One Killed, Three Injured in Loop 820 Crash

Investigators say that adverse weather may have been a factor in a deadly crash which occurred on South Loop 820 near the Highway 287 interchange.

According to police and witnesses, a 19-year-old man apparently lost control of his vehicle, hit a guardrail, and careened into an embankment. The driver, Micah Neal of Watauga, was declared dead at the scene. The three passengers in the vehicle, whose names were not released, were all rushed to a nearby hospital with head injuries.

The three injured victims are expected to survive.

Types of Negligence in Car Wreck Claims

Generally, drivers gave a duty of reasonable care. They must obey the rules of the road and drive defensively. No one does these things 100 percent of the time. For example, most drivers cannot travel more than a few miles without breaking at least one traffic law.

So, where does a jury draw the line between a one-off accident and negligence? Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Behavioral: This type of negligence usually involves driver impairment, such as alcohol impairment. These tortfeasors know they should not drive, yet they get behind the wheel anyway.

  • Operational: Drivers who disobey traffic laws and cause crashes are usually responsible for damages as a matter of law. As mentioned, we all make driving mistakes. And, we all must accept the consequences of those mistakes.

  • Environmental: This final kind of negligence may have caused the above crash. When the sky is dark, the road is wet, or conditions are otherwise less than ideal, operators have a duty to adjust their driving habits accordingly. Many do not do so.

Damages in a car wreck claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Particularly in behavioral negligence claims, additional punitive damages may be available as well.

Legal Issues in Passenger Injury Claims

In many of these situations, the insurance company tries to use the assumption of the risk defense. This doctrine excuses liable conduct if the victim:

  • Voluntarily assumed

  • A known risk.

The argument is that the passenger knew the risks of a crash, especially if the operator was impaired. Therefore, these passengers are responsible for their own injuries. This doctrine is widely used in premises liability claims, such as dog bites.

However, there is a difference between a known risk and a theoretical one. Unless the victim saw the tortfeasor driving erratically in the moments before the crash, the risk of a collision was a theoretical risk and not a known risk.

So, if you were injured as a passenger, always have a Fort Worth personal injury attorney evaluate your situation. You may have a claim for damages. Furthermore, legal action is not about “blaming” anyone for the crash. It’s about obtaining the compensation you need.

Car crash victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. Home and hospital visits are available.