Everyone knows that the outcome of a divorce case is often based on the resolution of “he said, she said” factual disputes. East Texas car accident cases are similar in this regard, although it may be “he said, he said” or “she said, she said,” depending on the gender of the respective parties. In cases in which the plaintiff and the defendant blatantly disagree about what caused the accident – or in situations in which one of the parties has given multiple accounts of how the crash happened – the court (or the jury) has the difficult task of deciding who is telling the truth.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and the defendant in a recent case (No.  04-16-00739-CV; Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas) had very different theories as to how a two-vehicle accident involving the plaintiff and the defendant’s employee happened. According to the plaintiff, she was traveling along a four-lane highway when the defendant’s employee, whom the plaintiff alleged was acting within the course and scope of her employment with the defendant, pulled out in front of her, forcing the plaintiff to strike the employee’s vehicle. The defendant, on the other hand, maintained that the accident happened because its employee, who had ended her work duties for the day and was on her way home, was t-boned by the plaintiff, whom it alleged was speeding and distracted by her cellphone.

There are many issues that must be taken into consideration in an east Texas truck accident case. Who are the proper defendants? What are the claims against each? Which court has jurisdiction and venue over the defendants and/or the claims?

Sometimes, issues of venue (i.e., the appropriate court in which a given case should be heard) can complicate an otherwise straightforward case. This is especially true in cases involving corporate defendants.

Facts of the Case

Most east Texas truck accident cases are ultimately settled out of court, although this sometimes happens literally “on the steps of the courthouse.” When an agreement cannot be reached, however, it is a jury that usually decides the case.

When a jury trial is required in an automobile accident case, a party aggrieved by the jury’s findings has a right to appeal the trial court’s judgment entered thereon. While most jury verdicts are affirmed on appeal, the higher courts do sometimes rule that a reversible error occurred in the court below.

Facts of the Case

When alcohol is a factor in an east Texas car accident, the defendant in the case is usually an allegedly intoxicated driver whose negligence or recklessness caused or contributed to the crash. This is not always the case, however.

Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, an establishment that “over-serves” a person who is obviously intoxicated to a point at which he or she presents a danger to themselves or others can also be held liable in a lawsuit brought by a person harmed by the over-served individual. In some cases, the over-served person may also seek compensation under the Act.

Facts of the Case

Although east Texas motorcycle accident lawsuits in which a governmental entity is named as the defendant can be difficult to win, there are many situations in which such claims can be successful. Since the government enjoys immunity unless it is expressly waived by statute, a would-be plaintiff’s case must fit squarely within the statutory exceptions in order for him or her to prevail, however.

It should be noted that, even when a plaintiff does win a case against the government, there may be caps on damages. Still, in a one-vehicle accident in which the government’s negligence played a significant part, such a lawsuit may be the plaintiff’s only hope for assistance with medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Facts of the Case

East Texas car accidents can happen for many different reasons. In most multi-vehicle cases, a wreck is caused by the negligence of one or both of the drivers – speeding, distracted driving, and driving while intoxicated are all common causes of motor vehicle accidents. In a single-vehicle accident, a driver may be at fault, but this is not always so. There could have been another factor, such as a defect in the automobile, a dangerous road (possibly due to improper maintenance), or an obstacle caused by a third party.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a recent appellate court case (No. 09-16-00280-CV; Court of Appeals for the Ninth District of Texas) were the heirs of a woman who was killed in 2006 when an allegedly defective tire on a 1995 Ford Explorer in which she was riding caused an accident. The decedent and her heirs were all residents of Mexico, and the accident happened in Mexico.

Most people who have been injured in an east Texas auto accident are at least somewhat aware that there is a deadline for filing a negligence claim against the at-fault driver. Called the “statute of limitations,” this important deadline is non-negotiable; if you miss it, your case is going to be dismissed (unless it meets one of the very few, very narrow exceptions under Texas law).

Not only must the complaint be filed with the appropriate court clerk within the limitations period, but also the plaintiff has an obligation to serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant within a certain time frame. Failing to do this can result in the dismissal of an otherwise timely filed lawsuit.

Facts of the Case

On average, approximately 3,500 to 4,00o people lose their lives in Texas car accidents each year. Tens of thousands more are seriously injured. The cause of a crash may be obvious (such as a speeding driver running a stop sign), or a lengthy investigation may be required in order to discover the cause of a wreck.

Usually, it is the negligence of one driver or another that causes a motor vehicle collision, but sometimes other factors – such as a defective tire or automotive component – can result in a wreck.

Facts of the Case

In an east Texas motorcycle accident, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the accident. This requires proof of four elements:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. If any of these elements is missing, the plaintiff cannot recover a monetary judgment against the defendant.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (No. 04-16-00712-CV; Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas), the plaintiffs were the parents of a man who died after he lost control of his motorcycle in December 2013. During the accident, the decedent was thrown off his cycle and hit by three separate vehicles. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant motorcycle repair shop, alleging that the decedent lost control of the motorcycle because the defendant failed to properly repair the bike when the decedent took it in for repairs a few weeks before the accident.

When people outside the legal field think about an east Texas car accident case, they may envision a courtroom scene with the parties giving their respective testimonies to a jury while a black-robed judge looks down from the bench, glaring at counsel when an objection is sustained.

The truth is, most cases don’t make it to trial. Both plaintiffs and defendants prefer to settle the issues outside court if at all possible. Trials are time-consuming, expensive, and risky.

Facts of the Case