Local residents claim a serious car crash would not have taken place had Bexar County followed through on its commitment to erect a traffic signal at a dangerous intersection on the Northwest Side.
The latest crash at the intersection of Blanco Road (F.M. 2696) and Slumber Pass killed one person and sent two others to the hospital. The male driver of one car was killed and two female passengers in the other car were injured. About a year ago, the county earmarked nearly $145,000 to put up a signal and hired a contractor to do so, but construction has yet to begin. The Bexar County Director of Public Works stated that “a year doesn’t sound like it’s quick, but it takes that long to get equipment sometimes.” The DPW added that the driver was allegedly speeding and serving and so a traffic signal would not have prevented the crash.
The county says the signal is expected to be installed in the next two weeks and to be functional by mid-December.
Suing a Governmental Entity
Of course, if this case were to go to trial, it is up to a jury to determine fault. A bureaucrat does not have that power. A factfinder might have such an opportunity, because Texas law does not offer cities, counties, and other governmental units immunity from negligence lawsuits in the performance of their proprietary responsibilities.
The appropriate law is Section 101.0215 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The statute gives the following examples of a “proprietary function:”
- Public Utilities: A government may be liable for injuries from downed power lines or property losses due to power outages.
- Amusements: The play equipment at a public park may be poorly maintained, or a swimming pool may be inadequately staffed by lifeguards.
- Abnormally Hazardous or Dangerous Activities: This category includes items like manholes that are left uncovered or neighborhoods that do not drain well after heavy rains.
Some of the more common proprietary functions include items such as deep potholes that are unfilled, dangerous traffic intersections, and poorly maintained sidewalks. To obtain compensation for their economic and non-economic damages, victims must prove that the government breached a duty, and that breach caused injury.
Regardless of their station in life, tortfeasors are generally responsible for the damages they cause. For a free consultation with an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney, contact us. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a personal injury case.