Fall and winter are the most dangerous times to drive in Texas, with inclement weather raising the risk of accidents. In late October, this was exemplified in Bexar County, when a young man driving an SUV skidded and hit the center barrier, causing his car to roll multiple times. The driver and one passenger sustained injuries, but the girl riding in the back seat was killed when the car flipped over. This is sadly common, as rollover accidents are among the most hazardous to experience, especially in less-than-ideal weather.
Common Causes and Statistics
The U.S. Department of Transportation states that approximately one-third of all passenger fatalities (as opposed to driver fatalities) occur in rollover accidents, despite rollovers only accounting for 2.1 percent of all auto crashes in 2010 (the most recent available data). Rollover accidents are more likely to be single-vehicle crashes, as well; because most impact accidents happen away from a car’s center of gravity, there is less likelihood of cars tipping over. However, if a car skids or the driver loses control, the center of gravity is irrelevant and the car may flip.
In fatal rollover crashes, speed is likely to be a factor, with approximately 40 percent of them involving speeding over the posted limit. Alcohol is also likely to be a component, with nearly half of all rollover accidents involving drinking by either driver. Regardless of cause, however, rollover crashes are depressingly common and extremely deadly. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the Bexar County crash, but speed may have been since some information has been kept out of the public eye.
While it can be difficult to prove negligence in a single-vehicle accident, it is not impossible. Negligence law in Texas has four distinct criteria that must be met before anyone can be found liable for a plaintiff’s injuries:
- The existence of a duty of care must be established, which it is by common law in Texas;
- The plaintiff must be able to show that the duty to exercise reasonable care was breached;
- They must be able to show that the defendant’s conduct was the direct cause of the accident and any resulting injuries; and
- They must be able to show that they suffered tangible harm due to the defendant’s conduct.
In the Bexar County accident, the parents of the deceased girl could conceivably bring an action for wrongful death against the driver of the SUV, if there is evidence to prove that he was operating the car negligently. A wrongful death action in negligence is brought by a deceased person’s survivors, attempting to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one, including lost wages and/or future earning potential if such a thing can be estimated. If the girl had lived, she might have been able to bring suit for her injuries under a theory of ordinary negligence.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys
Rollover accidents have perhaps the highest chance to cause fatalities, but whether they do or not, they are serious. If you or a loved one have been in a rollover accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The dedicated New Braunfels auto accident attorneys at The Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and assist you with your case. Contact our offices today to set up an appointment.