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stepsIn Kalinchuk v. JP Sanchez Construction Co., a Texas plaintiff appealed summary judgment in favor of the defendant, a construction company. The case arose when a city hired a construction company to renovate one of its baseball fields. The city asked the construction company to move bleachers during the renovation, and two of the company’s employers did so with a forklift.

The plaintiff was a welder hired by the city who was asked to break the bleachers into smaller sections. While he was working, the bleachers fell on his back, causing an injury. He sued the construction company, alleging they were negligent and grossly negligent for failing to take sufficient precautions to make sure he was safe when moving the bleachers.

The construction company moved for summary judgment. It argued that it didn’t owe a duty to the plaintiff as a matter of law because it didn’t employ or exercise control over the plaintiff. It also argued that the plaintiff had only produced a scintilla of evidence to show there was a duty, a breach of duty, and causation. The plaintiff’s response included deposition testimony from the plaintiff, construction company employees, and his supervisor. The trial court granted summary judgment nonetheless, although it didn’t state the reason for its decision.

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dogIn Ingels v. Earnest, a plaintiff appealed a judgment that awarded her nothing in a personal injury lawsuit. The case arose when the plaintiff stopped on the freeway because of road construction. She was rear-ended by the defendant. However, neither of the drivers felt they needed help from the police or doctors, so they drove away from the accident and continued with their day.

A few weeks later, the plaintiff’s shoulder hurt, so she contacted a doctor. The doctor diagnosed her with a torn rotator cuff a few weeks after that. He recommended she undergo surgery, and she agreed. Her shoulder continued to hurt, and the doctor believed she would need more surgeries in the future. The plaintiff believed the injury was caused by the auto accident. She sued the defendant for negligence. At trial, she asked for damages based on disfigurement, medical care, physical impairment, and pain and mental anguish. The defendant argued damages weren’t appropriate unless the jury found that the injury was caused by the accident. The jury did not award her damages, and the court entered judgment accordingly.

The plaintiff asked for a new trial, but the court did not grant the motion. She appealed, arguing that the evidence was not enough to support the finding that there were no damages for her pain, impairment, disfigurement, and medical treatment. She also claimed that in response to the accident, her shoulder was actually hurt by restraining her dog during the accident.

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hospitalBansal v. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is a wrongful death and survival action that arose out of the death of a stage IV colon cancer patient. The decedent was brought into the cancer center at the University of Texas with various symptoms, and he died a week later.

The decedent’s father and wife sued the center. They alleged that the center didn’t stabilize the decedent or relieve his pain after the oncologist determined chemotherapy hadn’t worked. The decedent died less than 24 hours after the center reduced its care. The plaintiffs claimed negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, and a violation of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).

Under EMTALA, if someone comes to a hospital, and it determines that the person has an emergency medical condition, the hospital needs to provide further examination and treatment to stabilize the patient or transfer him to another facility with certain conditions. When a hospital participates in receiving Medicare payments, someone harmed by the hospital’s violation of EMTALA can sue the hospital and receive personal injury damages that are available under state law.

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TIRE DEFECTS LINKED TO MORE AND MORE TRAGIC ACCIDENTS

Call our Law Firm for more information at 1-800-862-1260.

The sudden separation of the outermost tread from the main body of the tire causes a rapid decrease in tire pressure or a blowout. Either situation can send the vehicle out of control or into a rollover accident, which can be lethal. National manufacturers such as Goodyear and Firestone have produced defective tires that failed, causing injurious and fatal accidents.

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carIn Gonzalez v. Villafana, the plaintiff sued the defendants for damages suffered in a car crash with a car operated by Nestor Villafana but owned by Ramon Walle. The case arose when Walle, a muffler shop owner, visited a friend at his tire shop, hoping to talk about buying some land from the friend. Villafana was also a friend of the tire shop owner visiting the shop. Walle was in the shop for 30 minutes when his wife called to tell him about a customer at the muffler shop. Villafana asked for a ride to the muffler shop so that he could get a taco nearby.

Walle drove him. At the muffler shop, both men left the car, with Walle assuming Villafana would go get something to eat. Walle left his keys in the ignition. However, 30 minutes later, another friend called to tell him he’d seen his car in an accident. Villafana had been driving the car. Walle didn’t know the car was gone until he was informed about the accident.

The plaintiff sued Walle for negligent entrustment and Villafana for negligence. Walle filed for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion and severed the plaintiff’s claims against Walle from the claims against Villafana so that the judgment was final as to Walle.

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construction zoneIn Brown v. RK Hall Construction, Ltd., a 21-year-old plaintiff drank alcohol at a friend’s house and then tried to drive home shortly after midnight. The plaintiff drove into a construction zone, hit a piece of construction machinery that was parked in an area surrounded by a barricade away from the traffic lane, and suffered serious injuries.

A trooper came to the scene and reported that she’d ignored a warning sign and drove into the barricaded area. The plaintiff argued that she saw the barricades, but they were in the middle of the highway and didn’t show which lane was closed. She sued the contractors, RK Hall and Stacy Lyon, for negligently failing to generate and implement a plan for traffic safety. The contractors argued in response that they’d complied with the Texas Department of Transportation Traffic Control Plan for the project. The trial court agreed with the contractors and granted summary judgment for them.

The plaintiff appealed. The appellate court explained that contractors that repair roads for the state must conform to the specifications of the governmental unit supervising the work. A contractor for the Texas Department of Transportation that substantially complies with contract documents is immune from liability in personal injury lawsuits brought as a result of the work.

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truck accidentIn Swearinger v. Guajardo, the plaintiff was hurt when a truck driven by the defendant and owned by United Van Lines hit his car. The plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence and brought in the defendant’s employer under a theory of respondeat superior and negligent entrustment.

The jury found the defendant employee negligent and awarded the plaintiff damages for past physical pain and mental anguish, future physical pain and mental anguish, and past and future physical impairment. The defendant and his employer filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.

The defendant and the employer appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury’s damages award. The appellate court explained that it would sustain a no-evidence challenge on appeal when there is no evidence or only a scintilla of evidence to support a vital fact, the court is barred from giving weight to that evidence, or it conclusively establishes the opposite of the vital fact.

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Common Links to More and More Trucking Accidents

For more information about common links and the underlying causes of accidents involving 18 wheelers call Carabin Shaw at 1-800-862-1260. The call is free, the consultation is free.

With a 20% increase in trucking accidents over the last two decades according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), there are more and more trucking accidents occurring across Texas.

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truckIn the 2016 case of Rayner v. Dillon, a Texas Court of Appeals considered a truck accident case involving the long-haul driver of a tractor-trailer rig who had years of gaps and mistakes in his required driving logs. The driver had 30 years of experience as of the date of the accident, and he was hired by his employer three years before the accident.

The case arose when the truck driver hit the left-rear of a woman’s car on I-30 after changing from the center to the right lane. The woman initially refused medical care but went to the ER that night, complaining about pain in her head, neck, and lower back. She eventually had an anterior cervical discectomy and other spinal surgeries. She sued the truck driver and his employer for personal injuries. The driver argued that she was in his blind spot. He had received a citation for changing lanes unsafely.

In order to recover exemplary damages, a plaintiff must prove gross negligence by the defendant. The plaintiff in the current case presented evidence to support a claim of gross negligence. This evidence included the driver’s repeated falsification of his log book, admissions by the employer that the driver was the second-worst perpetrator of log book violations among its employee drivers but was not terminated, and 48 safety-related violations by the employer’s drivers in April 2010, among other egregious actions. The plaintiff was awarded over $1 million in compensatory damages as well as exemplary damages of $2,000 against the driver and more than $1 million against the driver’s employer. The jury found gross negligence by both the driver and the employer.

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truck-accident-584005-m-2In Imamovic v. Milstead, a Texas appellate court considered a rear-ending case in which the jury awarded zero damages. The case arose when the 42-year-old plaintiff was working as a vehicle-for-hire inspector for a city, traveling around the city to inspect cabs, limos, and buses. While she was stopped in her Prius at a red light, a truck struck her car from behind. She claimed the force caused her to want to black out. Later, an investigator concluded that both her car and the truck were stopped at a red light when the truck moved and hit the back of the car.

When the police responded to the scene, the plaintiff told them she didn’t need medical care, and she drove away in her Prius. She woke up feeling sore, and the day after that, the pain in her neck was unbearable. She made an appointment with a doctor who worked for her primary medical provider. He prescribed her pain medication and anti-inflammatories and ordered x-rays. The plaintiff claimed the doctor ordered physical therapy, but the doctor didn’t note this order.

The doctor’s notes said he put the plaintiff on light transitional duty and told her to come back for follow-up. She went to physical therapy but didn’t go back to work and waited two months before coming back to see the doctor. Her excuse when testifying was that she didn’t think the doctor would do anything for her, and she didn’t control when the medical center scheduled its appointments. Continue reading →