Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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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stop signIn a recent Texas car accident case, the court considered a personal injury lawsuit that arose when the defendant ran a stop sign and crashed into the plaintiff. The defendant was visiting his brother from the UK, and he ran a stop sign. His car hit the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff went to the ER, but the defendant walked away unscathed. The accident happened near a home.

The neighbors had a tree in their yard that the defendant told police blocked his view of the stop sign. The cop had not heard of any prior accidents at the intersection, and he’d never pulled anyone over for running that stop sign.

The plaintiff and his wife sued the defendant. The defendant designated the city and the property owners whose trees blocked the sign as responsible third parties. He argued that it was their negligent failure to trim the trees that was the legal cause of the accident.

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seatbeltIn a recent Texas wrongful death case, the plaintiffs claimed that at about 3:30 in the morning, a police officer put the decedent in the back of a patrol car. She wasn’t seatbelted in, or else she wasn’t properly seatbelted. The defendant’s car hit the patrol car in an intersection after running a red light. As a result, the decedent was thrown from the patrol car and suffered serious and ultimately fatal injuries.

The defendant admitted to officers she’d just left a bar nearby. She was taken to a hospital and determined to be drunk. The decedent’s family filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging the officer acted within the course and scope of her employment with the city. According to the plaintiffs, the officer was driving a city-owned car, negligently failed to use a seatbelt on the decedent, which allowed her to be thrown out of the patrol car, and failed to keep a lookout. The lawsuit also alleged the officer failed to slow, failed to hit the brakes appropriately, failed to take evasive action, handcuffed the decedent when she wasn’t under arrest, didn’t follow proper procedures related to seatbelts, and improperly provided police protection. The plaintiffs argued that the officer’s negligence was the legal cause of the decedent’s death, and the City was vicariously liable.

The plaintiffs claimed that the city had waived governmental immunity for a death caused by the use of tangible personal property like handcuffs and damages resulting from governmental functions like police protection. The City argued there was no subject matter jurisdiction. It argued that the officer had received a call about a suspected drunk driver and found the decedent sitting next to her car so drunk she couldn’t stand up. The officer was taking her to the Sobering Center. The drunk driver later pled guilty to intoxication manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. The city argued that it was undisputed the drunk driver caused the accident, so the city hadn’t waived its Texas Tort Claims Act immunity based on the officer’s use of the car.

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highwayIn a recent Texas appellate case, the representative of a decedent’s estate appealed a judgment in favor of the defendant. She argued that the court had abused its discretion by admitting the defendant’s written statement when it wasn’t properly notarized.

The case arose when a university student was driving on I-10 toward Houston. At around 5:30 in the morning, the defendant got on I-10 and began traveling west ahead of the student’s car. The student was traveling faster than the defendant and came up to his vehicle from behind. Later, the parties disagreed about what had happened, but the defendant’s car swerved, hit the concrete barrier, and rolled over, landing upside down. The cars didn’t collide, but the student was thrown from his car and died at the scene.

The decedent’s mother sued the defendant in a wrongful death and survival action, claiming negligence and gross negligence. The defendant was granted partial summary judgment with regard to the mother’s claims for punitive damages and damages under the survival statute.

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woodsIn a recent Texas appellate case, four people sued the City of Austin under the Texas Tort Claims Act and the recreational use statute. The case arose when a man driving under the influence drove off the street, jumped a curb, and drove onto a hiking and biking trail next to the road. The car and a traffic warning sign struck and killed two people who were walking, a man and a woman. The man died due to his injuries. The drunk driver was sentenced to five years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The man’s survivors sued the drunk driver and the city. Against the city, they asserted claims of gross negligence, negligence, premises defect, and special defect and argued that the city had breached its duties under the recreational use statute. They claimed that the city failed to safely build the trail, knew of previous incidents when vehicles traveled over the curb and onto the trail in the same location, and failed to appropriately warn or repair the dangerous condition. They also argued that the city maintained policies that required it to repair the problem once a danger was identified and that their failure to build a barrier was a failure to carry out a ministerial action that the city’s own policies required.

The city claimed that governmental immunity barred the plaintiffs’ claims, since sovereign immunity wasn’t waived for its discretionary choices related to the design of the road and the safety features to be installed. The plaintiffs responded that there was no immunity because the failure to fix the danger on the trail was a negligent failure to implement its own policy, rather than an initial design or policy choice for which there was immunity.

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bike laneIn a Texas appellate case, two people sued Austin Energy and the City of Austin under the Texas Tort Claims Act for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident they claimed was due to a special defect. The two plaintiffs were riding bikes in the bike lane in the city during midday. As they came to an intersection, they came to a part of the bike lane that was partially covered by overgrown vegetation coming from a home.

The two stopped in the shade of the overgrown vegetation to drink water. Soon thereafter, a driver in a car drove across the solid white lane into the bike lane and hit the plaintiffs. They were hurt and had to go to the hospital by ambulance. The driver told the police she didn’t see the plaintiffs and didn’t know if the sun was in her face, even though the sunlight wasn’t coming from the direction she was facing.

The plaintiffs claimed that the overgrown vegetation was a special defect, and the city failed to maintain the right of way and keep it free from such obstructions. The city claimed it kept its immunity because the vegetation didn’t count as a special defect, and there was no way to amend the pleadings to establish a defect.

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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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