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Federal Appellate Court Permits State Trooper to Testify as Plaintiff’s Expert in Recent Texas Truck Accident

Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a Texas truck accident requiring the court to determine if the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff should be reversed based on inadmissible expert testimony from a state trooper. Ultimately, the court concluded that the trial court correctly admitted the trooper’s testimony; however, the court remanded the case on an unrelated issue so that the plaintiff’s damages could be recalculated.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a truck driver who was involved in a serious Texas truck accident when a truck traveling in the opposite direction crossed over the center median and crashed head-on into the plaintiff’s truck. The collision caused a massive explosion, resulting in the plaintiff being severely burned. The driver of the out-of-control truck died in the accident. The plaintiff proceeded with a personal injury claim against the company that hired the truck driver to transport the load he was carrying at the time of the accident.

At trial, the plaintiff presented testimony from the state trooper who first responded to the scene. Apparently, the trooper was behind the at-fault truck driver and saw the explosion from a distance. The trooper testified regarding his on-scene investigation immediately after the accident. Among the issues the trooper mentioned were the road conditions, the fact that the truck driver was using a cell phone at the time of the crash, and his belief that the truck had hydroplaned causing the driver to lose control. The trooper could not estimate how much the truck weighed or how fast it was traveling.

Over defense objection, the court allowed the trooper’s testimony and the jury ultimately returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed several issues, including the admissibility of the trooper’s testimony. Specifically, the defendant claimed that the trooper’s testimony was irrelevant.

The Court’s Analysis

The court concluded that the trooper’s testimony was relevant and admissible. The court reasoned that the trooper was the closest person to the scene at the time of the accident, as well as the first responder. The court was not concerned that the trooper could not provide all measurements or eliminate all potential causes of the crash, explaining that the defendant’s concerns were properly seen as a challenge to the weight the trooper’s testimony should be given, rather than its admissibility.

Based on an unrelated claim of error, the court remanded the case so that a portion of the damages could be recalculated.

Have You Been Injured in a Texas Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Texas truck accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a Texas personal injury lawsuit. At the law firm of Carabin Shaw, we represent injury victims across Texas in all types of personal injury claims, including Texas auto accidents. To learn more about how we can help you recover for the injuries you have sustained, call 800-862-1260 to schedule a free consultation today.

Related Posts:

The Legal Doctrine of Negligent Entrustment in Texas Car Accident Cases, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, December 11, 2018

Extension to Fix Expert Report Deficiencies in Texas, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, April 30, 2018

Court Finds State Liable for Injuries Caused by Drop-off on Road’s Edge, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, October 19, 2018