There is a reason why Texas has laws requiring people to keep minors duly restrained in a moving vehicle. For one thing, anyone who is not strapped down may be easily ejected from a vehicle that is involved in a sudden crash or a rollover. That is the tragic result that occurred in a recent fatal accident on FM 1637 near China Spring when the apparently negligent driver of an SUV lost control around a curve and traveled off the road, then rolled over, according to the Texas Department of Safety.
A 6-year-old girl who was an unrestrained passenger was ejected from the SUV, per a DPS spokesperson. Responders airlifted the girl to Children’s Hospital in Temple, where she tragically died two days later. Also in the car, in addition to the 31-year-old driver, were a 39-year-old passenger and a 14-year-old passenger, according to the authorities. The medical status of the driver and two other passengers was unknown at last report. The relationship of the driver to the other passengers is currently unreported.
The DPS spokesperson reminded the public in an email how important it is to use seat belts and required child restraint systems. He indicated that the accident was under investigation. However, if the facts thus far reported are accurate, it is reasonably certain that the driver was negligent in failing to negotiate a curve on the road. Every driver has a duty to use due care under the circumstances, and that duty always extends to the passengers being transported by a driver. A driver must maintain sufficient control over the vehicle to prevent loss of control in such situations.
Texas traffic and negligence laws require that the driver not drive too fast for conditions. There is one remaining salient question that may be raised with respect to the liability of this negligent driver. If the decedent was the daughter of the driver, can the decedent’s estate sue the driver for wrongful death damages? The answer is affirmative because the remnants of a concept called inter-family immunity have been eliminated in most if not all states. The modern law is that a family member may sue another family member for negligence in causing a vehicular accident.
Source: kcentv.com, “6-year-old injured in China Spring crash dies at the hospital”, Stephen Adams, Jan. 24, 2018