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Federal agents dispatched to investigate Texas traffic accident

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)-an independent arm of the federal government-has dispatched agents to Texas to investigate a crash that claimed the lives of 13 senior citizens. Though not unheard of, the NTSB's involvement is unusual. The Board's primary purpose is to conduct independent investigations of airplane crashes; it only takes an interest in traffic accidents when they are especially serious.

Unfortunately, this one was. In the Texas Hill Country, a pickup truck steered into a church minibus that was carrying a group of seniors returning home from a three-day church retreat. Except for one passenger, who remains in critical condition, everyone on the minibus died, including the driver. CNN and other outlets have referred to the crash site as "a gruesome scene."

The concerns of surviving family members

While the NTSB's purpose is not to determine liability, victims' family members-and their lawyers-will likely pay close attention to the investigation's results. Such accidents place a considerable financial burden on surviving family members, who are left to pay funeral expenses and any costs associated with medical care.

Through wrongful death claims, though, survivors can receive compensation for such concerns, as well as for pain and suffering and any other financial hardships they endure as a result of the death.

Who's at fault?

In the present case, initial reports indicate that the crash was the fault of the pickup truck. Prior to the accident, Real County law enforcement officers received multiple calls about an "erratic driver," and the accident was ultimately caused when the truck veered across the center line into oncoming traffic.

Yet when issues of legality and liability are involved, matters quickly become complex. Ultimately, some fault may rest, after all, on the church minibus-which would affect the amount of compensation to which surviving family members are entitled.

In the meantime, the church that the victims belonged to is doing all it can to act as a source of support for families and other affected individuals in the area, offering counseling and other services as the NTSB begins to conduct its investigation.

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