Texas Court Discusses Claims Against Engineers in Car Accident Cases

Most car accidents that occur in Texas are caused to some degree by negligence. While in many instances, the negligent act that causes a collision is careless driving, in some cases, the negligent performance of professional duties, such as designing and executing traffic plans, may be to blame. While injured parties have the right to pursue claims against engineering firms and other negligent parties that may have contributed to their harm, they must meet any applicable procedural requirements; otherwise, their claims may be dismissed, as illustrated in a recent Texas case, Lina T. Ramey & Associates, Inc. v. Dana Wilkie, et al. No. 05-23-00562-CV. If you were hurt in a collision brought about by another party’s carelessness, it is smart to talk to a Texas car accident attorney about what steps you can take to protect your rights.

Factual History of the Case and Procedural Background

It is reported that the decedent was involved in a head-on collision with another driver in March 2021 on a portion of a Texas highway that was under construction. The plaintiffs, representatives of the decedent’s estate, sued the defendant, a civil engineering firm involved in the traffic control plan for the construction. The plaintiffs alleged negligence and premises liability, asserting that the defendants’ flawed plan caused the collision.

Allegedly, the defendants moved to dismiss, arguing non-compliance with section 150.002 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as the plaintiffs’ complaint was not accompanied by a certificate of merit signed by a licensed Texas engineer. The plaintiffs contended a certificate of merit wasn’t needed for claims related to the defendant’s failure to inspect the site, as it wasn’t engineering design. The trial partially granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, allowing the claims related to lane markings to proceed, and the defendant appealed.

Claims Against Engineers in Car Accident Cases

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling, finding that all of the claims against the defendant should be dismissed. In doing so, the court examined whether claims against the defendants arose from the provision of professional services, requiring a certificate of merit.

In support of its position, the defendant argued that even site inspections constituted professional services. The court referred to the Texas Occupations Code’s definition of engineering practice and analyzed appellees’ pleadings. It concluded that claims about inspections were tied to the defendants’ engineering services, as part of the traffic control plan implementation.

Therefore, as the plaintiff failed to comply with section 150.002, the court ruled in favor of the defendants, reversing the trial court’s decision and remanding for a determination of dismissal.

Meet with an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney Today

Numerous factors can bring about collisions, but the root cause of most accidents is negligence. If you suffered harm in a car crash, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to assess your options. Earl Drott is an experienced Texas attorney who can inform you of what claims you may be able to pursue and help you seek any damages you may be owed. You can reach Mr. Drott for a free consultation through the online form or at 903-531-9300.

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