Austin-Travis County EMS reported the death of a pedestrian recently after he was struck by an automobile at the intersection of Bee Cave Parkway and Ranch to Market Road 620 out in Travis County. Bee Cave police stated that the pedestrian had been jogging when an automobile hit him from the side. While no one else was injured, and the family of the person killed does not appear to have stated any plans to file suit, a wrongful death suit might nonetheless be appropriate, if the family believes that negligence played a role in their loved one’s passing. Consulting an experienced attorney is a good way to understand your options if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a similar situation.
Pedestrians More Likely to Die
Pedestrian fatalities on Texas roads have been generally on the rise for the last few years, with 660 happening in 2019. Nationwide, the total has risen even more, with 2018 seeing the highest total of pedestrian fatalities since 1990. In Texas, rising speed limits on state roads and more pedestrians on the road, in general, have caused heightened danger for non-auto drivers every time they go out on the road. A lack of care on drivers’ part also plays a major role, with many simply not remembering to look for pedestrians or share the road with them.
It is also worth noting that more pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, such as Austin or Houston, as well as during evening (26 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 6 and 9 PM). No time or place is completely safe from this type of accident, but it does stand to reason that more accidents might occur during a time when the roads are not lit as well as they might be during the day. The pedestrian on Bee Cave Road was doing their morning jog when they were struck, but in theory, they felt there was enough light to risk running on the road.
Wrongful Death on Texas Roads
The family of the deceased pedestrian could, if they believed there was cause, file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle that struck their loved one. The Texas Wrongful Death Act holds that if someone is killed due to another person’s “wrongful act, negligence,” or other actions that break one’s duty to exercise reasonable care, they may be sued in civil court. This type of suit can be brought either by the deceased person’s surviving family members or if they have not filed by a certain date, by the personal representative of the estate if the survivors consent.
Texas’ wrongful death statute allows plaintiffs to recover not just actual damages (tangible financial losses like funeral expenses), but also the more intangible damages like loss of companionship and household services, loss of inheritance, and mental anguish. In very rare cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are imposed solely to punish a defendant if it is found that their conduct was grossly negligent or willfully done. However, Florida courts require extremely specific evidence in order to allow punitive damages; it is unlikely they will be awarded in your case unless your loved one has died in a particularly objectionable manner.
Call a New Braunfels Wrongful Death Attorney
While it remains to be seen whether any kind of lawsuit will be filed by the family of the pedestrian who died on Bee Cave Road, it is important for you to know it may be an option if you are so unfortunate as to lose a loved one so suddenly. The skilled New Braunfels wrongful death lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can offer compassionate and dedicated representation during what is often the most trying time in someone’s life. Call our offices today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.