There is nothing worse than losing a loved one. Finding out that they are gone because of another driver’s negligence on the road can be completely devastating. If you lost a loved one due to another driver’s negligence, then you might be able to seek Houston auto accident compensation through a wrongful death suit. In this article, we’ll discuss what kinds of compensation may be available to you in these cases.
Lost a Loved One to a Car Crash? You May Be Entitled to Houston Auto Accident Compensation
Unfortunately, those left behind after someone loses their life in a car crash often face serious challenges. You might have financial obligations for things like medical care and funeral costs. There are also many other ways that losing a family member in a car crash can negatively affect your life, both economically and non-economically.
It’s important to understand that surviving family members can seek Houston auto accident compensation from those at-fault for their loved one’s death. When a car accident victim is injured and survives, they can file a personal injury case against the negligent driver. However, if that person passes away, that claim doesn’t disappear. Instead, their family or the representative of their estate can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver through a wrongful death suit.
What is a Wrongful Death Suit?
Wrongful death is a legal term for when someone dies as a result of another party’s negligence. When it comes to car accidents, this is usually the driver that caused the accident, though it can also be parties like car manufacturers or even the company the driver works for if they’re on the clock.
In a wrongful death suit, the surviving family members can ask for Houston auto accident compensation for their loved one’s death. This is meant to cover the damages related to the accident and the person’s death.
A wrongful death claim is very similar to a personal injury case. In these kinds of cases, you must prove that the other party is at fault for the person’s death and also show evidence for the demanded amount of compensation. There are several types of compensation (known as damages in legal speak) available in wrongful death cases.
Types of Houston Auto Accident Compensation Available for Wrongful Death Cases
Laws for wrongful death cases allow family members to collect several different types of compensation, depending on the case. Your Houston car crash attorney can be a good resource for understanding which kinds of damages you can seek in your wrongful death case as well as calculating a fair amount for your case. Here are some of the types of damages that may be available for your car accident wrongful death case:
Houston Auto Accident Compensation for Accident-Related Expenses
As a surviving family member, you may have many different expenses related to the accident and your deceased loved one. For instance, your family member may have received medical care after the accident that you may need to pay. In addition, you likely have funeral and burial costs to cover after losing a loved one in a car crash.
In your wrongful death claim, you can seek compensation for these financial burdens. Any expenses related to the car accident or your loved one’s death are usually part of the compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim.
Houston Auto Accident Compensation for Lost Future Income
In addition to current expenses related to the accident, you can also seek Houston auto accident compensation for lost future income for a wrongful death case. Losing a family member often means losing financial support now and in the future. Lost inheritance may also apply for wrongful death cases. Your attorney can help you determine a figure for lost future income, financial support, and inheritance for your wrongful death case.
So far we’ve mainly talked about economic damages, which are things that you can add up or get a bill for. However, non-economic damages may also apply for your wrongful death case. This type of Houston auto accident compensation is designed to compensate you for things that don’t cost you money, but can cost you something else, such as your emotional suffering.
Naturally, there is no amount of money that can bring your loved one back, but these damages are meant to attempt to compensate you for your loss economically. Your Houston car crash attorney can offer legal expertise to help you determine a fair value for your non-economic damages.
Here are a couple types of non-economic damages that are common in wrongful death cases:
Mental Pain and Anguish
After losing a loved one in a car accident, you may experience emotional pain and suffering. Since there is likely nothing the at-fault party can do to take this away, instead you can seek additional Houston auto accident compensation for it.
Loss of Consortium
You can also seek compensation for loss of consortium. This is basically a loss of relationship with the car accident victim. Many people mistakenly think that this only applies to spouses, but it can also apply for parents and children. It basically means the loss of companionship, emotional support, and affection from the person.
Houston Auto Accident Compensation for Punitive Damages
In some cases, you may even be able to seek punitive damages for the wrongful death case. This is basically additional compensation the at-fault party pays you as a way to punish them for their actions.
Usually these are reserved for the worst types of negligence or for intentional acts. For instance, if your loved one died in a Houston head on collision with a drunk driver, you might be able to receive punitive damages, as drunk driving is a reckless behavior that most people know is likely to cause serious consequences.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
It’s important to note that there are only certain people who can file a wrongful death case in Texas, including:
- Children (biological and adopted)
- Parents (biological and adoptive)
Therefore, family members like siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other more distant relatives typically can’t file a wrongful death suit for a deceased loved one. Additionally, stepchildren, stepparents, foster parents, and foster children usually also can’t file a wrongful death claim unless a legal adoption took place. An adopted child usually can’t file a wrongful death case for their biological parents.
Also, long-term partners usually can’t file a wrongful death suit. One exception is if they were in a common law marriage that meets the definition and requirements for common law marriage from the State of Texas.
If the surviving family members don’t file a wrongful death suit within three months of the person’s death, then the representative (also known as an executor or administrator) of the person’s estate can do so, unless all family members who might have a wrongful death case request they do not.
Get Top Legal Services After a Car Accident from DeSimone Law Office
Our team at DeSimone Law Office is here to help you after a car accident. We offer years of legal experience with car accident cases to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have helped settle thousands of car accident cases in our years of practice. Our team provides legal services on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay us unless you recover damages for your claim. Reach out now to schedule a case evaluation with one of our lawyers.