Dallas Car Crash Causes Power Outage
- June 8, 2015
- Car Accidents
Police received a call about a man passed out in his vehicle in Dallas. They woke up the man when they went to investigate, and he tried to drive away. He hit several parked cars and an electric pole. He then crashed into a yard near Shelley Boulevard and Keats Drive. Thankfully, it does not appear that he hit any homes. The entire neighborhood lost power as a result of this man’s crash into the electric pole, and power was restored just before 5 a.m. The driver was transported to a local hospital, and his current condition is unknown.
Tort Liability in Dallas Car Crashes with a Single Vehicle
While it is possible that that this man was driving while under the influence of some kind of drug or alcohol, the tort implications of this situation are much more interesting. A “tort” is a legal wrong that leads to liability. That is, the person has committed a wrongful act or otherwise invaded the rights of another person. Generally, personal injury cases are based on tort law. There are four legal requirements to prove negligence in a general tort case.
1. Duty (to the person harmed)
2. Breach of the duty
3. Causation (the defendant caused the harm to the plaintiff)
4. Damages (the plaintiff actually suffered some kind of harm)
In a single car accident that only involves the driver and no passengers, there is usually no harm to other people because the accident only involves one vehicle. However, when the vehicle runs into something that could affect another person, like a house or electric pole, then there may be a possibility of a tort action.
Tort Liability in this Case
The first requirement for a tort action is that the driver in this situation owed a duty to the people who lost power. As a general rule, everyone has a duty of care to the people around them. If it is foreseeable that a person will be harmed by the driver’s carelessness, then the defendant would owe the other person a duty of care.
Drivers owe a duty of care to everyone on the road. However, it unclear whether they owe a duty of care to people who reside in homes close to where they are driving. Nonetheless, one California Court has stated “each case must be governed by the general rule that everyone is required to use ordinary care to prevent causing injury to others.”
Assuming the driver did have a duty to the residents of the homes, he definitely breached that duty by driving when he probably should not have been driving. The third requirement is causation, so the homeowners would have to prove that the driver caused them to lose power. Since the power company and the police department have both stated that the harm to the electric pole caused the homes to lose power, then that factor would probably be pretty easy to show in court.
The last requirement is that the homeowners suffered damages or harm. This one might be difficult to show because the power outage happened in the middle of the night and usually people are not harmed by a power outage while they sleep. However, if the power outage caused some other kind of damage, like a breathing machine to fail, then those damages could be severe.
This case is entirely hypothetical and could be analyzed several different ways. Each case involves many different legal implications and venues for recovery. If you have suffered from property damage or personal injury, speak with an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your specific situation.