In most cases arising out of car accidents, while liability may be disputed, it is clear who was involved in the collision. In some matters, however, the identity of the driver that caused a crash may be disputed as well. As demonstrated in Felipe Martinez Rubio v. Paul Shields No. 01-22-00084-CV, if a plaintiff cannot prove that the defendant was operating the vehicle involved in an accident at the time the accident occurred, the court is likely to dismiss their case. If you were hurt in a collision caused by another driver, it is prudent to talk to a Texas car accident attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries when the car he was driving was struck by a vehicle owned by the defendant. The plaintiff instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he negligently operated his vehicle, thereby causing the accident and the plaintiff’s harm. During the course of discovery, the defendant admitted that he owned the car involved in the crash but denied that he was driving it when the incident occurred.
Allegedly, the defendant indicated that his nephew was the person responsible for the collision. The defendant ultimately moved for a no-evidence summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that he was driving the car at the time of the crash or caused the plaintiff’s harm. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
No-Evidence Summary Judgment
On appeal, the plaintiff averred that the trial court erred in awarding a no-evidence summary judgment. The court disagreed and affirmed the trial court ruling. In its opinion, the court explained that after discovery, a party might move for summary judgment on the grounds that there is no evidence of one or more elements of the claim that the nonmoving party would be required to prove at trial.
Essentially, a no-evidence summary judgment is akin to a directed verdict prior to trial. In order to defeat a no-evidence summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party must offer sufficient evidence to demonstrate that a triable issue of fact exists as to each of the challenged elements of their claim.
In the subject case, the court noted that the plaintiff based his claims on the grounds that the defendant breached the standard of care imposed on a driver but neglected to show that he actually operated the vehicle at the time of the crash. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Meet with a Skilled Texas Attorney to Discuss Your Case
A person injured in a car accident may be awarded damages for their economic and noneconomic harm, but only if they establish that another party is responsible for their losses. If you were injured in a car crash, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to discuss what evidence you must offer to recover compensation. Earl Drott is a skilled Texas attorney who can assess the facts of your case and develop a strategy designed to help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Drott via the online form or by calling him at 903-531-9300 to set up a free meeting.