In January 2018, an armored truck driver in Arlington, Texas, made an unexpected left-hand turn, hitting and killing a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist's family filed a lawsuit against the security company that employed the driver, arguing that the company had a history of failing to adequately vet, train, and supervise its drivers.
In December 2018, a Dallas jury returned a $25 million wrongful death verdict against a club in Dallas. In reaching its verdict, the jury found that the club over-served former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent, who flipped his Mercedes, killing his friend and teammate Jerry Brown.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle earlier this year, Houston has the deadliest roads and drivers of any major metropolitan area in America. It is no secret that Houston's streets are particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Hit-and-run accidents involving pedestrians are significantly more common in Houston than the national average, and we have reported a number of hit-and-run fatalities involving pedestrians in these pages.
A disregard for speed limits and Texas Transportation Code laws can cost lives and cause injuries, as was the case with 17-year-old Zachary Escobar, a pedestrian. On the night of December 29, 2015, Defendant was operating a Mercedes SUV well in excess of the posted speed limit on Sendera Ranch Drive in Montgomery County, Texas. Defendant negligently and with no regard for the safety and well-being of others struck and killed Zachary Escobar.
Last week, two Florida teens were killed and another was injured when their Tesla Model S vehicle went off the roadway, struck a concrete wall and burst into flames. The single-vehicle crash happened in a residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Both the driver and the front passenger, who was ejected from the vehicle, died at the scene. The rear passenger was also ejected from the vehicle and transported to the hospital following the crash. Although the incident is still under investigation, early reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Tesla indicate that the vehicle's speed, rather than the partial self-driving Autopilot system, was the key factor in the crash. According to Tesla, if the Autopilot system had been engaged, the vehicle's speed would have been limited to 35 mph or less in the residential neighborhood, which is inconsistent with eyewitness statements. Following the crash, the NTSB announced that they were sending four officials to investigate the fire that broke out after the vehicle hit the concrete wall.
Firm Partner Benny Agosto, has reached a confidential settlement against Chilos Seafood Restaurant Incorporated regarding an incident that occurred on January 12, 2015. The settlement brings a favorable end to the lawsuit seeking compensation for the death of Ms. Allison Gallegos and Mrs. Eliselda Martinez in a car crash.
A recent study by Rice University's Kinder Institute found that intersections with stop lights are nine times more likely to have a fatal crash with pedestrians and bicyclists than those without stop lights. The study was prompted by the death of Rice University Professor Marjorie Corcoran who was hit and killed by a METRO light rail train near the Houston Medical Center in February. During the study, researchers examined records of all traffic crashes within the city of Houston from January 2010 to September 2016. Throughout this six-year period, there were 3,952 intersection-related automobile accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Of those accidents, 90 resulted in a fatality, 1,802 resulted in an injury, and 2,060 were no-injury crashes. From 2012 to 2015, researchers noted a 42 percent increase in intersection-related collisions in Houston.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 83,000 accidents every year related to driver fatigue. This annual average includes an estimated 886 fatal crashes, 37,000 injury crashes, and 45,000 property damage only crashes. NHTSA recognizes that these numbers are conservative estimates due to the fact that drowsy driving can only be self-reported and not measured like intoxication. Also, drowsiness is not reported when it is caused by other factors such as excessive alcohol consumption or taking medication. Although driver fatigue can cause an accident at any time during the day or night, NHTSA estimates that forty-eight percent of drowsy-driving related accidents occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The majority of these accidents involve a single vehicle, with no passengers other than the driver, running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking. Accidents related to driver fatigue also frequently occur on rural roads and highways.
In 2016, there were 3,400 fatal crashes on Texas highways and 175,000 injury accidents.
This past weekend, two fatal crashes claimed the lives of two women, and intoxication is suspected in both.