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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, two people were racing their vehicles along Bluff Springs Road in southeast Austin when one struck the side of the other, sending it into a light pole and killing the driver. Initially, the second driver had fled the scene, but he returned to the scene while law enforcement was still present, and was taken into custody. He was charged with two second-degree felonies, and while there has been no indication that the deceased driver’s family seeks to file suit against him, the driver could face a wrongful death suit if they choose to do so. If you lose a loved one due to another person’s negligence, filing a wrongful death suit is usually an option for you and the other survivors.

Wrongful Death vs Homicide

The Texas Wrongful Death Act states that a person is liable for damages that stem from the death of another person if that death was caused by their (or their agent’s) “wrongful act, negligence, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” If this turns out to be the case, your family may be able to recover compensation to help offset the loss of your loved one - it is not a replacement or a way to fix what you are going through, of course, but compensation may be able to help keep your bills paid or otherwise help the family stay afloat while you try to recover.

Keep in mind that a civil action for wrongful death is different than a criminal charge of homicide. The former is brought by the survivors of the deceased, while the latter is brought by the state; the former is punished with civil fines and other remedies while the latter carries jail time. However, one person may go through both a civil and a criminal case for the same action - they simply cannot happen concurrently. Most of the time, a criminal case will happen before a civil case, because the burden of proof is higher and if someone incriminates themselves or confesses to something during a criminal trial, that evidence is usually admissible in a civil trial as well.

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TX injury lawyerOn October 8, tragedy struck in Bastrop County, when a speeding pickup truck hydroplaned on Texas 95 and struck a sedan with children in the backseat. Three of the sedan’s passengers and the driver were killed, pronounced dead at the scene, two of them juveniles. Another child in the sedan was critically injured, with their fate unknown as of this writing. The pickup driver was in stable condition at an area hospital. While sometimes these types of accidents are unavoidable, many times they are not, and an avoidable tragedy may wind up resulting in significant civil liability for the responsible party. If you are in an auto accident that can be chalked up to another person’s recklessness or negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries.

Texas Negligence Law

In every negligence case, one has to prove certain things occurred in order to establish that the defendant was actually negligent. One must establish that a duty to exercise reasonable care existed between the plaintiff and the defendant - this is generally stipulated, as past cases have postulated the existence of this duty. It must also be established that the defendant breached that duty of care by their conduct, or lack of conduct (for example, failing to brake in the appropriate amount of time would be considered conduct). That conduct, that breach, must also be shown to have caused actual harm to the plaintiff. Actual harm generally means anything worse than cuts and bruises - broken bones, head injuries, or emotional problems like post-traumatic stress are some common examples.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerOn October 3, a man was killed after he tried to pass an 18-wheeler on I-35, winding up going under the vehicle on the right side. The car wound up coming to a stop just off the Manor Road exit, after sustaining severe damage. The driver was found deceased in the car. While there are no charges pending against the truck driver, this type of accident does illustrate how easy it is to misjudge distances and speeds when dealing with large trucks, and how it can be very easy for either you or the trucker to make a mistake. If you are involved in an accident with a big rig, understanding your options is a good idea going forward.

Numerous Causes of Accidents

If one examines statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), one can see that in approximately 5,430 fatal crashes in 2017, 433 (approximately 8 percent) involved semi-trucks or trucks with trailers. For injury crashes, the number lowers - of approximately 135,934 crashes involving injury, 3,325 involved big rigs (approximately 2 percent). It may not sound like much, but only passenger cars (including pickup trucks and SUVs) and motorcycles were responsible for more. Across these categories, one can infer numerous causes - for example, a lower percentage of injury crashes involve large trucks because the accidents involving large trucks tend to be more serious (thus, causing more fatalities than injuries).

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TX injury lawyerDuring 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.

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

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