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traffic lightA recent Texas truck accident decision arose out of a pickup truck accident. An equipment company had employed a man as a driver. While driving in the course and scope of his employment in November 2012, the man got into an accident. At trial, the jury received conflicting evidence about what happened to cause the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries.

The plaintiff was driving east in a pickup one morning. When he came to an intersection with a yellow light, he slowed down, and the light turned red. The intersection was east of a school zone, where the speed limit was 30 mph. After he stopped, the plaintiff saw the equipment company employee driving toward him from behind in another pickup. The plaintiff estimated the other driver was moving at 45 mph when he struck the plaintiff’s truck from behind.

The impact was hard, according to the plaintiff. The plaintiff experienced pain in his neck, shoulders, and back, and he testified that the force pulled his seat loose from the hinges fixing it in place. He also presented deposition testimony from the other driver, in which the other driver admitted his fault and testified that he believed the plaintiff was hurt. He also presented the employer’s representative’s deposition testimony. The deponent testified that the employee had written out a statement in which he admitted that in his opinion, he was at fault for the accident, and the deponent testified that the employer agreed.

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rodeoIn a recent Texas premises liability lawsuit, the plaintiff sued a property owner for premises liability and negligence after tripping over a floor mat at a rodeo. The rodeo was operated at NRG Park for three weeks in March. NRG Park was made up of three entities (including a stadium, arena, and center) and owned by a corporation that hired a management company to oversee the daily operations of the NRG Park complex.

The center had concrete floors, and the management company was supposed to install rubber mats there based on the rodeo’s lease agreement. These mats were stored during times of non-operation. While the event was being prepared, the rodeo told the management company where to put the floor mats. These were unrolled and duct taped together. However, they were not taped to the floor.

After the rodeo started, the rodeo would have responsibility for maintaining the mats. The management company was supposed to assist by replacing tape where necessary.

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dogIn a recent Texas dog bite decision, the plaintiff sued after suffering injuries from a dog bite. The case arose in 2013 when he went with his girlfriend to the defendants’ house to meet the girlfriend’s father, who was staying with the defendants. He didn’t know the defendants, and the defendants didn’t know that either the plaintiff or his girlfriend were planning to come by the house.

The plaintiff and his girlfriend stood on the front porch and knocked. Nobody was home. After some time, the girlfriend opened the unlocked front door. The defendants’ dog, who was a 22-month-old Akita, came to the door. The plaintiff had stayed on the front porch and tried to shut the door when he saw the Akita. The dog went through the open door and bit him. Even though he was bitten, the plaintiff pushed the dog back into the house and shut the door. He had to go to the hospital.

He sued the defendants for negligent handling of an animal and for strict liability for a dangerous domesticated animal. He added negligence theories to an amended complaint. He claimed they were negligent per se for violating a duty set forth under section 822.042 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and that they should be held liable under premises liability law. He later amended again to add negligence per se. The trial court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion.

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ChevyA recent Texas wrongful death decision arose after a car salesman shot and killed his sales manager. One autumn, there was a confrontational sales meeting, and the salesman went into his manager’s office, took out a gun, and shot him. The sales manager died a few days later, and the salesman pled guilty to first-degree murder and went to prison on a life sentence. The manager’s family sued the salesman, as well as dealership-related entities and an employment screening company.

Back when the salesman applied at the dealership where he worked, the dealership used the services of a pre-employment background screening company to screen prospective employees. The company would interview a job applicant, perform a drug test and a criminal records check, and provide the results of the screening to the dealership. In this case, the screening company reported that there were no criminal records, and the drug test was negative. It also stated there was an inconsistency about why he left his earlier job.

The salesman was hired, and then he left on good terms and moved elsewhere. He worked at other car dealerships and then came back to Texas and applied for a sales job. He went through another screening and was hired, but he quit. He again applied with the dealership for a sales job and went through another screening.

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traffic signalIn a recent Texas car crash decision, the plaintiff claimed she was hit by a car while using the crosswalk by a courthouse. The traffic light was flashing a walk signal when she started crossing, but the intersection light also gave drivers a protected left turn across the crosswalk with a green left turn arrow. The defendant turned left and hit her.

The plaintiff sued the defendant for negligent driving, but she also sued the city, county, and Department of Transportation for negligence in connection with the signals. She nonsuited the county and the Department. She supplemented her claims against the city by claiming that the city had entered into an agreement with the state in 2001. In this agreement, the city had undertaken to change the traffic signals as necessary and agreed to provide traffic lights at different intersections, including the place where she’d been injured.

She claimed the city was aware there was an issue with the traffic signals because there had been a similar accident in 2012 involving a conflicting left turn signal and a walk signal. She claimed the city police had investigated that collision, thereby allowing the city to become aware of the issue. The plaintiff alleged that even though the city knew there was a problem, it had breached its duties by failing to resolve the issue. It had not properly programmed the lights, and it had not maintained the lights or provided a safe crossing. She claimed these negligent omissions were the legal cause of her accident. She also claimed negligence per se based on violations of the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices section 4D.05(F)(1)(2) and City of Edinburg Resolution No. 01-1611.

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car crashIn a recent Texas car accident case, the plaintiff appealed a summary judgment ruling that she take nothing in her claim. The case arose several years ago when the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff’s car on the MoPac expressway. In a week, she sued the defendant, claiming negligence and negligence per se based on his drunk driving.

When the lawsuit started, she was asking for personal injury damages. However, the defendant’s auto insurance carrier settled those claims. The property damage claims didn’t settle, and she amended her pleadings to get recovery of those damages. She’d bought her car about three weeks before the accident. It was purchased through an installment sales contract. The plaintiff made a down payment and agreed to satisfy the remaining balance through monthly payments.

The contract granted a security interest in the car to secure the plaintiff’s debt. The car was a total loss after the accident. The damages were the fair market value of the car immediately before the injury at the place where the injury happened. This is subject to a credit or offset in the amount of the car’s salvage value if the owner keeps the car.

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car accidentIn a recent Texas auto accident decision, a woman appealed from a take nothing judgment after a jury trial in her personal injury lawsuit against a defendant, claiming injuries when the defendant’s vehicle hit hers from behind. The jury decided that both parties had been negligent. They believed that the plaintiff had caused 51% of the accident, and the defendant had caused 49%. Accordingly, a take nothing judgment was rendered. She appealed.

The plaintiff claimed that the lower court had made a mistake in not admitting the defendant’s deposition testimony. She argued that if a party doesn’t appear at trial but appears to be deposed, the deposition transcript must be admitted.

The appellate court explained that whether evidence is admitted is within the lower court’s discretion. If a party introduces some recorded testimony, the other party asks questions. An adverse party can ask about any other subject. The adverse party is allowed to bring forward any other recording that is needed to explain or allow the jury to understand the section that the opponent introduced. The purpose of the rule is to protect against a distortion that could be created if part of the evidence is introduced.

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truck accidentIn a recent Texas wrongful death case, a car that drove into oil-based mud cuttings slid from the roadway and rolled over. A passenger was ejected and killed. An oil company had loaded mud into a dump trailer operated by an independent trucking company. Neither the trucking company nor the oil company had made sure the truckload of mud was adequately attached before the truck left the drill site.

The decedent’s parents, the next friend of her minor daughter, and the estate administrator sued the oil company and others for negligence. The oil company moved for summary judgment. It argued it didn’t have a duty to the decedent by law because the trucking company owed a non-delegable duty to secure the load, and its internal policies didn’t generate a duty to secure an independent contractor’s load. It also argued it wasn’t foreseeable that the trucking company would act negligently. The trial court granted the motion.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that it was an error for the lower court to grant summary judgment based on the argument the oil company didn’t have a duty to secure the mud load. The oil company needed to present evidence to show it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The appellate court explained the parties hadn’t relied on conflicting evidence. An oil company operated a drilling rig and hired another oil company to control solids. The solids control operator provided evidence that he owed a duty to load trailers transporting mud from the drill site and that he hadn’t relied on the driver of the trailer for how to load the trailer.

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railroad crossingIn a recent Texas train accident case, the plaintiffs appealed a summary judgment granted in favor of a railroad company and a corporation. The railroad company claimed that the plaintiff driver had caused a crash with its train by failing to yield the right of way at an intersection of tracks and highway. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff had been warned of a crossing by a black and white railroad crossing sign, but he ignored the warning and stopped in such a way that he blocked the tracks.

The railroad company claimed the plaintiff was negligent and negligent per se. The driver answered the petition and raised affirmative defenses. Later, the driver counterclaimed, arguing the railroad company had legally caused him disabling injuries. He raised respondeat superior, negligence, negligence per se, and gross negligence as theories of recovery. After that, the parties filed amended petitions to add the plaintiff driver as a co-plaintiff against the railroad company and corporation.

The railroad company moved for summary judgment, arguing it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff had stopped the car he was driving in such a way that he parked the trailer on the tracks and failed to provide the right of way to the train. The driver responded to the motion but attached no evidence. Later, he filed a statement and an actuarial report.

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car accidentIn a recent Texas car accident case, the jury found the defendant’s negligence legally caused the accident and the injuries that the victim suffered. The jury awarded the plaintiff $15,000 for past medical expenses and $10,000 for future medical expenses. Past pain and suffering was valued at $6,000, but nothing was awarded for future pain and suffering. The lower court entered judgment for $31,000, plus prejudgment interest and taxable court costs.

The plaintiff appealed. She argued that the jury’s failure to award anything for future pain and suffering cut against the great weight and preponderance of evidence. She argued that she’d presented future medical expenses evidence and that all future medical expenses would be incurred for the purposes of treating her future pain and suffering. Since she’d been awarded $10,000 for future medical expenses, she believed it was inconsistent for the jury to award nothing for future pain and suffering.

The appellate court explained it would only reverse if the verdict was so against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence that it was manifestly unjust or shocking to the conscience. The jury is the only judge of whether the witnesses are credible or not.

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