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Mark Bello
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Texas Governor Perry Vetoes Safe Passing Bill: Cyclist Deaths The Result?

7 comments

Approximately 50 cyclists, 400 pedestrians, and 500 motorcyclists are killed every year in Texas. Many of those fatalities could have been prevented under the Safe Passing Bill. Anti-justice, pro-insurance, Texas Governor, Rick Perry, vetoed this bill that would have allowed cyclists and other vulnerable road users a little more space on most highways

Two years ago, a Texas couple was in a head-on collision when a truck swerved, over-corrected, and collided with their vehicle. They survived the collision, though they endured a long, grueling recovery. Tragically, almost unbelievably, the couple’s family experienced an even worse set of circumstances on October 1, 2009. Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler were riding a tandem bicycle on Texas 16; a truck driven by Gilbert Sullaway lost control, veered off the road, over-corrected, and slammed into the couple from behind, dragging their bicycle 200 feet. Both were wearing bicycle helmets; they were not enough to protect them from death in this tragic accident. Alexandra was pronounced dead at the scene; Gregory was airlifted to the hospital where he later died. The couple is survived by their seven-year-old daughter, Kylie. Investigators said that Mr. Sullaway took his eyes off the road; the curve came much faster than anticipated. There was no evidence of alcohol or drug involvement.

Might passage of the Safe Passing law have saved the Bruehler’s? Difficult to determine since we do not fully know the extent to which Sullaway’s distracted driving played a role in the tragedy; existing law required him to be responsible, careful and attentive on that day. Cyclists and pedestrians will, at one time or another, be in the roadway. Sometimes, they will be in our path of travel. It is imperative that all drivers be aware of their presence in and about the traveled portion of our highways, roads and bridges. Cyclists and pedestrian are much more vulnerable than vehicles. Bicycle helmets offer little proctection against 55-70 MPH cars and trucks.

What is unknown is why Sullaway was distracted. He was traveling 70 mph in a 65 mph zone – a violation of the law, yet, he did not receive a traffic violation. He, admittedly, drove on the shoulder of the road – another violation of the law; again, he received no citation. No criminal charges have been filed; authorities opined that for Sullaway to be subject to arrest, he would have had to intentionally strike the Bruehler’s or be under the influence. Under the current law, unless a driver is intoxicated or high, it is difficult to prove recklessness and negligence. Should the law be changed? Should drivers be fully responsible for their actions? And what of the Bruehler’s little girl, Kylie? Who speaks for her? Who protects her rights? She receives a life sentence without parents.

Kylie’s grandfathers filed a wrongful death lawsuit on November 9, 2009 on behalf of their granddaughter. In addition to Sullaway, the lawsuit was filed against his employer, Advanced Detection Security Services because Sullaway was on duty at the time the accident occurred. Gray Bruehler, Kylie’s grandfather, said they filed the lawsuit to ensure that Kylie has enough financial support to “at least get her through college.” The lawsuit seeks compensation for medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and for the bicyclists “pre-death pain, suffering, and mental anguish.”

Pedestrian or bicyclists injured in a collision with a motor vehicle are, almost always seriously or catastrophically injured. In litigation, an innocent pedestrian or bicyclist may recover damages for medical and funeral expenses, loss wages, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, loss of financial support, and mental anguish. A personal injury attorney who specializes in auto/truck bicycle accidents will guide you through the difficult legal process; if you do not have a lawyer, the Lawsuit Financial Attorney Referral Program will locate a specialist for you within 24 hours of your request.

Determining liability and obtaining case resolution are often long and complicated processes. The daily necessities of life continue; bills must be paid. You want to fight for your rights, but struggle to meet your daily financial obligations. Should you settle your case as quickly as possible for whatever you can get? That strategy guarantees that you will settle the case for less than its true value. Do yourself a favor: Discuss lawsuit funding with your attorney. Ask him whether a strategic lawsuit cash advance might enhance the value of your case. Lawsuit Funding services may be preferred to an early and cheap resolution of your valuable case.

Losing a parent is devastating to a young child. Losing children is equally devastating; it is not the natural order of things, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to Kylie and the entire Bruehler family. Wrongful death lawsuits are very contentious and often take years to resolve. Lawsuit Financial helps families through such difficult times; we are very sensitive to your needs. We offer free consultations to evaluate your case and financial needs.

7 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Ah Texas the great example of all that is wrong in the tort world. But, I would bet a number of the Gov’s friends are making money hand over fist.

  2. Bildo says:
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    You know what would have saved Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler? Not riding toys on a highway built for cars.

    Parasitic lawyers have drained society of its wealth, and its sense of personal responsibility. Passing a law to create more restrictions on drivers, and more opportunities for blood sucking lawyers to sue, is all this is truly about.

  3. Bret Hanna says:
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    Bildo: Your lack of compassion for the Bruehlers and anyone else injured by someone’s negligence is astounding. I certainly hope that you or your loved ones never find yourself in the same place. If you do, I hope society and the civil justice show more compassion that you seem to be able to muster.

  4. Mike Bryant says:
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    Bildo you want to explain the personal responsibility of the driver? How about a car vs a truck? A truck vs. a train? I guess Texas is looking towards the need to return to the old west. Their protection of consumers rights is an atrocity.

  5. Bildo says:
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    Bret & Mike:

    “Your lack of compassion for the Bruehlers and anyone else injured by someone’s negligence is astounding.”

    Compassion? This has absolutely nothing to do with compassion. It has everything to do with paragraph 5 above. It’s about creating more reasons to file lawsuits. It’s about trying to find more ways for the legal profession to earn a living at the expense of everyone else.

    People in this country have been led to believe that if something bad happens to them they deserve to win the lottery. Seriously, how many times have we heard the line “the settlement you deserve!” in a personal injury lawyer’s commercials? Well the settlement that is deserved is more often than not, zero. Unfortunately, tortuous extortion is perfectly legal in this country.

    It’s not about the personal responsibility of the driver. His insurance carrier will pay any settlement, thus driving up the cost of goods and services for all of society. It’s not about the Bruehlers, no settlement in the world will bring them back. It’s not even about their daughter, who is the real victim here. It’s only about finding another legal basis to file a lawsuit.

    You want to save more lives? Fine, I’m all for that. Prohibit the use of bicycles on all roads that do not have bike lanes. That would certainly save far more lives that this pathetic attempt to increase your annual contingency fees.

  6. Mark Bello says:
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    Bildo: I am confused. How does advocating for a “safe passage” lane translate into “creating more reasons to file lawsuits”? If Governor Perry had not vetoed the proposed legislation, there would have been a “safe passage” lane for bicylists and this accident might not have happened. That was the point of the blog. It was a safety message attempting to alert people to an issue that would prevent accidents, thus preventing lawsuits resulting from them. I would think that you, a person who obviously hates lawyers and lawsuits, would be supportive of such a safety effort, not opposed. Or, do you simply like being offered a forum to bash lawyers and serious injury accident victims without thinking about what you are advocating for? Why don’t you rail on the insurance companies, who despite being handed the first “government bailout” in the form of tort reform all over the country, charge you and me record high premiums despite paying out less in settlements and verdicts? Your premise that goods and services are being driven up by the cost of settlements is absurd on its face. Premiums go up, historically, whenever insurance companies lose money in a down market. We are in a down market; a lot of wealth has been lost, and suddenly, victim compensation is a big issue. What a coincidence! You want to bash those who are responsible? Try the insurance companies.

  7. Christy R says:
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    Bildo,
    I was appalled at your comments. First, this was a tragedy that could have been prevented. Maybe there should be bike lanes, and if there was, maybe this tragedy would have been prevented. But, if Mr. Sullaway was driving more carefully, it could have also been prevented. There is always a “what if.” What if you didn’t eat the hamburger with e-coli? What if you didn’t miss the flying ball that now leaves you with a traumatic brain injury? Lawyers are just doing their jobs – representing their clients in the clients best interest. I don’t know what your occupation is, but I always do whatever I can for my clients. Do you think lawyers are that heartless that they look to the money and not with a compassionate heart to really want to help someone in need. And no, I am not a lawyer nor are any of my family members. I just think that you should put yourself in the shoes of others before chastising.