Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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car accidentIn a recent Texas appellate case, a woman sued her daughter and the defendant for a car accident that happened in 2010. The case arose when the defendant’s pickup hit the front of the daughter’s pickup on the street near the boyfriend’s house. The plaintiff and her daughter’s son were in the daughter’s pickup as passengers.

The defendant had backed out of his driveway and gone halfway down the block when the daughter’s pickup hit his truck from behind. He later testified he hadn’t put his truck in reverse during the trip after backing out of the driveway and wasn’t on his phone.

The daughter claimed that after turning left onto the street where the accident happened, she saw the defendant’s truck driving down the street. He stopped, reversed, and backed up. The daughter put her car in park and honked.

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pickup truckIn Aguirre v. Soto, the court considered whether the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support an award of $40,000 to the plaintiff for future medical expenses after a car accident. The case arose when the defendant, driving a pickup, ran a stop sign and crashed into a car driven by the plaintiff. The plaintiff didn’t get medical treatment at the scene but went to the doctor after suffering pain in his lower back, shoulders, and neck. The plaintiff sued the defendant, and the defendant agreed he was liable, so the issue at trial was damages.

At trial, pictures of damaged vehicles were introduced into evidence. The plaintiff testified he hadn’t had pain before the crash, but after the accident, his pain was eight out of 10. He went to a chiropractor, who treated him for about a month and then wrote a report saying no further treatment was necessary. However, the report showed he still had ongoing pain, and the plaintiff testified that his pain was at an eight when he stopped getting treated. He tried to get medical treatment, and an MRI showed he had a disc herniation.

A doctor prepared a report that summarized his status, stating that he might need more diagnostics and further rehabilitative care, and eventually referred him to an anesthesiologist, who recommended injections. The plaintiff tried not to undergo injections for fear of potential paralysis and was then referred to a neurosurgeon, who recommended a surgical procedure.

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carIn Liang v. Edwards, a Texas appellate court considered a car accident case in which the jury found for the plaintiff, awarding her $5,000 for her past pain and suffering and more than $20,000 for her past medical bills. The case arose when the defendant hit the plaintiff’s car. She was driving within the speed limit but admitted the plaintiff did nothing wrong, and the officer found she was at fault.

The plaintiff’s husband drove her home, and she slept for hours. She went to the ER after she woke up and had suffered a neck sprain and concussion. She followed up with her doctor, and two days later, she visited a chiropractor and a physical therapist. She received physical therapy as well as chiropractic adjustments and other therapies from the doctor 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks.

Once she was finished with that, she went to a pain management specialist, who gave her an epidural steroid injection for her pain and later gave her a second one. She testified that she suffered through occasional pain after that and continued with the therapy because she was experiencing pain.

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fire truckIn Freer Volunteer Fire Department v. Wallace, a Texas appellate court considered a sovereign immunity case. The case arose when an ambulance driver was driving a man who was suspected to be having a heart attack to the hospital in an ambulance owned by the Freer Volunteer Fire Department. The ambulance hit the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff’s daughter was a passenger in the car.

The plaintiff sued the driver and the city, claiming that the driver’s negligence injured her and her daughter. The driver filed an answer, claiming to be in the course and scope of his employment as a volunteer fireman and arguing he was immune from suit. The plaintiff added the Freer Volunteer Fire Department as a defendant. It filed an answer, also claiming that the driver was in the course and scope of his employment as a volunteer for it and that it was immune from suit. The plaintiff amended her petition again to drop the city as a defendant.

The driver and the Freer Volunteer Fire Department moved jointly to dismiss the driver under section 101.106(e) of the Texas Tort Claims Act (“Act”). This code section specifies that if a lawsuit is filed against a governmental unit and its employees, the employees must be immediately dismissed once the governmental unit files a motion for dismissal. In this case, the motion stated the driver was a volunteer employee and asked for dismissal. The plaintiff did amend and dropped the driver as a defendant.

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car mirrorIn Pattillo v. Franco, the plaintiff sued the defendant for damages sustained in a car accident. The jury didn’t award damages, and the plaintiff argued on appeal that the trial court had made a mistake in refusing to submit requested instructions regarding the eggshell-skull rule and circumstantial evidence.

The case arose in 2010 when the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff in stop-and-go traffic. The plaintiff claimed she was okay. Since there was not much damage, they exchanged insurance information and then continued on their way.

Three weeks later, the plaintiff went to a chiropractor, claiming she’d hurt her back in a car accident. She was later diagnosed with a lumbar herniated disc and received epidural steroidal injections in 2011. However, she had no medical treatment for her back during the following two years. She received a third epidural steroidal injection in 2014.

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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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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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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 →

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highway-1536866-e1462296828279In Hoke v. The Campbell Group, LLC, the plaintiff appealed the granting of summary judgment to defendants The Campbell Group, LLC and Crown Pine Timber 1, L.P. in a premises liability lawsuit. The case arose when the plaintiff’s car crashed into a logging truck while they were both traveling on Highway 96.

The plaintiff was in the right lane, and the logging truck was in the left. The truck tried to turn onto a private logging road that was owned and managed by the defendants. It turned in front of the plaintiff and hit the brakes, thereby stopping in the road. The plaintiff hit the back of the truck and suffered injuries.

She sued, alleging that (1) the defendants failed to use adequate signs to warn the public of any unusual commercial activity, (2) the defendants failed to inspect the site for possible hazards that would interfere with those traveling through the area, (3) the defendants failed to use a safe worksite plan to reduce hazards to the public, and (4) the defendants failed to provide a safe entrance for logging trucks trying to get onto their property. The petition didn’t reference negligence per se, negligent activity, or any statute.

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