During the last weekend of September, a hit-and-run accident on Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard in Leander left one motorcyclist dead, and the driver missing. According to law enforcement, the truck turned into the path of the motorcyclist, who was headed southbound, and the cycle hit the rear part of the truck, which caused the rider to be thrown. The truck did not stop to assist the injured man, instead choosing to drive on. There are multiple things that might breed a cause of action in this story, especially for the family of the deceased motorcyclist, as they seek compensation that could somehow even partially mitigate the loss of their loved one.
Failure to Stop and Render Aid Is a Crime
Motorcyclists are in some danger while on the roads, even if they operate their vehicle perfectly, simply because they lack the protection and the weight that automobiles have, and this, unfortunately, translates to injury and fatality statistics – on average, around 500 motorcyclists per year are killed in auto accidents on Texas roads, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). While this obviously does not excuse reckless or negligent driving or other actions, it is worth remarking on how an action that can be lethal against a motorcyclist might cause an automobile’s driver mere irritation. If an accident occurs, it is the responsibility of both vehicles involved to stop and render aid to anyone hurt.
Texas is a state which has significant numbers of road accidents each year – TxDOT statistics show that in 2017, one person was killed in an auto accident every 2 hours 21 minutes on Texas roads. Due to this worrying trend, the legislature made changes to the law in 2013, rendering failure to stop and render aid at the scene of an accident both potentially a criminal act and open to civil penalty. At the very least, the truck driver on Ronald Reagan Boulevard will likely face such a charge as a crime, punishable as a felony.
Another possible legal worry for the truck driver, though as of this writing, they remain uncaught by police, is the likelihood of a wrongful death suit or survival action filed against them by the deceased person’s family. Texas allows for either, but not both, to be mounted if appropriate cause can be found. A wrongful death action is mounted on behalf of the surviving family, seeking compensation for causes like lost wages and future earning capacity, or loss of companionship. It is generally restricted to spouses, parents, and minor children in terms of recovery.
A survival action, by comparison, is mounted on behalf of the decedent’s estate, looking to recover for causes of action that the deceased would have had if they had survived. For example, in the instant case, if he had merely been injured, the motorcyclist might have been able to bring a negligence action against the truck driver alleging that their negligence caused his injuries. This type of case is brought by the personal representative on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Seek Experienced Legal Help
While as of this writing, the driver of the truck has not yet been located, they will likely face serious criminal and civil penalties if they are located and charged. If you have experienced a similar accident, you have a host of potential options to seek compensation, but contacting an experienced attorney is a good idea before doing anything else. The passionate New Braunfels motorcycle accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can try to help answer your questions about how best to go forward with your case. Call us today for an appointment.