While traveling on Pecan Street in Pflugerville, a vehicle struck the protective barrier on the bridge over Highway 130, ejecting the driver out onto the lanes of 130 below. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. No other vehicle appears to have been involved in the accident, but not all single-vehicle accidents are entirely the fault of the driver. If you have lost a loved one in a single-vehicle crash, you should be aware that not all single-vehicle crashes are solely the fault of the driver, and that in some circumstances you may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death.
Another Actor May Be Liable
In a standard accident involving multiple vehicles, the question of liability is either avoided (if neither driver brings suit), or it is apportioned between the drivers if a lawsuit happens. With a single-vehicle crash, it can be easy to simply assume that all the liability is on the driver when this is simply not always the case. There are multiple scenarios in which another person or entity might be held liable for a single-vehicle accident. Some examples include:
- Dangerous road conditions, such as poorly marked potholes, broken lighting, or unmarked construction zones. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has a duty to manage the roads under their jurisdiction and to maintain them appropriately. If they fail to do so, they may be partly liable for your accident (assuming you can circumvent the Texas Tort Claims Act).
- Mechanical failures or other potential product liability cases. If, for example, your brakes suddenly fail, you may have a cause of action against the manufacturer of the part, the manufacturer of the car, or anyone who has performed maintenance on the vehicle, depending on the specific situation.
- The negligence of another driver who may have managed to avoid losing control over their vehicle. For example, a second driver may have swerved into your lane, causing you to lose control, but managed to drive away.
While there are multiple situations in which you may not bear all of the blame for your single-vehicle accident, it can be quite difficult to prove this unless you have specific evidence. For example, in a case involving a mechanical failure, you need to establish not only that your vehicle malfunctioned, but that it malfunctioned in a way that directly caused the harm you suffered (with no superseding cause). An experienced attorney may have ways to try and establish the appropriate negligence criteria, but it can be very difficult to do on your own....