses, including the assertion that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the statute of repose for product liability claims. Following discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment pursuant to the statute of repose, which demands that product liability claims must be pursued within 15 years of the defendant’s sale of the product. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed. Continue Reading

Bicyclists struck by vehicles often sustain severe injuries. When such collisions are caused by negligent driving, the injured bicyclist may be able to recover damages in a civil lawsuit. Certain seemingly innocuous factual scenarios can present challenges in demonstrating fault, though, as shown in Max Nelson and Carolyn Nelson, as Co-Guardians of Matthew Nelson v. City of Plano (No. 05-21-00708-CV), a Texas case in which the court ruled that under the facts of the case the plaintiff could not show that the city waived its governmental immunity. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a bike accident, you have the right to pursue claims against the party responsible for your harm, and you should meet with a Texas car accident attorney.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, a man with cognitive disabilities, was riding his bicycle on a city sidewalk when he crashed into a truck driven by a city employee. The plaintiff sustained multiple fractures and internal injuries in the accident. He and his guardians subsequently sued the city, arguing that its negligence caused the accident and the plaintiff’s subsequent harm. The city filed an answer and set forth affirmative defenses, such as governmental immunity.

It is alleged that the plaintiff answered the city’s discovery requests, stating, among other things, that the plaintiff was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk owned and maintained by the city at the time of the accident and that he was solely pursuing an ordinary negligence claim against the city. Based on these statements, the city filed a plea to the jurisdiction on the grounds of governmental immunity. The court granted the plea, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

Pursuant to Texas law, parties injured in car accidents have two years from the date of the collision to pursue claims against the party responsible for the crash. If the responsible party is a political subdivision of the state, though, the injured party must comply with certain notice requirements as well; otherwise, the court may lack jurisdiction over their claim even if it is filed within the statute of limitations. Recently, the court in City of Arlington v. Christopher Evans (No. 02-22-00160-CI) explained the notice requirements imposed on plaintiffs pursuing claims against political subdivisions and ultimately found that the plaintiff’s failure to comply with said requirements demanded the dismissal of his claims. If you sustained harm in an auto accident, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Texas car accident attorney promptly to avoid unwittingly waiving the right to recover damages.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s car was struck by a car owned by the defendant city. The plaintiff sustained injuries and property damage in the crash. As such, he filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. In response, the defendant filed a plea to the jurisdiction in which it argued that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the plaintiff failed to provide the defendant with formal and timely notice of his claim or demonstrate that the defendant had actual awareness that the plaintiff suffered injuries in the crash. The trial court denied the defendant’s plea to jurisdiction, and the defendant appealed.

Notice Requirements in Claims Against Political Subdivisions of the State

On appeal, the court found that the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s plea for jurisdiction. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that governmental immunity categorically prohibits tort claims against municipalities like the defendant unless the legislature has consented to suit. For example, immunity is waived under the Torts Claims Act for car accidents caused by a municipality’s employees. Continue Reading

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