Mayor's SUV Wreck Headed to Court
Four people have filed suit against both the mayor and the City of San Antonio. What facts do they need to prove in order to win money?
The lawsuit stems from an East Side crash at the intersection of East Houston and North Hackberry. Mayor Ivy Taylor’s SUV was northbound on Hackberry and the other vehicle, a Chrysler convertible, was eastbound on Houston. Both vehicles entered the intersection at about the same time. Witnesses disagree as to subsequent events. Some claim that the SUV had the right-of-way, while at least one insisted that the Mayor’s vehicle entered the intersection against the light.
All three occupants inside the Chrysler were rushed to local hospitals. According to the lawsuit, one of these victims “has suffered permanent brain damage and severe cognitive insults resulting in loss of bodily function.”
The fourth plaintiff, the son of the brain-damaged woman, seeks damages “because of the brain death of his mother.”
Elements of a Negligence Case
If you were hurt in an accident, you must prove the following four elements to win money as compensation for your injuries:
- Duty: Drivers owe a duty of reasonable care to other pedestrians and motorists; among other things, they must obey traffic laws, like red lights.
- Breach: Many intersection collisions come down to this element – which driver breached a legal duty by going against the red light?
- Cause: The defendant’s breach must have directly and foreseeably caused the plaintiff’s injury.
- Damage: In most cases, the plaintiff must suffer a physical injury or property damage; negligent infliction of emotional distress claims are very difficult to win.
In the above case, the plaintiffs may sue the city under Respondeat superior, because the driver was working in the course and scope of his employment when the collision occurred.
Burden of Proof
In most civil cases, the plaintiff must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Picture two equally-full glasses of water side by side. If a person adds a drop of liquid to the glass on the left, it has more water than the other glass. That is the level of proof required in most cases.
There is also a quality issue. The jury must determine which side has more credible evidence, especially if, as they do in this case, witnesses give conflicting accounts of the same event.
For a free consultation wait an aggressive attorney who knows the law, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in New Braunfels at The Bettersworth Law Firm. Home and hospital visits are available.