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TX injury lawyerOne recent night, a serious three-car accident on the south side of San Antonio claimed the life of one person. A 33-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, about 30 minutes after the impact when his Dodge Challenger was T-boned by two cars in succession after he tried to cross Texas 16, near Mission Gate. The Challenger’s driver-side door was crushed, and the man had to be cut free before law enforcement could assess his injuries properly. While San Antonio police stated that no criminal charges are pending for either of the drivers who T-boned the man’s car, this does not mean that the man’s family may not choose to file suit against either (or both) drivers for wrongful death. If you lose a loved one in a similar accident, your options may seem very similar to the man’s family’s.

Two Types of Cases

Texas has two types of wrongful death-related actions. A standard wrongful death action is brought on behalf of the surviving family, seeking damages on the family’s behalf for injuries they have sustained since the deceased person’s passing. The surviving family can file, or the estate can file on the family’s behalf, seeking compensation for harm like funeral and medical expenses, loss of the deceased’s love and companionship, and the loss of support and services.

The other type of case is called a survival action, and it is brought to preserve a cause of action that a person might have had before their death. In other words, a survival action is a suit brought on behalf of the injured person (and their estate), trying to recover for damages that the person would have been able to recover had they survived the incident. For example, if the deceased man had survived his accident, he would likely have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence - sadly, he did not, but his estate can file a survival action alleging the same things.

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IL truck accident attorneySan Antonio law enforcement is seeking a truck driver who fled the scene after causing the death of a motorcyclist, and injuries to several other motorists, in an accident on I-10 one recent night. The truck had been traveling too fast for the flow of traffic and wound up jackknifing across the lanes of I-10 East. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, but in addition, the families of those injured can bring suit for negligence and wrongful death if they believe they have a case to do so. If you have been injured in a similar case, you have options to try and recover your expenses.

Truck Crashes All Too Common

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics for 2018 (the most recent available data) show that approximately 465 fatal crashes happened on state roads that involved a semi-truck or tractor-trailer that year, and over 3,000 injury-related crashes in the same time frame. This adds up to about 13 percent of all crashes on Texas roads that year. There are trends within these numbers, including a higher percentage of accidents happening in rural areas.

There are also a handful of causes that continue to reappear in police reports. Excessive speeding, use of alcohol or other substances, and poor road maintenance are among the most common, but the most often reported reason for crashes is driver fatigue. Truck drivers are routinely pushed by their employers to drive beyond regulation limits on hours and miles, and the resulting fatigue very often results in accidents.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, law enforcement in San Antonio identified a woman as the victim of a hit-and-run accident on South W.W. White Road. The person who struck the woman may not have been aware of it, as they failed to stop and render aid, but this does open them up to the possibility of both civil and criminal liability if they are located. Failing to stop at the scene of a hit-and-run accident is a crime in Texas, and in addition, the deceased person’s family may seek to bring suit against the driver for wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one in this manner, it is important for you to understand your options, as well as the relationship between civil and criminal law.

Wrongful Death in Texas

Texas’ wrongful death statute is fairly straightforward, stating that a person is liable for damages resulting from an individual’s passing if it resulted from their (or their agent’s) “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” There are only a handful of family members who are permitted by law to bring a wrongful death suit - generally the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. Anyone else is deemed to be too distantly related to have received tangible support from the deceased person in most cases.

In the hit-and-run accident example from South W.W. White Road, the woman’s family would conceivably be able to recover damages such as loss of companionship, mental pain and suffering, and lost wages, if they were able to establish the necessary legal criteria. To establish a case for wrongful death, the plaintiff (the decedent’s family) would have to show that the defendant’s lack of reasonable care was the direct cause of their loved one’s passing and that no other intervening cause played a role. This is difficult, but not impossible to establish if the facts are there.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, a man was killed when he tried to walk across US 281, forcing the highway’s closure between Nakoma Street and Bitters Road. The driver did stop at the scene and try to render aid, but the man was beyond help. If you are so unfortunate as to lose a loved one in that way, you may be able to file a suit for wrongful death against the driver - even if they did stop and attempt to render aid. No amount of money will bring your loved one back, but it can help to pay bills during the time you may need to get back on your feet.

A Duty of Care

Pedestrian accidents happen all too commonly in Texas, with over 8,100 being registered in 2018, yielding 693 fatalities. There are multiple causes for these crashes, including excessive speed, substance abuse, failing to yield properly, and a general lack of pedestrian-safe infrastructure like crosswalks and stoplights. Many of these are on display in the US 281 accident, most notably a lack of any place for a pedestrian to cross the street safely.

That said, a driver on the road has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward others on the road, and a failure to do so can open them up to liability. If they strike another motorist or a pedestrian, they may be sued for negligence or for wrongful death if the injured person does not survive. While there is no indication that the deceased pedestrian’s family intends to take any action against the driver, they could do so if they believed that the driver was negligent in causing the pedestrian’s passing.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, medics were called to Garfield, east of Austin-Bergstrom Airport, to treat a woman who had sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash. She was taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with injuries that were characterized as serious, but not life-threatening. These types of accidents are quite common, and while the woman luckily escaped life-threatening injuries, she may still face long-term recuperation and even possibly permanent disability. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, your medical bills can add up, but you may be able to seek compensation from the negligent driver who caused your injuries.

Fatality Statistics Are High

Motorcyclists are over-represented in traffic death totals; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to die if they are involved in a crash than a vehicle driver or passenger. Motorcyclists do not have the same protection as those inside a car or truck; the sheer volume of metal and glass involved in striking a vehicle can prove punishing for a cyclist whose only protection is their clothing and helmet. Even those who survive accidents with vehicles can have severe injuries, as the woman in Garfield may be left with.

There are many different reasons for the frequency of motorcycle accidents. Fatality statistics are made even worse by non-universal compliance with helmet laws - the NHTSA estimates that only 71 percent of riders wore helmets in 2018. Texas’ statistics are even more significant in that regard - roughly half of the 418 motorcyclists killed in 2018 on Texas roads were not wearing helmets at the time of their accidents. In addition, very often vehicle drivers simply do not take cyclists’ presence into account; failure to check blind spots or their turn lanes can lead to ruin.

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

Texas Trial Lawyesr Association State Bar of Texas San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association
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