Modified: November 19, 2022

Family of Houston Cyclist Killed by Dump Truck Files Wrongful Death Suit

On November 14, 2022, the family of Houston Cyclist Breana Powell filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Republic Waste Services for the death of their child trash truck incident. Let’s explore the details of the suit with Ehline Law office and our U.S.A. personal injury attorneys.

Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Republic Waste Services and Its Commercial Driver

On October 8, 2022, 27-year-old Breana Powell was riding on her bicycle from work to her home when she got hit by a Republic Waste Services garbage truck. According to Houston Police Department, the accident happened at an intersection between Broadway and Morley.

Houston Police Department Confirms Powell’s Death

The Houston Police Department identified the garbage truck driver as Jonathan David Woods, an employee of Republic Waste Services. Emergency responders immediately transported the fatally injured Powell to Ben Taub Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The Grieving Family Demands $1 Million for the Loss of Breana Powell

Muhammad Aziz, an attorney at Abraham Watkins law firm, represents Diane Francis and Powell’s estate. According to Aziz, the accident’s impact knocked Powell out of her shoes as the garbage truck continued to drag her on the road surface for a while.

In the wrongful death lawsuit filed, the defendants are Republic Waste Group and Woods (the company’s truck driver).

Under Texas law, surviving family members or the decedent’s estate can file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. The suit demands $1 million on behalf of Powell’s estate, but the settlement could be higher or lower.

Witness Statements Contradict What Defendant’s Attorney Is Claiming

The attorney representing the defendants, Brian T. Coolidge, stated that Woods did not see Powell. However, the attorney’s statement contradicts the witness statements. The witnesses who saw the gruesome accident noted that Powell wore a reflective vest, increasing the cyclist’s visibility.

According to the defendant’s attorney, Woods pulled into a parking lot to investigate the loud noise he heard. However, these statements made by the attorney do not match witness accounts. In a police report, many witnesses reported that they had to scream and honk to get the driver to stop.

Police Focusing Too Much on Powell Violating Stop Sign Rather than the Garbage Truck’s Negligence, Attorney Alleges

Aziz stated that the driver seemed utterly unaware of the incident when he should’ve known, just like all the witnesses who saw Powell.

According to Aziz, the police officers are focusing on how Powell entered the intersection after violating the red stop sign but are not questioning the garbage truck driver’s negligence.

Cyclist Advocate Stands with Breana Powell as She Had the Right of Way

A cyclist advocate, Fred Zapalac, also spoke about the incident. He stated she entered the intersection but was riding on the sidewalk. According to Zapalac, Powell had the right of way regardless of her timing on entering the intersection.

Will There Be Criminal Charges Pressed Against Woods?

When the police release evidence from an accident, it is one indication that they may not press criminal charges. If there is a prosecution case, the police keep evidence with them until the case is over. The Houston police handed over the evidence, bicycle, backpack, and other items, to the grieving family, suggesting there may not be criminal action against Woods.

Recoverable Damages in a Civil Suit

Depending on the type of accident and serious injuries, there are many different damages one can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. These may include medical treatment costs, lost wages, reduced quality of life, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and rehabilitation and therapy costs.

However, damages may vary in a wrongful death suit, and the decedent’s estate or surviving family members may recover medical bills, funeral costs, the loss of the decedent’s financial contributions, the loss of companionship, and others.

The court may also award punitive damages in accidents involving gross negligence or intentional misconduct. For example, a court may award punitive damages in a drunk-driving school bus accident. Were you or a family member in an incident involving trash collection any number of wast management companies?

Potential defendants you may be entitled to sue include:

  • Allied Waste Industries
  • Aspen
  • Best
  • Burrtec
  • Republic Services
  • Waste Connections Inc.
  • Waste Management
  • Casella
  • Norcal
  • Schupan & Sons
  • J.P. Mascaro & Sons
  • WCA
  • Country Waste and Recycling Service
  • E.L. Harvey & Sons
  • Red River Service Corp.
  • Modern Disposal Service Inc.
  • ABC Disposal Service
  • Mazza & Sons
  • J & J Refuse
  • Rustin Transportation
  • Randy’s.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

Cyclists and their loved ones may be eligible to pursue compensation for their loss against the other party responsible and make sure these defendants are held accountable. Our attorneys will help investigate the accident, gather evidence, including medical records, and fight aggressively for your legal rights. If you lost a loved one or suffered property damage loss due to another’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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