Showing 8 posts in Trucking / Transportation.

Drivers’ Liability: The Unavoidable Accident Defense

Texas courts acknowledge an automobile collision may be an “unavoidable accident,” which is defined as “an event not proximately caused by the negligence of any party to it.”[1] Stated differently, an unavoidable accident “is an accident that ordinary care and diligence could not have prevented, or one which could not have been foreseen or prevented by the exercise of reasonable precautions.”[2] Under Texas law, unforeseeable loss of consciousness can be considered an unavoidable accident.[3] The purpose of an unavoidable accident instruction “is to ensure that the jury will understand that ‘they do not necessarily have to find that one or the other parties to the suit was to blame for the occurrence complained of.’”[4] Read More ›

Designating Unknown Responsible Third Parties: How to Properly Designate an Unknown Driver

A responsible third-party is any person who is alleged to have caused or contributed in any way to causing the harm for which recovery of damages is sought.  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 33.011.  When a party moves to designate an unknown person as a responsible third-party, Texas law provides additional requirements on the designating party.  Accordingly, in a case stemming from an automobile collision, a party attempting to designate an unknown driver as a responsible third party must be aware of all requirements Texas law provides. Read More ›

The Borrowed Servant Doctrine – At What Point Will the General Employer’s Liability Be Severed?

Introduction: The Borrowed Servant Doctrine

The borrowed servant doctrine is applicable to situations where one employer loans its employee to another employer.[1]  Whether the employee is a borrowed servant of another “hinges on whether the other employer or its agents have the right to direct and control the employee with respect to the details of the particular work at issue.”[2]  The doctrine is based upon respondeat superior, “the concept by which the master is vicariously liable for a servant’s torts committed in the course and scope of employment.”[3] Read More ›

Graves Amendment

The Graves Amendment, found in the Federal Transportation Equity Act of 2005, created immunity for vehicle lessors as to claims of vicarious liability arising out of the lessee's conduct during the rental period.

The relevant subsections of the Graves Amendment read as follows: Read More ›

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 82.008: A Shield for Manufacturers in Design-Defect Causes of Action?


Enacted in 2003 as part of a legislative effort to shield manufacturers from liability in cases where they complied with all applicable federal safety standards, Section 82.008 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code ("Section 82.008") provides a rebuttable presumption for manufacturers who are defendants in a products liability design-defect suit.[1] Read More ›

House Bill 62: Texting Ban and the Standard It Sets


On September 1, 2017, Texas House Bill 62 (“HB 62”) will go into effect, prohibiting reading, writing or sending electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle.[1]  In a civil action following a motor vehicle accident, if a plaintiff can prove a driver violated this law, they will no longer be tasked with establishing a duty and breach, as required in a negligence cause of action.  Instead, under negligence per se, plaintiffs are relieved of proving a reasonable person would have acted differently.  HB 62 sets the standard of care and plaintiffs must simply prove the violation was the proximate cause of the resulting damages. Read More ›

Admissibility of Police Officer Conclusions Contained in an Accident Report

As a general rule, police officers are not qualified to render opinions regarding causation or fault merely because they are police officers. Rather, a police officer can only provide opinions pertaining to causation or fault if they are trained in the science and possess the high degree of knowledge sufficient to qualify as an accident reconstruction expert. Absent qualifying as an accident reconstruction expert, the admissibility of accident reports is limited to the statements that reflect the officers' firsthand factual observations. Read More ›

JLG Trucking, LLC v. Garza

Evidence of a second, subsequent automobile accident is relevant to an initial accident’s causation. Read More ›