Texas Court Allows Negligence Case to Go Forward in Car Accident Case

Car accidents occur all too frequently on roads and highways in East Texas and throughout the state. Unfortunately, many of these collisions cause innocent victims to sustain serious injuries, resulting in loss of work, medical bills, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

At the very least, an injured person may be entitled to recover compensation for his or her particular losses. But in order to achieve the best possible result, plaintiffs must comply with every applicable law and court rule. The failure to do so could result in the loss of an opportunity to be compensated for one’s injuries. In order to ensure that your case is appropriately filed, pleaded, and proved, you are encouraged to consult with an experienced injury attorney from the local East Texas area.

A recent Texas case is a good example of the need to follow local procedural laws when filing a car accident lawsuit. Here, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries in an automobile accident with the defendant on July 2, 2009. She waited until February 14, 2012 to file the lawsuit. Under Section 16.003 (a) of the Texas civil procedure code, plaintiffs must bring a personal injury lawsuit no later than two years after the date on which the cause of action arises. In her complaint, the plaintiff pleaded that the defendant resided in Oklahoma. Therefore, she argued that the statute of limitations period of two years was tolled, due to the defendant’s absence from the state.

In making this argument, the plaintiff relied in part on a related limitations statute that generally provides that a person’s absence from the state suspends (or tolls) the running of the applicable statute of limitations for the time period of the person’s absence. This provision serves to extend the time within which a plaintiff may file a personal injury lawsuit in certain circumstances. The defendant responded by denying the plaintiff’s allegations, and by arguing that her claims were barred by the statute of limitations. In the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, he did not address the plaintiff’s argument that the limitations period had been tolled.

The plaintiff responded by claiming that there were issues to be decided as to whether the defendant was a Texas resident, and whether the statute suspended the statute of limitations while he was out of the state. The defendant argued, among other things, that the evidence was insufficient to show that he was absent from the state since the date of the accident and that the statute did not apply to the facts in this case. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that there was a question of fact as to whether the defendant was outside Texas for an amount of time sufficient to toll the statute of limitations.

The court of appeals pointed out that the defendant had the burden to “negate the tolling provisions” set forth by the plaintiff and failed to do so. Furthermore, the court found that he failed to produce evidence concerning his absence or presence in Texas during the limitations time period. Based on these two findings, the court concluded that the defendant failed to establish his right to summary judgment under the circumstances and reversed the trial court’s decision, remanding the matter for further proceedings.

Here, the plaintiff was able to move forward with her case, due in part to a clear understanding of Texas’ procedural laws and how they affected her right to a recovery. An experienced injury attorney from East Texas would be able to assess your auto accident case and prepare a strategy to achieve the best possible settlement under the facts.

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