Dallas, TX — November 14, 2017, one person was killed and two others were injured after an accident in which a tow truck crashed into an SUV on Stemmons.
Officials from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department reported that the incident happened at around 1:30 a.m. near the intersection of I-35E and Regal Row.
Initial reports indicated that a tow truck was traveling along the interstate at the time. For reasons which are unclear, the truck crashed into an SUV. The tow truck then ran off the side of the road and crashed into a creek bed.
Two people from the SUV and the driver of the tow truck were all taken to a hospital in unspecified conditions. One of those people later died, though it’s not yet clear who.
Investigations are currently ongoing.
Map of the Area
Based on the wording of these reports and some of the footage from the scene, it certainly appears as though the tow truck rear-ended the SUV. Most people are under the impression that if a driver rear-ends someone, then they are automatically liable for the resulting damages. In reality, the law is a bit more nuanced than that.
Texas works on what is called a modified comparative fault system of liability. If someone sues for injuries sustained in a crash, if they can prove that the defendant is at least 51% at fault for the crash, then their claim is successful. In other words, whoever’s actions were mostly responsible for the crash is liable for the accident.
So what might that mean in the context of a rear-end accident? Well let’s say, for example, the front vehicle was stopped at a red light and the second vehicle rear ends it. In all likelihood, a jury would say the rear driver was 100% at fault, and therefore is on the hook for 100% of the damages. If they were on the highway, however, and the front vehicle was driving 20 MPH in the fast lane, perhaps a jury would say that driver was 40% responsible. The rear vehicle driver still bears the majority of the fault (60%) and is therefore on the hook for 60% of the damages.
If, however, the front vehicle suddenly veered into the path of the second vehicle and slammed on its brakes, a jury might decide the front driver is 51% at fault for their own injuries. If that happened to be the case, then the rear driver wouldn’t be responsible for any of the damages, and the front driver would be on the hook for all of their injuries.
These are just a few scenarios which tend to follow rear-end accidents like this. Ultimately, deciding who is liable after a serious accident requires extensive, tangible evidence. Getting that evidence after an accident involving a commercial truck is going to require an experienced accident reconstructionist who has years of experience and proper equipment. The sooner a professional can get to the scene, the better chance the victims and their families have of reaching a resolution.
–Grossman Law Offices