On February 8, a pedestrian trying to cross RM 620 at Briarwood Street in Round Rock was struck and killed. The car did not stop, and the pedestrian died at the scene. While the driver, if ever located, will likely face criminal charges, they might also be subject to a wrongful death lawsuit by any surviving family, or by the man’s estate. There are potential complications, however, depending on the specific nature of the situation.
Pedestrians Are Most at Risk
Generally, there is no one on the road that is at a higher risk of injury on Texas roads than pedestrians, for obvious reasons and also for reasons that might not be as readily apparent. Pedestrians obviously have less protection in the event of an accident, but they also are not able to access the tools for avoiding an accident that drivers have. For example, more and more electric cars are appearing on roads in recent years, which are advantageous for the environment but are much more dangerous for pedestrians due to their quiet operation.
None of this means that pedestrians do not have a duty to obey all relevant traffic laws. The Texas Transportation Code stipulates several specific points when pedestrians have a duty of care, as do drivers, to the others on the road, specifically when pedestrians must yield the right of way to cars. If this duty is not obeyed, it can adversely affect the case you or your loved ones might plan to bring. However, unless the pedestrian’s fault is really egregious, it will not preclude their ability to recover.
Wrongful Death Suits in Texas
If the pedestrian is killed at the scene or dies of their injuries, as is the case in the Round Rock accident, the surviving family or the person’s estate have the option of bringing a wrongful death suit against the driver of the car that hit them. The person’s estate may bring a standard wrongful death action, or the person’s surviving family can bring what is called a survival action. The estate would be suing for intangible causes of action like lost wages and loss of consortium – things that the estate and the family both have conceivably lost with the death of the pedestrian – while the family would sue for the same causes of action that the pedestrian would have been able to bring had they survived their injuries.
Be advised that you have a narrowly defined window in which wrongful death claims can be filed under Texas law; you may not simply decide to file one day long after the death has occurred. A wrongful death or survival action must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death, or it will be refused. Memories and statements grow less reliable with time, and eventually, a line must be drawn, in order to clamp down on mistaken or erroneous claims clogging up dockets.
Contact Our Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Today
Since the car that hit the pedestrian in Round Rock drove away, it is impossible to know whether or not any civil action will be taken against the driver. But if you or a loved one find yourself in a similar situation, contacting an attorney can help you decide what to do next. The passionate New Braunfels wrongful death lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are ready, willing and able to try and help answer your questions. Contact our office today for a consultation.