Dallas Law Firm Blog

Dallas Hit-and-Run Accident Ends in Death

Dallas Hit-and-Run AccidentOn May 3, 2015, a Dallas hit-and-run accident occurred that ended up killing the driver at fault. A white Chevy Tahoe was involved in a minor fender bender at the intersection of Royal Lane and Harry Hines Blvd. Instead of stopping, the driver sped through a red light and hit another car. It then flipped and hit a pole. The driver died at the scene of the accident. A nearby store owner stated that if the driver would not have hit the pole, then the car likely would have crashed into his store. The other driver in the second accident was taken the hospital, and her injuries are not life-threatening.

In Texas, like many states, a hit-and-run is a crime. Any time that a person does not stop after an accident that causes death, injury, or property damage, then that person could be charged with a hit and run. Those injured and who suffered property damage can also bring a personal liability suit against anyone who commits a hit-and-run.

This case is unique, however, because the driver at fault actually passed away in the accident. Although this situation is not unheard of, it is rare in hit-and-run cases because part of a hit-and-run is that the driver left the scene of the accident, which they would obviously not be able to do if they passed away in the accident.

Suing for Personal Injuries When the Person at Fault Has Passed Away

As a general rule, if the person at fault dies before you bring a lawsuit, you can usually sue that person’s estate. That basically means that if that individual has any money left when they die, then that money may be available for the purposes of a lawsuit. However, it is not just a “free” suit, because the deceased person’s family or heirs can still defend the lawsuit, and they have all of the rights that the person who committed the act would have if he or she were alive.

Do not let the fact that the person who committed a wrong is dead stop you from asserting a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Keep in mind, however, that the statute of limitations, the period in which you must bring the lawsuit by law, will likely be affected by the death of the would-be defendant. Usually, personal injury lawsuits in Texas have a statute of limitations of two years. That means that the injured person must bring the case within two years from the date of the injury. If they try to assert the case after the two-year period, then the court will, in all likelihood, refuse to hear the case.

Where someone has died before the statute of limitations period is over, the person’s death will suspend the running of the statute of limitations for 12 months after the death. That basically means that the statute of limitations is extended for an additional year. For this particular personal injury suit, then, the person injured will have three years to bring a lawsuit.

If you have been involved in any type of accident, contact an experienced Dallas car accident attorney to help you with your case.