My best friend and i were on a motorcycle ride when a woman failed to yield right of way. she hit him, ran over him and killed him, this was a year and 4 months ago. my life has for ever been changed after seeing my life long friend killed. would i have a fighting chance at a law suite against her?
2002 harley softail 1550
What state are you in? Most states do not recognize non-relatives for the purpose of bystander actions in these types of incidents. You could have a suit against her for the injuries that you personally suffered, but not for the suffering from your boyfriend being killed.
Reply to PaulMJD's Post: not my boyfriend, best friend. I live in texas. the driver got nothing but a ticket.
In Texas, bystander recovery can be premised only upon a defendant's violation of a duty not to negligently cause emotional distress to people who observe conduct that causes harm to another. The bystander cases, beginning in California with Dillon v. Legg, 441 P.2d 912 (Cal. 1968), address the question of duty in situations in which a plaintiff seeks to recover damages as a witness to the negligent injury of another person. In Texas as well, the courts resolve the duty issue in bystander recovery cases by application of the guidelines set forth in Dillon. See Boyles v. Kerr, 855 S.W.2d 593, 598 (Tex. 1993).
The Texas Supreme Court has determined that there is no general duty to refrain from negligently inflicting emotional distress. Id. at 597 (overruling St. Elizabeth Hosp. v. Garrard, 730 S.W.2d 649 (Tex. 1987) to the extent it recognizes an independent right to recover for negligently inflicted emotional distress). The supreme court stated that "mental anguish damages should be compensated only in connection with defendant's breach of some other duty imposed by law." Boyles, 855 S.W.2d at 596. The court noted that its holding "does not affect the right of bystanders to recover emotional distress damages suffered as a result of witnessing a serious or fatal accident." Id. at 597. The court reaffirmed that the rules set forth in Dillon govern bystander recovery in Texas, and concluded that "efore a bystander may recover, he or she must establish that the defendant has negligently inflicted serious or fatal injuries on the primary victim." Id. at 598.
Therefore, you may have some chance at recovery. You need to consult with a lawyer to take your case.
JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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