How To File A Wrongful Death Claim In Auto Crash In Texas
In less than eight hours Thursday night – Friday morning, DFW highways were shut down due to these tragic car wrecks:
10:30 p.m. in Grand Prairie – car driven by a young man cut off 63-year-old woman on Carrier Parkway and causes her SUV to tumble down a hill;
3:30 a.m. in Garland – young woman crashed into a barrier wall on Interstate 635; second car driven by a young woman driving while intoxicated killed the first driver and a Good Samaritan; and
6:00 a.m. in Fort Worth – speeding car flipped over on Highway 287
Of course, no one thinks that a fatal car accident will ever affect them. But it happens more than you might think. Almost 3,800 people were killed in traffic accidents in Texas last year — almost an all-time record — with about 1,000 of those caused by a person driving while intoxicated. Our highways are far too dangerous.
I certainly hope you’ll never need this information, but here are some frequently asked questions about these cases:
How can the families of the victims collect damages for wrongful deaths?
After you lose a loved one, the last thing on your mind is meeting a lawyer. But sometimes that is the only way to resolve a myriad of legal issues and get you and your family members the compensation you deserve.
Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death?
Under Texas law only the spouse, children and parents are entitled. Siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren, and others are precluded.
What Happens If No Eligible Family Member Files a Claim?
After three months, an executor of the estate may do so, and any money recovered will be distributed to the beneficiaries by agreement or decree of the probate court.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
The family members and estate can be compensated for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Burial and funeral costs
- Lost income and benefits
- Loss of care, counsel, and services
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages – in extreme cases
How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Death cases can be legally complex and emotionally devastating. And there may not be enough insurance proceeds or assets from the negligent party and his or her company(depending on who owned the vehicle involved) to go around. If the at-fault driver is an individual with the standard $30,000/$60,000/$25,000 liability policy and no non-exempt assets to pay a verdict, a lawyer may not be necessary unless their insurance company refuses to pay.
Sometimes the services of a car wreck lawyer are necessary. For example, I am involved in a death case where the court process will determine whether there was a liability policy in effect at the time of the tragic death which took the lives of two young men. And I successfully resolved a death case last week for a substantial sum for the parents of a man killed riding his motorcycle in Fort Worth.
It is important to consult with an injury attorney and get all information you and the other family members need to make intelligent decisions.
Berenson Injury Law offers a free analysis to help you know if you have a claim for death benefits and what your rights are under the law.