Texas Court Discusses Grounds for Reversing a Jury’s Verdict in a Car Accident Case

In Texas lawsuits arising out of collisions, a plaintiff generally must establish two elements to prevail: liability and damages. In other words, even if a plaintiff proves that the defendant caused a collision, they may not ultimately be awarded significant compensation if they cannot also demonstrate that the collision caused them to suffer measurable harm. The importance of proving both liability and damages was illustrated in a recent Texas case, Danae Ruth McGann v. Hannah J. Lilly (No. 05-22-00455-CV), in which the jury found in favor of the plaintiff but awarded her nominal damages. If you sustained injuries in a collision caused by a reckless driver, it is in your best interest to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer about your potential claims.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident. The plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence related to the crash, claiming the collision caused her debilitating post-concussion syndrome. At trial, the plaintiff presented expert testimony from several medical providers who treated her after the accident and attributed her symptoms to a traumatic brain injury from the collision. In response, the defendant elicited evidence that the plaintiff had inconsistently testified about her pre-accident conditions and symptoms and had withheld relevant medical history from post-accident treaters.

It is also reported that the defendant also presented expert testimony from a physician and accident reconstructionist, who opined, based on the accident forces and the plaintiff’s pre-existing conditions, that the collision did not cause her alleged injuries. He testified her symptoms predated the accident and that secondary gain was a factor. The jury awarded limited damages to the plaintiff, who appealed the judgment.

Grounds for Reversing a Jury’s Verdict in a Car Accident Case

On appeal, the court affirmed the judgment, except as modified to award costs to the plaintiff. In doing so, it explained that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate any reversible error in the trial court’s evidentiary rulings that she challenged on appeal. In other words, the court held that the trial court acted within its discretion in allowing the defense expert’s accident reconstruction and medical causation testimony, rejecting the plaintiff’s assertions that he was unqualified and his opinions unreliable. Further, the court found his methodology accepted in the field and his opinions supported by the evidence.

The court modified the judgment solely to award costs to the plaintiff, finding that as the prevailing party on a negligence claim, she was entitled to costs under the rules of civil procedure. The court otherwise affirmed the judgment.

Meet with an Experienced Texas Attorney

Car accidents can cause substantial injuries and financial losses, and people who cause such harm should be held accountable. If you sustained losses in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, it is crucial to meet with an attorney to discuss what steps you can take to protect your rights. Earl Drott is an experienced Texas car accident attorney with the skills and knowledge needed to help you seek a favorable outcome, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Drott via the online form or at 903-531-9300 to set up a free meeting.

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