Negligent Road Conditions Results in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Case Title: Furlan v. Webber

On July 15, 2013, a family of five was traveling in a 2006 Ford F series pickup truck on Interstate Highway 35 near Abbott, Texas. As they went through a highway construction area, they drove through a pool of water, which caused the driver to lose control of the car. It rolled over and came to rest on the shoulder. All occupants of the pickup suffered injures and one person, the mother of the family, died from her injuries. Two of the children suffered head and spinal injuries.

Unsafe Roadway Conditions

This area of I-35 was under construction by Webber, LLC, a general contractor to the state of Texas. The contract for the highway construction project that Webber signed promised that they would keep the roadway open and safe for public travel and maintain the road in passable condition. They agreed specifically to control water in the construction zone, even pumping it away if necessary. In 2012, Webber’s project manager realized that water was pooling at a low point in the road and there was a need for a temporary drain in that location. The company got a change order approved for the project but failed to inform the subcontractor working on this area. As a result, the drain was not installed. To make matters worse, when a worker at Webber realized the work had not been done, they simply broke a hole in the ground in that area. Their “quick fix” compromised a nearby drain, reducing its effectiveness by 85-90%. Water continued to pool on the road in this area.

This pooling water caused many accidents in 2013. A Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer stated that more accidents occurred in this area than at any other place in the county. There were at least four accidents in May 2013, at least two in June 2013, and four more accidents in July 2013. There was actually another accident on the same day of the Furlan family accident. Five days after their accident, another vehicle lost control and rolled over in the exact same place.

Although the DPS traffic report stated that the Furlan driver was speeding, several witnesses testified that they were moving with the flow of traffic and not at an extreme rate of speed. Witnesses also testified that they appeared to be driving in a safe way and that it seemed to them that the standing water is what caused the truck to depart the road and roll over.

A Positive Outcome for Our Clients

Slack Davis Sanger attorney Mike Davis represented the family in this matter. He clearly demonstrated that Webber, LLC told the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) that they would install a drain to take care of the pooling water, but never did. Several times throughout the fall of 2013, Webber discussed ways to take care of the water issue without ever disclosing that they had not taken the measures they had agreed to. Their negligence caused an unsafe driving situation, a fact that they admitted publicly. Mike Davis zealously represented the family, resulting in a fair settlement that helped the Furlan family move on from this otherwise preventable accident without insurmountable financial hardship.

Mike Davis led the firm’s personal injury and trial litigation practice for nearly 30 years. He handled numerous personal injury cases throughout his career, including 18-wheeler accidents, serious car accidents, and oilfield accidents.

Date of Incident

April 2, 2018

Location of Incident

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