Examples of Auto Accident Cases Handled by the Rodgers Law Firm That Have Resulted in Favorable Recoveries for Ben’s Clients

Teenage Passenger Ejected and Killed in Single Vehicle Rollover Accident

Houston, Texas

Four teenagers and young adults were joyriding and drinking beer on a weekend trip to the gulf coast. Our clients’ son, a passenger, was killed after being ejected when the car rolled due to excessive speed in a construction zone.The driver at fault had no assets. The recovery on the case turned on a careful analysis of available auto insurance coverage under the “blood, marriage, or adoption” rule in the Texas Standard Automobile Policy.

Under this rule, if someone, person “A,” does not own a policy of auto insurance but person “A” lives with someone, person “B,” that does own a policy of auto insurance and person “A” is related to person “B” by blood, marriage or adoption, then person “A” is deemed under Texas law to have the same auto insurance coverage as person “B.”This means that a son or daughter living with a parent, a granddaughter or grandson living with a grandparent, a niece or nephew living with an aunt or uncle, etc. have the same auto insurance as the person they are living with.

The victim’s mother and father were divorced. The son alternated living with each of his parents and did not own a car. Each parent had Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (“UIM”) on their auto insurance policies. The son’s friend, “X,” was driving the car and his friend, “Y,” owned the car.

The gross recovery on the case included all available policy limits from:

  1. car owner Y’s auto liability policy.
  2. car driver X’s auto liability policy.
  3. victim’s mother’s UIM auto policy, because the son was a regular resident of her home and was related to her by blood.
  4. victim’s father’s UIM auto policy, because the son was a regular resident of his father’s home and was related to him by blood.

Infant Passenger Killed in Auto Collision

Corpus Christi, Texas

Our client’s infant daughter was killed while traveling as a passenger in a car driven by our client’s ex-husband.

The infant was riding beside her father and was not being held securely in an infant seat. The driver also died in the accident, as did 3 occupants of the other vehicle.

Auto Collision Causes Premature Birth and Subsequent Death of Infant

Fort Worth, Texas

The client was 20 weeks pregnant at the time of the motor vehicle accident and the pregnancy was proceeding normally, according to her gynecologist’s records. The collision caused immediate uterine bleeding at the scene. The client was taken to the hospital and admitted for 2 days, dismissed, then readmitted for 4 days for a recurrence of the bleeding, dismissed, then readmitted a week later with the diagnosis of “preterm labor” that required her to stay in the hospital until the child’s development was far enough along to allow delivery by C-section.

Expert medical opinions were that the collision caused the premature birth of the infant 28 days after the accident, that the infant’s development was premature by 14 weeks, and that there was visible bruising on the infant’s back, hands, and feet consistent with bruising caused by a seat-belt restraint system in the accident and not consistent with C-section forceps-delivery forces. The baby died 12 weeks later without ever leaving the hospital.

The official cause of death was determined to be chronic pulmonary insufficiency arising from long-term artificial pulmonary ventilation due to premature birth.

The Standard Texas Automobile Policy in effect at the time of the accident provided that a person was a “covered person” at the time of the motor vehicle accident if the person was a “family member (injured) … while occupying … a motor vehicle.”

On these facts the insurance company for the driver at fault was persuaded to pay policy limits even though the child was not born at the time of the accident and even though, under Texas law at the time, the unborn child would not have been a covered person had the child been killed in the accident while still in his mother’s womb.

Intersection Collision Causes Partial Paralysis and Loss of Bodily Functions – Delayed Onset of Symptoms for 10 Months – Surgery 18 Months Later

Fort Worth, Texas

Witnesses said the other driver was traveling at least 50 mph when he ran a red light and collided with our client’s car. The force of the impact was so great that it spun her car completely around several times. Her car was a total loss.

She initially thought she was lucky to have only relatively minor bruises, soreness, and stiffness. Ten months later she visited her gynecologist complaining of continuing low back pain for the past week. The pain soon subsided, then returned, and began recurring on an intermittent basis. Eight months later the symptoms had progressed to the point that she was experiencing numbness in her buttocks and perineum and acute urinary retention and constipation. The expert medical diagnosis was disc herniation in her low back resulting from the car accident 18 months before.

Back surgery was not able to repair the damage, and she was left permanently disabled, unable to continue working as a bank officer, with loss of feeling in her pelvic area that greatly affecting her marriage, and having to self-administer enemas and catheters as a part of her daily routine.

The major medical issue in the case was to prove that the ten-month delay in onset of pain symptoms followed by the further delay in onset of numbness and loss of body functions triggering the surgery eight months later was causally related to the car wreck.

“Road Rage” Rear End Collision

Arlington, Texas

Our client’s car was rear ended by a company car driven by an insurance adjuster while the adjuster was trying to force his way into crowded rush hour traffic. The adjuster, succumbing to “road rage,” suddenly accelerated his car to exit an apartment complex after waiting at least five minutes for a clear path into traffic.

In written documents explaining the accident he gave to his employer, he claimed (1) that he had been at the apartment working to examine a wrecked car insured by his employer, and (2) that the accident happened an hour later than it really did. Investigation and depositions after lawsuit was filed revealed that he was not telling his employer the truth.

He had been visiting a female friend at the apartment, not examining a wrecked car (the female friend at her deposition admitted that he visited her frequently). The collision happened a few minutes after the client had made a bank deposit, and the bank manager by affidavit proved that the client’s stated time for the accident was correct based on bank deposit records.

Our client was permanently disabled from working after back and neck surgery.

Elderly Driver Rear Ended and Knocked Into Path of Oncoming 18 Wheeler Truck

Tolar, Texas

Our client, aged 74, was rear-ended and knocked into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler truck. Treatment for his injuries included an extensive three months hospitalization with facial surgery and hip replacement surgery.

The driver at fault, the 18-year-old son of a hardware store franchise owner, was driving a company truck but was not an employee of the company and was not driving the truck on company business. The teenager had a history of moving traffic violations and should not have been entrusted with driving a motor vehicle based on his prior bad driving history.

MVA Causes Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Fort Worth, Texas

Our client, a physically active, tall, healthy owner of a construction company in business just a few months, was in a motor vehicle accident. Even though wearing a seat belt, his head hit the top of his pickup during the head-on collision because the collision buckled the floor of his pickup, pushing his head in an upward direction.

He directed traffic after the accident and declined medical care when offered it at the scene by emergency medical personnel. He assumed his injuries were minor “whiplash” injuries and would heal on their own.

Within a few days he began suffering short-term memory loss, anxiety attacks, severe depression, and recurring accident event flashbacks. He began to dread going to sleep and avoided it as long as possible each night.

His construction company failed financially because he could not remember job schedules and verbal commitments made to customers and suppliers, simple tasks that he had done successfully for years as the general manager of a large corporations’ remodeling division. This short-term memory loss caused job cost overruns, lost profits, and dissatisfied customers.

Expert neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychological evaluations determined that he had sustained traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome requiring extensive psychiatric care and medication for more than two years. At one time he was reduced to painting houses by himself because his company no longer had any employees.

Defense lawyers were confident that a local jury would not award compensation in line with his losses because he was never admitted to a hospital and “there was never a band aid on him,” thus he could not have been seriously injured in the accident.

The trial judge refused to allow evidence of the financial losses he sustained while trying to keep his company going after the accident because, since the company was new and therefore without a history of profitability, it was “too speculative” to allow a jury to decide what his construction company would have earned had he not been in the accident. The Jury was only allowed to consider his medical bills and physical impairment.

After a seven day trial, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor in an amount that was more than eight times the best pre-trial settlement offer from the defendant.

The jury verdict was upheld by the appellate courts after the defendant appealed the results two times – once on the issue that the amount of the jury award for physical impairment was excessive and once on the issue that the pre-judgment and post-judgment interest awarded by the trial judge was excessive.

Grocery Store Customer Struck By Car While Walking in Store Parking Lot

Bedford, Texas

Our client parked her car in the parking lot of her local grocery store. While walking in the parking lot toward the grocery store entrance doors, a driver who had completed shopping at the grocery store suddenly backed her car out of a parking space and into the client, with the bumper striking our client on the right thigh, knocking her down and causing serious injuries that ultimately required the surgical removal of her coccyx, or tailbone.

The driver then left the parking lot without rendering any aid to our client. Our client, while lying on the ground and watching the driver leave the scene, was able to see and memorize the car’s license plate.

She called the police as soon as she could and reported the accident as a hit and run. The police, after determining the driver’s address from the license plate number, went to the driver’s house, interviewed the driver, and completed a police report of the accident.

The driver, based on the answers she gave at her deposition and based on the deposition testimony of the investigating police officer, was an elderly female with poor vision and seemingly in an early stage of dementia. Many of her answers were not responsive to the questions or were not comprehensible.