Maintaining a cause of action against a governmental entity whose negligence led to a traffic accident can be difficult. Unlike other, private defendants, the State and the entities within it are entitled to certain protections that can make it harder for an injured person or deceased person’s family to prevail in a negligence lawsuit.
This is not to say, however, that such a suit cannot be won. Recently, a Texas jury returned a favorable verdict against a governmental entity whose alleged negligence resulted in the death of two people in a Texas car accident along a stretch of road in which several serious accidents had previously occurred. However, since the defendant was a governmental entity, the trial court was forced to reduce the award of damages to the accident victims and families. This is because Texas law places a cap on the amount of money damages that a governmental entity must pay when a court makes a finding of negligence against it.
Facts of the Case
In a recent case, the plaintiffs were individuals who had been hurt or lost family members in a 2016 motor vehicle accident that occurred in Travis County, Texas. At the time of the crash, the driver and four passengers were allegedly traveling along a two-mile stretch of road in which some 117 crashes had occurred between 2010 and 2016. The driver’s truck hydroplaned and the crash, killing two of the passengers and injuring the driver and remaining passengers. The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant state department of transportation, alleging that the road condition was “so worn and slick” that it posed an unreasonable risk of harm. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendant had actual knowledge of the highways dangerous condition insomuch as there had been at least four fatalities in the immediate vicinity of the crash in recent years and that the defendant had, in spite of this knowledge, failed to use ordinary care to make the premises safe.