A tragic accident in Texas once again reminds the public that texting and driving is a sure way to increase the chances for loss of life and serious personal injuries. The accident involved the driver of a pickup truck who was reportedly texting and driving for a lengthy stretch on a two-lane road about 75 miles west of San Antonio, according to witnesses. The apparently negligent driver is reported to have gone over the yellow line and struck a mini-bus carrying elder members of a church group.
Thirteen of the mini-bus passengers died in the collision, despite reports that they were wearing lap belts. A disaster like this raises serious questions regarding whether Texas should prohibit texting while driving. The tragedy will also demand an onerous human toll in the small town of Leakey where the decedents lived.
In addition, the accident raises thorny insurance questions and the specter that there may not be enough insurance available to pay the wrongful death claims of 13 estates. Furthermore, at least one other victim remains critical in the hospital. It is unlikely that the 20-year-old pickup driver has sufficient liability insurance to compensate for the massive amount of human misery, including the economic losses, that he reportedly caused.
In such cases, it is helpful to seek out the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she will make an assiduous search to determine what other sources of insurance coverage may be liable to compensate the victims' estates. The church mini-bus may be one source of additional liability, in that the seat belts provided were reportedly insufficient to protect against the kind of fatally jarring impact that occurred.
Texas law also may allow a recovery of additional insurance through the private automobile coverage of each of the victims or their household members who owned an insured vehicle. The same kind of coverage may apply through the mini-bus insurance policy. That coverage is only available, however, if the applicable policies have provisions to help compensate for damages caused by a negligent driver who was under-insured. It is best to have an experienced professional seek out the complexities of insurance liability in such situations.
Source: nypost.com, "Accounts of fatal crash prove texting while driving is never worth it", April 1, 2017