When someone dies in an auto accident because of one driver’s negligence, the victim’s family may have a wrongful death claim against that motorist. But depending on the circumstances, the family might have more than one party they can seek compensation from.
One common example occurs when a negligent driver causes a fatal crash while in the course of their work duties. Truck drivers, cab drivers and others who spend all or most of their work day on the roads can be liable for any deadly incidents they cause. But so can their employers, in many cases.
Texas law recognizes that an employer can potentially be held responsible for the negligence of one of its employees. For example, say a trucking company hires a driver even though the company knew (or reasonably should have known) that the new hire had a history of drunk driving, speeding tickets and auto accidents. If that driver later causes a terrible wreck and somebody loses their life, the trucking company could be at least partly liable for its negligent hiring practices.
School district, school bus manufacturer accused after deadly crash
Tragically, a Texas family is pursuing wrongful death litigation against their local school district and the manufacturer and dealer of one of its school buses after their daughter, a 6-year-old girl, was struck and killed by one. The girl had gotten off the bus and was crossing in front of it when the driver suddenly drove forward. The girl got caught under the tires and later died of her injuries.
Her parents say that the school district contributed to the accident by negligently hiring the driver and by failing to keep the bus in a safe condition. Their lawsuit notes that the school bus lacked common safety equipment like a crossing arm that forces pedestrians to keep a certain distance from the front of the bus, cameras or motion sensors. The suit also accuses the bus’ manufacturer and seller for the bus’ lack of safety features to protect young passengers like the girl.
Having more than one potential defendant can give your family greater opportunities for compensation on behalf of the deceased and their next of kin. You may not realize your legal options until you discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer.