Two people and the pregnant woman's unborn child are dead following a serious collision on a side road near Interstate 20.
The wreck occurred on Matlock in south Arlington. According to police and surveillance video, 27-year-old Tristan Bustillos pulled into a left turn lane as he was leaving soccer practice. For unknown reasons, Bustillos then continued travelling southbound on the northbound side of Matlock. Shortly thereafter, Bustillos hit an SUV head-on. Bustillos was killed almost instantly, as were a pregnant woman and her unborn child in the SUV. The woman's mother was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Investigators ruled out alcohol but they do not know the cause of the crash. Arlington Police Department Lt. Christopher Cook speculated that Bustillos might have been distracted or confused as to the road's layout.
Legal Issues in Wrong-Way Crashes
Frequently, these collisions are much more complex than they appear. There are many reasons why a driver might be on the wrong side of the road. Most of them, but not all of them, involve operator error.
Legally, the last clear chance doctrine often comes into play. Driver A might be on the wrong side of the roda, but Driver B still has a duty of reasonable care. That duty requires drivers to avoid accidents if possible. So, if Driver B had a reasonable opportunity to avoid the collision, Driver A is not legally responsible for damages.
Environmental and traffic conditions are often the determining factors. It's very difficult to perform evasive maneuvers in the dark or when conditions are otherwise less than ideal. Additionally, these things sometimes happen so fast that the other driver has little or no time to react.
The aforementioned damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills. In a serious injury crash, the hospital bill alone might be more than $100,000. This figure does not include subsequent medical care, like physical therapy. This number also does not include other economic losses, such as lost wages.
Most victims are also entitled to compensation for their noneconomic losses. This category includes things like:
Loss of enjoyment in life,
Pain and suffering,
Loss of consortium (companionship), and
To calculate the amount of noneconomic losses, a Fort Worth personal injury attorney often multiplies the economic losses by two, three, or four. The multiplier depends on the facts of the case and some other variables.
This calculation is usually a starting point for settlement negotiations. Most civil cases settle out of court. Like most other similar situations, these agreements usually involve some give and take.
No matter who got the ticket in a wrong-way crash, always have an attorney evaluate your claim. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. Home and hospital visits are available.