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2 + 1 = Hire an Expert to Figure it out?

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The Case:

JLG. Trucking LLC v. Garza, 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 12474 (Tex. App.-San Antonio Oct. 9, 2013, pet. filed)

Brief Facts:

In July of 2008 an 18-wheeler driven by JLG rear-ended a truck driven by Lauren Garza. In October of 2008, Ms. Garza was involved in a second collision. At trial, JLG sought to introduce evidence of the October 2008 collision.

The purpose of submitting this evidence was to show that the second accident caused some or all of the injuries to Ms. Garza. The treating physician for Ms. Garza was set to testify at trial that all of Ms. Garza's injuries were attributable to the first accident. JLG's radiologist was also going to testify at trial that Ms. Garza's neck only showed herniation due to degenerative disease, not trauma.

Based on the fact that no expert was going to testify that the second collision caused the claimed injury, the trial court excluded any evidence of the second collision. JLG sought review of this decision in the San Antonio Court of Appeals.

The Decision by the San Antonio Court of Appeals:

The San Antonio Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's exclusion of evidence of the second collision. The court stated that the Texas Supreme Court's decision in Guervara v. Ferrer, 247 S.W.3d 662 (Tex. 2007) required expert testimony on causation in an automobile collision when a party's injuries could be linked to more than one accident.

What to Take Away:

According to the San Antonio Court of Appeals, when there is a single claimed injury that you assert could have resulted separately from two successive accidents, you need expert testimony to argue (and present evidence to the jury) that the injury resulted from the second accident. The Texas Supreme Court, though, is set to hear oral argument in this case on February 26, 2015. We will soon know if expert testimony is required in order to present evidence to a jury that a subsequent accident caused an injury. 

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The Bassett Firm

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