Minor children who are passengers will generally be entitled to collect personal injury damages in Texas regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident. The question may come up with respect to one of the more serious and tragic car accidents occurring in the state, which took place recently on Highway 191 in Midland. Authorities report that a 27-year-old mother from Odessa drove her vehicle onto the highway in the wrong direction.
While operating eastbound in the westbound lane of 191, she collided with a vehicle occupied by two men. The mother, her 6-year-old daughter, and her 6-week old daughter all died. The two men in the other vehicle also died in the accident. This would appear to have been a distracted driving accident, with the woman carelessly entering the highway in the wrong manner.
Occasionally, a state highway department may be held liable for incorrect signage the confuses operators, but in most cases, this type of incident is caused by the driver making careless choices on where and how to enter the highway. If that is the case in this horrific mishap, the mother’s estate will be liable for wrongful death damages to the two men in the other vehicle. It is also likely that the estates of the two minors can make claims for wrongful death damages against the estate of the mother.
Historically, immediate family members could not maintain a claim against another family member due to the legal concept of inter-family immunity. However, due to court decisions in Texas and most other states, the concept is no longer generally enforced in car accidents, because it is considered to be against public policy. Therefore, insurers are generally bound to honor such claims under modern insurance law practice.
Source: newswest9.com, “UPDATE: Victims identified in Sunday night deadly crash, 2 children among them”, Violet Trevizo, July 3, 2017