Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) October 7, 2013 – Not all injury lawsuits get to court and get heard without complications.
“This case breaks down into two different trials ---- a civil, personal injury trial and a criminal trial for the charge of negligent homicide. Nonetheless, the two actions do overlap when it comes to evidence and how it is presented in court,” said Bobby Lee, of Lee, Gober & Reyna, Austin, Texas.
One early morning in December 2010, a school bus was stopped by the side of the highway with its lights flashing and stop arm extended. The stretch of highway was straight and level, with no construction in sight, when a trucker slammed into the rear of the bus with such force, that it crumpled the frame right to the back wheels. One injured child had to be cut out of the wreck. Twenty-one kids, ranging in age from 5-years-old to 17 were hurt. Three critically and one 5-year-old died as a result of her injuries.
The bus driver saw the truck coming and did what he could to save lives by telling the kids to get down, brace themselves and hold on tight. He then struggled to keep the bus under control once it had been hit.
The negligent homicide prosecution team was handed a set back when a court of appeal ruled they could not use the medical information of all the students hurt in the 2010 crash. The court stated the records would not be relevant to the homicide case in specific. “However, the District Attorney’s Office would likely use those records if they chose to press on with the 20 negligent injury misdemeanor charges,” added Lee. More specifically, the rest of the records would be prejudicial to the defendant.
“When trying cases such as this one, anything and everything has the potential to go in a direction you do not expect,” indicated Lee, “and for this reason, we try to cover every possible outcome with a plaintiff. Even though a defendant is viewed as being culpable and perhaps even admitted responsibility, they are entitled to a full-fledged and well-thought out defense.”
Would the office of the District Attorney appeal the ruling? That would depend on whether or not there is anything they perceive to be open for an appeal. “Would this type of ruling make a difference to the outcome of the case? It may,” said Lee, “but that largely depends on the type of evidence presented by the plaintiff, his attitude and demeanor, whether he had any prior record of speeding or a history of accidents on the job, what specifically caused this accident, such as texting, distracted driving or DUI, and how cooperative he was during the process.”
It is rare that a personal injury case is open and shut, and not disputed for some reason or another. Since cases involve humans under enormous stress, memory recall is often poor, eyewitness reports may not be accurate, emotions run high and guilt and the evasion of truth are often the order of the day. “As an injury lawyer with many years practice behind me,” indicated Lee, “it never gets any easier to see cases like this. Plaintiffs are devastated and trying to hold it together and hoping justice will out. That is my job. Our office does not back down in any case.”
Lee, Gober & Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road #220-S
Austin, Texas 78759