Available 24/7 Free Consultations
(713) 470-9714
Request Free Consultation

How Can Families Pursue Wrongful Death Claims for Fatal Car Accidents in Texas?

Posted on July 9, 2024 in

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Texas?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim that arises after someone suffers a fatal injury if that was the result of someone else’s negligence, maliciousness, or recklessness. The purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to compensate surviving family members for the loss of their loved one, as well as financial losses associated with the medical expenses that arose from the accident injuries.

In Texas, the rate of a person being killed in an auto accident is approximately one individual every 2 1/2 hours. Very few states have more fatal car accidents than Texas. In recently recorded years, it was found that there were no days without deaths on Texas roads in 2017.

Distracted driving, accidents at intersections, driving under the influence of alcohol, and failure to wear seat belts in auto accidents are traced back to common causes of car accident fatalities.

Wrongful deaths are defined by Texas law as deaths caused by wrongful acts, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default of another person. This is a fairly broad legal definition, which can encompass many different scenarios, including car accidents.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

In the state of Texas, only certain individuals are legally permitted to bring a wrongful death claim. In most cases, only immediate family members, such as a surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased, are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit (this includes adoptive children and adoptive parents). However, there are certain exceptions.

If qualified family members either do not exist or fail to request a claim to be filed within three months of their loved one’s passing, the right to file a wrongful death suit goes on to a representative of the decedent’s estate.

Estate representatives have the legal right to file wrongful death claims on behalf of the decedent’s family members or to take over the claim if the family members choose not to pursue one. Representatives of an estate may include family members of the deceased individual or the lawyers representing the behalf of the decedent’s family.

If you believe that you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Texas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our law firm to discuss your case in more detail. We understand that these are difficult times for you and your family members, so we will strive to provide only the most compassionate legal services to you and yours. You bring the case to us; we do the work.

Who Can’t File Wrongful Death Claims in Texas?

Siblings and distant relatives generally do not have the legal authority to file a wrongful death claim in Texas on their own. This may seem insensitive to your loss, and we sincerely offer our deepest regrets. However, you should know that you still have certain legal rights to recover benefits through a claim if that claim is filed by a personal estate representative. To learn more, we encourage you to contact our law offices to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.

When Can Surviving Family Members Sue After a Fatal Car Accident?

Most fatal car accidents are avoidable. Tragically, the cause of loss of life can be traced back to negligence, recklessness, or maliciousness of the at-fault driver. To pursue compensation in a wrongful death case, the plaintiffs must have certain legal grounds to do so.

These include the following:

  • Texting while driving, which resulted in an accident that cost the life of your loved one
  • Drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs impairing a driver’s ability
  • Running a red light, stop sign, or breaking other rules of the road, which resulted in a collision
  • Driving at excessive speeds, which resulted in a car wreck that killed your family member
  • Motor vehicle defects and maintenance issues that render a vehicle unsafe
  • Drowsy driving and drive fatigue
  • Negligent hiring and supervision of commercial truck drivers and other employees of the trucking industry.

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in TX?

The process for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas will vary depending on the liable parties. However, seeing as most car accident cases involving fatal injuries revolve around claims of driver negligence, most wrongful death cases will begin with the filing of an injury claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance company policy.

When contending with insurance companies, it is good practice to always be careful and work with qualified legal representation. This is especially true in cases involving wrongful death.

The process begins by determining the eligibility of spouses, children, and parents of the deceased to file wrongful death claims. Then, it is essential to gather evidence to support your claim and identify liable parties. Our wrongful death lawyers will work with experts to assess the full extent of damages and losses you are entitled to in order to arrive at a fair settlement amount. Once that has been accomplished, your case will be filed within the statute of limitations. It may become necessary to negotiate with the defendants as well as the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If necessary, your case could go to trial, at which point our experienced trial attorneys would represent your case in a court of law.

What Kind of Financial Recovery Can Families Hope to Obtain?

How much your case is worth depends on several factors, such as the nature of the accident, who was involved, their insurance policy, and more. As your legal representatives, we can help fight for the maximum compensation for your wrongful death case.

Compensation may include the following:

  •  Burial costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pre-death medical bills and medical expenses resulting from the car accident injuries
  • Lost wages
  • Lost household income
  • Loss of companionship or consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

In certain wrongful death cases, it may also be possible to pursue punitive damages from the at-fault party. These damages seek to punish the at-fault party or make an example out of them. Punitive damages will be solely determined by the court and are not part of your wrongful death claim.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims Following Texas Car Crashes?

The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Texas is two years. This means that, in most cases, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s untimely death to file a claim against the liable party. Do not delay contacting our law firm to discuss your case in more detail.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

If you have recently lost a loved one in a fatal car collision, our wrongful death attorneys can help you file a lawsuit and pursue financial compensation. To learn more about our legal services, please get in touch with our Houston law office to schedule your free initial consultation today.

You may contact our law offices at 713-489-1875.