A tragic accident occurred on Loop 1604 recently, as a man ran into traffic on the road near Culebra Rd., intentionally jumping into the path of an 18-wheeler. While the man was pronounced deceased by emergency medical services, the accident no doubt has had a permanent effect on the truck driver – both because of the obvious human drama and because on some occasions, causing the death of someone on the road can lead to liability in wrongful death, for both the driver and for their employer. While suicides are rare, accidents resulting in death can be more common, and if you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Specific Criteria for Filing
The Texas wrongful death act states that if someone’s death occurred due to the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default” of another person, that person may be held liable. This can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint, especially in automobile or truck accidents, because there can be a very fine line between pure accident and negligence. However, there are certain requirements that can show that a trucker (and, in some cases, their employer) was negligent enough to cause the victim’s passing.
Only certain family members can bring a wrongful death suit in the state of Texas – generally, parents, children, or surviving spouses. Other family members are perceived to be too far removed from the loss, rightly or wrongly. Those who can file, however, may be able to recover for funeral expenses, loss of inheritance, loss of the decedent’s earnings and companionship, and the surviving family members’ mental anguish, pain, and suffering.
Negligence vs. Accident
In most cases involving wrongful death, the plaintiff must establish that their loved one’s death was directly related to the negligence of the defendant – namely, that the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the deceased person, and that they did not. They must also show that there was no other superseding cause that helped to cause the decedent’s passing. In the Loop 1604 accident, the trucker would likely be insulated from liability because of the decedent’s intent to run into traffic, but in a case with less clear, tragic intent, wrongful death litigation would certainly be a possibility.
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) estimates that a total of 4,761 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2017 (the most recent available data). However, more specifically, one can see that only around 840 fatalities were large-truck occupants – the remaining 3,920 were either the occupants of other vehicles or non-motorists. It can definitely be inferred that those in large trucks are better protected than those outside of them, should an accident occur – it need not, unfortunately, be a suicidal person in order to result in a fatality.
Call a New Braunfels Wrongful Death Attorney
As of this writing, there is no indication that the crash on Loop 1604 was anything but a tragic accident. However, if you are unfortunate enough to lose a loved one in a truck accident, your situation might be different. The skilled New Braunfels wrongful death attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can provide dedicated and compassionate representation at an incredibly difficult time. Contact us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.