On a recent morning, a San Antonio woman was pinned in her vehicle after a crash with a tractor belonging to the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). She escaped serious injury, as fire crews managed to free her from the wreckage not long before her vehicle caught fire. While as of this writing, there is no indication that the woman plans to bring suit against SAWS, it is possible that she could try to seek compensation for the tractor driver’s perceived negligence. In cases like this, however, there are multiple different obstacles that one must overcome in order to prevail in court.
Potential For Injury Can Be High
While accidents with farm-related equipment are relatively rare, tractors do play an outsized role in fatalities that happen among agricultural workers in particular, with approximately 40 percent of those deaths involving a tractor in some way. Tractors and heavy machinery used by utility companies have a different function than farm equipment, but can nonetheless cause just as much danger to those who are not qualified to operate or be around them - an average of 60 people per year are run over by tractors, and collisions with motor vehicles result in roughly 50 fatalities per year.
If you are involved in an accident with a tractor, and it is not due to your own conduct, there are several different causes of action that you may be able to allege in a personal injury suit against the tractor’s driver or their employer (in this case, SAWS). You may be able to show that the driver was negligent - in other words, that if they had not acted in the way they did, you would not have been injured. Another common argument in such a case is to try to find the manufacturer liable if you believe that there was a fault in the tractor or its component parts - this case would fall under product liability law. Depending on the situation, any of these may be true in your case....