Personal injury lawsuits, such as those arising from automobile accidents, are most often based on a theory of negligence. In order to be successful in a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove each of the four elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence.
These elements are duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation. If the plaintiff fails to prove any of these elements, his or her case against the defendant will fail, and the plaintiff will recover nothing from that party.
Sometimes it is up to the jury to decide whether the plaintiff has met his or her burden of proof, but sometimes such matters are addressed during pre-trial proceedings before the judge of the court.
Facts of the Case
The plaintiff in the recently decided case of Monreal v. Dotsy was a man who was involved in a multi-vehicle, pile-up collision on the freeway. He filed suit against three other motorists who had been following him prior to the accident, asserting a claim of negligence against each of them. The driver of the fourth vehicle (a truck) in the line sought summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff had failed to prove causation against him. The plaintiff insisted that this defendant had failed to apply his brakes to avoid the accident, failed to maintain a clear distance, and failed to control his speed, each of which had proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
The trial court agreed with the defendant that the plaintiff had failed to show causation and entered an order granting that defendant summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed.
Ruling of the Appellate Court
The court affirmed on appeal. The plaintiff admitted that there had been two collisions (rather than a single crash) but insisted that the two impacts were the collision caused by the driver of the fourth vehicle and the collision in which the plaintiff was pushed into the vehicle in front of him by the first crash. However, the court noted that the plaintiff’s interrogatory responses indicated that he had been “rear ended and [his] car pushed into the car in front of [him]” and was then “hit again from behind.” Furthermore, the plaintiff testified in his deposition that he had been hit two times, a few seconds apart, and he did not know whether his injuries occurred due to the first or second collision.
Hire a Board-Certified East Texas Car Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident can change a person’s life in the blink of an eye. Debilitating medical injuries and a prolonged inability to work can result in substantial financial and mental stress on the victim and his or her family. If you have been hurt in a wreck and need dependable legal advice, call an experienced east Texas car and truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Earl Drott, P.C. at (903) 531-9300. We offer a free consultation and do not collect a legal fee unless and until your case is successfully resolved, so there is no reason to delay in getting started on your case.
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