A traffic accident on I-20 on August 1, 2020, claimed the lives of two Parker County residents. The car accident occurred just before 9:30 Saturday night, about 13 miles west of Weatherford. The vehicle was traveling east on I-20 when it suddenly left the road, hit a tree, and burst into flames.

State Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety continue to investigate the interstate accident. What caused the vehicle to veer off the interstate and hit a tree is still unknown.

The driver of the 2014 Mercedes Benz died from smoke inhalation and burns, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. The passenger in the vehicle died from blunt-force trauma. 

The driver was Rylan Cade Campbell from Aledo. The passenger was Cassandra Nicole Grooms from Weatherford. They were both 21 years old at the time of their deaths.

Wrongful Death Claims for Passengers in Car Accidents

It is unknown why this tragic crash occurred. The fault may lie with the driver, but there could be other factors involved that could have contributed to the cause of a crash. Many factors could be involved in a single-car crash, such as:

  • A hit-and-run driver or the actions of another motorist
  • Excess speed or reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to obey traffic laws
  • Passenger interference or negligence
  • Road debris or problems with visibility
  • Defective automobile parts or systems
  • Weather conditions
  • Distracted driving or drowsy driving

Whenever a passenger dies in a car accident, the person’s family may have a wrongful death claim against the person that caused the accident. That person could be the driver of the vehicle that the deceased was a passenger in at the time of the crash. Another motorist or a third party may be to blame for the cause of the crash.

Until law enforcement officers complete the accident investigation, the family does not know who to blame for the cause of their loved one’s death. A wrongful death lawyer may need to conduct an independent investigation to identify all potential defendants before filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death. The surviving spouse, children, and parents of a family member may file a wrongful death claim.

Filing Personal Injury Claims for Passenger Injuries

Passengers can sustain traumatic injuries in a car accident. In most cases, passengers are not to blame for the cause of the accident. Unless a passenger acted negligently and contributed to the cause of the crash, the passenger should be entitled to full compensation of damages from the parties who caused the accident.

As with a wrongful death claim, the passenger may have injury claims against one or more parties. The driver, another motorist, trucking company, automobile manufacturer, and a government entity are just a few of the parties that could be liable for the passenger’s damages.

Proving fault for the car accident involves gathering evidence to prove how the accident occurred. Evidence that an injury lawyer might use to prove fault and liability include:

  • Traffic camera footage
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Physical evidence from the accident scene
  • Video from nearby surveillance cameras
  • Photographs taken of the accident scene
  • Medical records for the passenger
  • Expert testimony from accident reconstructionists and other professionals
  • Data retrieved from the vehicle’s systems or black box
  • Cell phone records for all parties involved in the crash

After the parties who caused the accident are identified, the passenger can proceed with a personal injury claim to recover compensation for injuries, damages, and losses.

How Much as a Passenger Injury Claim Worth?

The value of a passenger injury claim depends on the facts and circumstances of the crash. In most cases, a passenger injured in a traffic accident can recover compensation for damages including:

  • Medical bills
  • Personal care costs
  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disabilities and impairments
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Diminished earning potential

The value of the damages depends on things such as the severity of your injuries and the amount of financial losses (medical bills and lost income) you incur because of the accident. If you sustain a permanent disability, your claim could be worth more because of future lost wages, personal care, and medical care.

However, the value of your car accident claim may be limited to the amount of insurance coverage for the other party. If the driver has minimum state insurance requirements, you may only receive $30,000 for your claim. 

A car accident lawyer can explore other options for recovery if the at-fault party does not have insurance or the insurance coverage is not sufficient to pay your claim.