Herreth Law
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Car Crash Kills Recent High School Graduates

Thumbnail image for civil law.jpegThe driver of a car full of teenagers apparently missed a stop sign and collided with another vehicle in a dangerous Fort Worth intersection.

According to police and witnesses, the wreck happened at the intersection of the Mansfield Highway and Glen Eden Drive. A northbound car failed to stop at a stop sign and smacked into another vehicle in the intersection. Two backseat passengers, 18-year-old Yosmeri Mendez and 18-year-old Dianaluisa Lopez, were declared dead at the scene.

Tiffany Hernandez, who lives near the crash site and knew the two deceased teenagers, said the recent Trimble Tech graduates "were going to have a future." The intersection is very dangerous, she added, because "No one really sees this stop [sign] so whenever cars come over here, they kind of come towards the left."

Passenger Injuries in Car Wreck Claims

Because they are usually not watching the road and are totally unprepared for a collision, many passengers suffer more serious injuries than many drivers. Whiplash is perhaps the most common injury in these situations. At the moment of impact, the victim's head violently snaps forward and backward. This whip-like motion damages the neck and spine.

Whiplash does not show up on X-rays and other traditional diagnostic tests, so it is difficult to diagnose. Moreover, whiplash cannot be corrected surgically, so it is very difficult to treat. Therefore, a Fort Worth personal injury attorney connects victims with car crash injury specialists.

Legally, passenger injuries often involve the assumption of the risk defense. This legal doctrine, which is normally associated with slip-and-fall injuries or other premises liability matters, excuses negligent conduct if the victim:

  • Voluntarily assumed

  • A known risk.

Insurance company lawyers typically argue that passengers assumed the risk of injury if they get into cars with impaired or inexperienced drivers. The assumption may be voluntary, but the risk is a theoretical one as opposed to a known one. So, this defense usually does not apply.

Defective Road Design

These claims are quite complex, largely because of the sovereign immunity doctrine. This legal loopholes states that governments cannot be sued. The idea goes back to the Middle Ages. Supposedly, kings ruled by divine right. Since they could never make a mistake, they could not be sued.

However, in modern law, sovereign immunity is usually limited to discretionary acts. A discretionary act is a high-level decision, such as deciding whether or not to put a stop sign in a certain place.

Sovereign immunity normally does not apply to ministerial acts. A ministerial act is a low-level matter, such as replacing a burned-out bulb on a streetlight.

Arguably, the stop sign placement was a ministerial act. City planners should have placed the sign in a different place, or at least put a "Stop Ahead" sign before the intersection to warn motorists of the duty to stop at the intersection.

Vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.

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