What can you do if this has happened to someone you loved or knew?
You will need to investigate the facts of the collision and prove that the other driver was at fault. Obtain the police report and file, photographs, statements from eyewitnesses, autopsy, medical records, and other evidence.
A good personal injury attorney will know how to get these jobs done quickly. Our law firm tracks down the police report for anyone at no charge as a public service, since we know this can be difficult.
2. Prove damages
Contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company, the usual source of recovery of compensation. Texas law allows for the recovery of certain medical bills (although there is a complicated formula to determine the amount), funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits, conscious pain and suffering, lost companionship and inheritance, and other damages. There are separate damages for wrongful death and survival actions.
3. Find out the amount of insurance coverage
The other driver may only have the standard $30,000 per person liability policy, but hopefully more is available. With some digging around, you may learn that other insurance policies and benefits are available. Many insurance companies will refuse to tell you the limits or benefits amounts.
4. Try to settle the claim . . .
Some insurance companies will pay the available amount of proceeds after liability is determined and you won’t need an injury lawyer. But some companies won’t pay without a lawyer involved and suit being filed. And there may be more money that can be claimed.
I just helped family members in Dallas recover the available $30,000.00 from a hit-and-run driver without charging attorney’s fees and showed them how the ambulance and hospital bill could be reduced. I make it a practice to do this on cases like these.
5. . . . or decide if a lawsuit should be filed
While most cases settle outside of a courtroom, sometimes court action is necessary. For example, if a commercial vehicle like a tractor-trailer caused the death, a lawsuit should be filed quickly so that evidence is not lost or destroyed and the full value of the claim can be obtained. Commercial insurance policies will be at least $500,000 or $750,000, depending on the truck involved, and they are usually in the millions of dollars.
Discovery into the other driver’s background, including past crashes and crimes, and the truck company’s safety record and training and supervision of its employees is essential. Research into the jury verdicts and settlements paid for other pedestrian deaths in Texas cases can give the family a ballpark figure of what their case is worth.
6. Hire a good personal injury lawyer
There are too many ways a person can accidentally diminish the value of a wrongful death claim if they treat it as a do-it-yourself project. There are a million details they won’t know about. For example, they will not know if they have to file a petition in probate court, an executor or administrator needs to be appointed, and court approval obtained. Further, their sorrow may delay them from taking action before important evidence is lost.
Here are some tips on how to decide who to hire and why I believe that my law firm can help a family the compensation you and your family deserve: 7 ways to pick top car accident attorney in Fort Worth.
Berenson Injury Law knows what to do to maximize the recovery of money to the family. Contact us for a free consultation about any collision including those involving cars, pickup trucks, 18-wheelers, motorcycles and bicycles — the only cases we handle — by clicking here.