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TWC lawsuit provides important lesson in car accident liability

The person responsible for the accident may be surprising.

The Weather Channel (TWC) is known for keeping the public informed about dangerous weather patterns. In some shows, the network will employ experts to track down and follow storms. A recent lawsuit claims one of these shows was too dangerous and that TWC encouraged reckless driving patterns that contributed to a fatal car accident.

A step back: A brief lesson in car accident liability

Victims, or those who lose loved ones, can hold responsible parties accountable through a civil lawsuit. The victim will need to establish the other driver was either reckless or negligent in their operation of the vehicle and that this reckless or negligent behavior contributed to the accident.

In some cases, liability may extend beyond the other driver. If the driver was operating the vehicle as a part of his or her job, the employer may be liable. If the vehicle was faulty, the manufacturer may bear some liability.

Application: Liability in this case

On March 28, 2017, a TWC vehicle ran a stop sign, causing a fatal car accident. Evidence from recordings shows TWC vehicle was speeding and had poor visibility out its front windshield due to TWC video equipment at the time of the crash. The accident resulted in the fatalities of all parties.

The mother of the 25-year-old filed suit against TWC. She states the show had a reputation for reckless driving, a practice the network failed to discourage. The lawsuit states the vehicle was in high speed pursuit, live streaming a tornado chase at the time of the accident. Video footage from the vehicle shows the crew failed to stop at four stop signs before the collision. It also states that TWC monitored and "worked very closely" with the television personalities that were involved in the crash, encouraging their reckless behavior. As a result, the family of the 25-year-old victim is seeking $125 million from TWC for the death of their loved one.

Why would the family attempt to hold TWC accountable? Likely for two reasons. First, by holding TWC accountable it will deter TWC and other stations from encouraging reckless behavior, ultimately making the community a safer place. Second, TWC is a large network with many resources. As a result, it can afford to provide financial compensation to those who are left behind after this tragic accident.

The court may review the evidence and determine the two television personalities took it upon themselves to drive recklessly. This would leave the family to pursue a case against the estates of the personalities.

Take away lesson: Liability can be difficult

This case provides an example of the different parties that may be responsible for a car accident. Victims of car accidents are wise to seek legal counsel to consider all possible parties that may bear some liability for the accident and better ensure the victim's right to legal remedies is protected.