A woman was killed on January 18, when a passing motorist hit her stalled car from behind near I-37 and Donop. Her vehicle had stalled, and she had stayed inside to keep warm, but it rolled as it was rear-ended. Unfortunately, she was pronounced at the scene, and while the driver of the other car is not expected to be charged, it is still worth asking why events unfolded as they did, and why things did not go differently.
Rear End Collisions
The Washington Post quotes the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in stating that approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions happen on U.S. roads each year, with Texas having its relatively proportional share of those accidents. This does make rear-end collisions the most common type of auto accident, but at the same time, the NTSB and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimate that as many as 80 percent of them could be avoided from making collision-avoidance equipment standard in automobiles.
If you or a loved one do wind up experiencing a rear-end collision, however, you might have a chance to bring suit against the other driver or another person over the role their negligence played in your accident. Each driver has a duty of reasonable care toward other drivers on the road, and if it can be implied that this duty was not met and this breach caused harm to you, you may have a case for negligence. However, all the criteria for a negligence case must be met, including duty, breach, causation and tangible damages.
If you have lost a loved one in a rear-end collision, there may be another cause of action open to you as well; if you believe that the death might have been negligent, you have the option to bring suit for wrongful death. Texas allows either the surviving family or the personal representative to bring such a suit, though they go by different names. The estate or personal representative of the deceased person would bring what is called a standard wrongful death suit, seeking damages for causes of action such as lost earning capacity or pain and suffering.
The surviving family, conversely, could also bring a suit that is referred to as a survival action (usually only one or the other is permitted under Texas law). Survival actions are known as such because they are brought for the same causes of action that the deceased person would have been able to sue for if they had lived. So, for example, if you lose a loved one in a rear-end collision, they would likely have been able to bring a negligence suit against the driver of the other car if they had survived their injuries. A survival action in such a case would seek damages based on negligence.
Call Our Dedicated Auto Accident Attorneys Today
While the family of the Texas woman mentioned above does not intend to seek civil redress as of this writing, you may decide differently if a similar accident occurs in your family. If you have been through a rear-end collision, call the dedicated New Braunfels car accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm today. We are happy to try to help you decide what to do about your case.