Texas Court Discusses Establishing Negligence in Wrongful Death Cases Arising out of Car Accidents

Texas law permits people who lose their loved ones in collisions to pursue wrongful death claims. Generally, such claims assert that the defendant’s negligence caused the decedent’s death. Establishing that a defendant’s careless driving caused an accident can be challenging, especially when they are the only surviving party that witnessed the crash. Recently, in Pleasant v. Tomas Granados Hernandez & Universal Tire & Wheel, Inc. (NO. 14-21-00617-CV), the court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence to demonstrate negligence in a wrongful death case arising out of a car accident. If you lost a loved one in a car crash, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to a Texas truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the decedent was driving south on a Texas highway in October 2018. The defendant was approaching from the north in a box truck. When the two vehicles approached one another, the decedent suddenly crossed the center line. The defendant did not adjust his lane of travel, and the decedent subsequently struck the side of his vehicle, began spinning, and collided with a trailer being towed by a third vehicle.

Allegedly, the decedent sustained fatal injuries in the crash. As such, the plaintiff brought wrongful death claims against the defendant, alleging his negligence caused the decedent’s death. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted his motion. The plaintiff appealed.

Establishing Negligence in Wrongful Death Cases Arising out of Car Accidents

The court reversed the trial court ruling on appeal on the grounds that the defendant failed to establish that he did not breach his duty of care while driving the truck. The court explained that to prevail on her claims against the defendant, the plaintiff needed to demonstrate the existence of a duty owed by the defendant, a breach of the duty, and losses proximately caused by the breach.

The primary issue on appeal was whether the plaintiff produced sufficient evidence of a breach. To prove a breach, the plaintiff needed to show that the defendant either committed an act that a reasonably prudent person would not have done under similar circumstances or failed to do something a reasonably prudent person would have done. In Texas, all motorists have an obligation to exercise the care a reasonable person would use to avoid foreseeable risks of harm, which includes controlling their speed and keeping a proper lookout. In the subject case, the court found that a factual dispute existed as to whether the defendant upheld his duties as a motorist. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Capable Texas Attorney

Car accidents can cause critical injuries, which, tragically, are fatal in many cases. If you lost a loved one in a collision caused by another party’s negligent driving, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should meet with an attorney to discuss your potential claims. Earl Drott is a capable Texas attorney who is well-versed in what it requires to demonstrate fault in car crash cases, and if you engage his services, he will gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable outcome. You can reach Mr. Drott through the online form or at 903-531-9300 to set up a free meeting.

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