$517,285 – AUTO ACCIDENT

posted in: Case Results 0


Intersection — Broadside — Truck — Cell Phone — Red Light

Plaintiff claimed back injuries from broadside collision




Richard Frazier v Bethany Salas, No. 15-01-00325


Montgomery County District Court, 284th, TX


Cara Wood



Eric D. Nielsen (lead), The Nielsen Law Firm P.C., Houston, TX
Daniel Cienfuegos, Jr., The Nielsen Law Firm P.C., Houston, TX


Erich L. Schenk, David Knight & Associates, Houston, TX

On Oct. 20, 2013, plaintiff Richard Frazier, 46, a telecommunications consultant, was driving a 2006 BMW 650i sedan in The Woodlands. He stopped at a red light, and when it turned green, he proceeded. Bethany Salas was driving a 2013 Hyundai Tucson sport utility vehicle on the cross street and was texting. She ran a red light and struck Frazier’s right rear wheel. Frazier claimed back injuries.

Frazier sued Salas for gross negligence in texting while driving, failing to keep a proper lookout, running a red light and failing to yield the right of way.

It came into evidence that Salas had caused a rearend collision on a prior occasion while typing into her GPS while driving. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the prior accident gave Salas actual awareness of the extreme degree of risk of her actions, and that Salas was consciously indifferent to this risk at the time of the Frazier accident.

Salas was not present at trial.

The defense did not dispute negligence, but did dispute gross negligence. The defense argued that Frazier had no evidence that Salas was subjectively, consciously indifferent to the consequences of her actions because Salas was not present at trial and plaintiff’s counsel had not asked her about conscious indifference during her deposition.

The defense was able to keep out the fact that Salas was drinking at a sports bar before the accident.


aggravation of pre-existing condition; herniated disc at L5-S1; lower back; physical therapy

Frazier went to the emergency room by ambulance from the scene. He claimed that the accident aggravated a congenital pars defect at L4-5 and either caused or aggravated a herniated disc at L5-S1. The impact spun his vehicle clockwise 180 degrees.