On the night of August 22, the passenger in a black sedan was attempting to leave the car when it was T-boned in the intersection of the I-35 S service road and Koenig Lane in Austin. The passenger was killed, and the driver sustained minor injuries, along with the driver of the vehicle that hit the sedan. This type of accident is among the most difficult to experience or witness, because it can come completely out of nowhere, and create tragic consequences. If this happens to you, it is imperative that you understand your potential liability.
T-bone accidents are common and can cause real problems. Unlike front and rear collisions, side impact crashes can be particularly dangerous because there is very little between passengers and the crash. Recent data states that approximately one-quarter of all crash deaths in 2016 were due to side-impact collisions. In most situations, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a side-impact collision, just because so many scenarios are possible, though in a situation such as the Koenig Lane accident, the record shows fault, and this may be true in your accident as well.
Pinpointing a cause of a T-bone accident can also be difficult, again, because there are so many to choose from in most accidents. Distracted driving is a major culprit, given that it can be very easy to not notice a car in front of you while otherwise engaged. Substance abuse, as appears to have been a culprit in the Koenig Lane accident, is another common contributor to auto accidents. Another may be poor infrastructure or road maintenance – potholes, poorly maintained lights or signs, and the like. Depending on the nature of your accident, you may have one defendant against whom you can bring suit, or there may be more.
In any auto accident case, it is important to consider one other important factor that very often is taken for granted. Car accidents are generally brought to civil court under a legal theory of negligence (in other words, the plaintiff tries to prove that the defendant was negligent, and should thus be liable). In a negligence case, one of the elements that the plaintiff must prove in order to hold the defendant liable is called foreseeability. In order to hold a defendant liable for a plaintiff’s injury, that injury must have been foreseeable, because to hold someone liable for something they could never see coming is against public policy.
The reports of the Koenig Lane accident indicated that the passenger was ostensibly trying to leave the vehicle when it was T-boned, and they also indicated that drugs or alcohol might have been a factor in the accident. Is it foreseeable, either by the sedan driver or the driver of the other car, that a person might try to exit an automobile in the middle of an intersection at the precise moment that other cars were speeding through? If the surviving driver sought to file a negligence action against the driver that hit his car, or if the deceased passenger’s family wanted to sue for wrongful death, they would have to show that the harm suffered was foreseeable. Depending on the specific facts, that question would be open.
Contact a Knowledgeable Attorney
While this accident appears to have been just that, with very little to be done afterward, your auto accident may have a very different fact pattern. If you need help seeking compensation for your injuries after a car accident – foreseeable or not – contacting an attorney who has experience with these cases is critical. The dedicated New Braunfels car accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and try to answer your questions. Call us today to schedule an appointment.