Local reports indicate a woman was killed after her vehicle left the roadway and struck a VIA bus stop shelter. The accident occurred around 2:30 a.m. when 32-year-old Michelle Elizabeth Meade struck the shelter ejecting her from the vehicle and the becoming pinned by the vehicle in a private parking lot. The San Antonio police report states the woman had been drinking and authorities believe that may have been a cause of the accident.
Site of the Accident
View Larger Map
I would guess some of you are wondering how this tragedy is blog-worthy being that this is a single-vehicle accident. Well the timing and nature of this accident strikes me as an opportunity to discuss how intricate single-vehicle accidents and subsequent investigations really turn out. An independent investigation is needed to determine all liability in this matter. The drinking aside for a moment I will say that my firm has litigated several single-vehicle wrecks where mechanical failure caused the accident. An expert in the field is needed to determine if all parts were functioning properly prior to the wreck. Just one failure of any number of systems could implicate a manufacturer in a wrongful death claim.
Now discussing the alleged alcohol usage there is another third party potential. I mentioned earlier the timing of the accident could imply the woman had just left a bar or restaurant after its closing. The state of Texas has in place what are called dram shop laws that could place partial liability on an alcohol-serving establishment. The laws seek to balance the interests of patrons with the bars interest in making a profit off of them. Dram shop in no way removes fault from the driver but rather is a tool used to hold these places accountable to the rules set forth by the TABC. In this state it is a privilege not a right to hold a liquor license and part of this privilege is abiding by the patron intoxication rule.
Again a driver who chooses to drink and drive should hold great fault in an accident but dram shop is used to also hold establishments accountable who serve patrons past the point of intoxication creating a very dangerous environment for everyone.
San Antonio Wrongful Death Attorney Michael Grossman