A wrongful death lawsuit can usually be filed in civil court by surviving family members of anyone whose death is alleged to have been caused by the negligent or intentional acts of another. In a recent Texas case, the surviving children of a couple who was killed in a highway construction zone are pursuing a wrongful death claim. The tragedy occurred in 2013, a few days shy of the couple’s plans to celebrate 65 years of marriage together.
The two were traveling on the highway when a dump truck from a nearby construction zone veered through the median and landed atop their vehicle, killing them both. The 19-year-old driver of the truck was charged with criminal homicide by negligence. An attorney representing the children of the couple asserted that the young worker had no experience on the job, was never drug tested as state laws require and was not properly trained by his employer to work in a construction zone. The attorney further claimed that the employer failed to meet both state and federal requirements for being on the highway project.
The trucker testified that he did not feel he should be held responsible for the death of the couple because he had been cut-off by another vehicle on the road. The company who hired the worker had been subcontracted to work on the highway project through a larger corporation. The superintendent of that corporation admitted in court that — although his company follows all safety checks, protocols and laws set by the federal and state government — it does not check to make sure that the companies it hires through subcontracts do the same.
A Texas court will ultimately determine the liability claims regarding this fatal construction zone tragedy. While it remains to be seen what the result of this wrongful death litigation will be, the fact remains that the elderly couple lost their lives as the result of a collision with a truck operated by a construction zone worker. The status of the worker’s criminal proceedings was not reported. In addition to naming the trucker as a defendant, the family has also sued the man’s employer and the contractor responsible for hiring that employer to work on the highway project.
Source: CBS DFW, “I-Team: Construction Zone Oversight Leaves Grieving Family In Limbo“, Ginger Allen, Feb. 6, 2015