Texas Court Discusses When a Writ of Mandamus is Appropriate is a Car Accident Case

In cases arising out of car accidents, juries are typically tasked with determining not only liability but also damages. To support their claims and defenses, parties will often employ experts to testify on certain issues like what medical treatment and costs were reasonable and necessary. Thus, if a trial court issues an order precluding an expert from testifying, it may greatly impair a party’s case. Recently, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a ruling in In re Alexander Guevara and Jose Alfredo Guevara (05-19-01049-CV), describing the recourse available for a party who has been denied the right to present expert testimony. If you were hurt in a collision, it is advisable to speak to a skillful Texas car accident attorney about your potential claims.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were involved in a collision in which the plaintiff suffered bodily harm. Following the accident, the plaintiff sought treatment for his injuries. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver asserting negligence claims. Prior to trial, the plaintiff submitted an expert affidavit averring that his medical care was necessary and the cost of his care was reasonable. The defendant filed counter-affidavits challenging the necessity and reasonableness of the plaintiff’s medical expenses as set forth in his expert affidavits.

Allegedly, the plaintiff moved to strike the defendant’s expert affidavits and preclude his expert, a chiropractor, from testifying, arguing the expert was not qualified and that his opinions were not based on a reliable foundation and were conclusory. The trial court granted the motion. The defendant then petitioned the Supreme Court of Texas, seeking review of the trial court’s order striking the affidavit.

When a Writ of Mandamus is Appropriate

The Court noted that it recently held that mandamus relief should be granted when a trial court issues an order under section 18.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code that impairs or critically compromises a party’s defense by barring the party that submitted the counter affidavit from otherwise disputing the necessity or reasonableness of the plaintiff’s medical expenses at trial.

Here, the Court explained that the trial court’s order granting the plaintiff’s motion effectively barred the defendant from introducing arguments or evidence that the plaintiff’s medical expenses were not necessary or reasonable. Thus, consistent with Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.8(c), the Court conditionally granted the defendant’s petition for writ of mandamus and directed the trial court to vacate its order. The Court did not bar the plaintiff from re-filing a motion to challenge the sufficiency of the defendant’s expert affidavit, however.

Speak to an Experienced Texas Attorney

Car accidents often cause painful injuries that require costly treatment, and people hurt in collisions caused by negligent drivers have the right to pursue compensation. If you were injured in a crash, you could be owed damages for your economic losses and other harm, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Earl Drott is an experienced auto accident attorney who can advise you of your rights and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable outcome. You can contact Mr. Drott via the online form or at 903-531-9300 to set up a free consultation.


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