A Rio Grande Valley family is suing SpaceX for the wrongful death of their father who lost his life in a car accident outside of the SpaceX launch site. The family alleges that the tech company was grossly negligent in the maintenance and maneuverability of the road outside of their facility.
The Deadly Accident
On June 7, 2020, the family was camping at Boca Chica Beach when the rising tides forced them to evacuate the site at about 4 a.m. While driving home on Highway 4, the family was involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler.
The family was passing the SpaceX facility when they collided with a semi-truck that had stalled in the road in front of the facility. As a result, the 35-year-old father was killed. The autopsy states that the victim’s cause of death was “blunt force trauma from a motor vehicle accident.”
Meanwhile, the man’s wife and three children suffered injuries to their legs and spines.
The family claims that the fault of the accident falls on SpaceX for their alleged gross negligence. The family lawyer argues that SpaceX failed to sufficiently upgrade and equip the highway in front of their facility to account for increased usage and traffic.
According to the suit filed on May 7, 2021, SpaceX failed to maintain adequate lighting, warnings, and directives for delivery drivers, creating a hazardous environment for beachgoing drivers. Court documents state that the roadway was too narrow and difficult to navigate, especially due to its insufficient lighting. The suit argues that it is SpaceX’s responsibility to widen the roadway.
On the other hand, lawyers for SpaceX argue that it was the driver who was negligent in this case. They claim that the driver failed to exercise the necessary, expected caution while traveling on the highway.
Who Is Responsible for Maintaining Roads in Texas?
Most of us have had the experience of driving down a pock-marked and bump-ridden highway only to ask ourselves, how could it have gotten this bad? The unfortunate truth is, there are plenty of reasons that roadways in the U.S. fall into disrepair. While part of the issue is infrastructure planning and individuals’ negligence, another factor is determining who should be held responsible for road maintenance.
There are several different parties that may be responsible for adjusting a roadway to account for added traffic. First, federal, state, and local governments all may play a role depending on the type and location of the roadway. According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, state and local government-maintained roadways account for 97% of all roads in the U.S.
The responsibility businesses hold over the roadways their workers drive on is limited. Basically, landowners are required to comply with all laws applicable to their property, including maintaining the right-of-way.
If you’ve been injured on an unsafe roadway in Texas, contact the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns for help making a strong case or claim.
Source: Chiropractors Daily News