Losing a loved one is hard, no matter the circumstances. However, losing a loved one in a preventable car accident is often incredibly difficult to bear. Family members left behind may face significant emotional, physical, and financial hardships because of the at-fault driver’s negligence. It’s important to understand that you may be entitled to compensation to help with the many accident-related costs after a fatal accident. Your Houston car crash attorney can help with your case, guide you through the process, and fight for your rights to compensation. In this article, we will discuss important factors of wrongful death car accident cases if you lost your loved one in a car accident.
Houston Car Crash Attorney for a Wrongful Death Case
An attorney can help your wrongful death case in many ways. These types of cases are similar to personal injury cases, though can be even more complex. Therefore, it can prove essential for your case to have an experienced Houston car crash attorney on your side. If you lost your loved one in a car accident, you may have a case against the negligent driver. You can talk to our attorneys about your case to determine whether and how to move forward with a wrongful death claim.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death case is a civil matter, meaning it’s separate from any criminal charges the negligent driver may face. Wrongful death claims are where someone lost their life to another party’s negligence. Car accidents are a common cause of wrongful death. Generally, these accidents often involve seriously dangerous or reckless driving behaviors that end up being fatal. For instance, Houston head on collisions can cause serious injuries or major impact that lead to death. With a wrongful death suit, a family member left behind seeks compensation from the negligent driver for accident-related damages. There are some limitations to who and when you can file a wrongful death suit in Texas.
Ask Your Houston Car Crash Attorney if You Can File a Wrongful Death Suit after a Fatal Accident
If you think you may have a case for a wrongful death claim after your loved one was in a fatal car accident, talk to an experienced Houston accident injury attorney. There are many legal factors that help determine if you have a case.
The first thing to consider is your relationship to the person who has passed. In Texas, only certain family members can file a wrongful death suit. Those family members include:
Texas law does not typically allow for siblings, cousins, grandparents, or other family members to seek compensation for a wrongful death car accident.
Also, there are some important factors of the situation that help inform your Houston car crash attorney whether you have a solid wrongful death case. Each accident is different, so it’s important to talk to an attorney about your specific circumstances. However, generally you will need to show the insurance adjuster or the court that a few characteristics of the case are present. These include:
- Your loved one has died
- Your loved one’s death was caused by another party’s negligence
- As a surviving family member you have suffered physical, emotional, or financial damages because of the loss
- You are a spouse, child, or parent of the person or that you are the personal representative of the deceased’s estate
Your attorney can also discuss the particulars of the accident to determine the strength of your case. For instance, is there evidence of the other driver’s negligence? Was your loved one partially at-fault for the accident from a legal perspective? These are important questions to ask before you begin the process of filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Talk About Wrongful Death Case Timelines with Your Houston Accident Injury Attorney
Another important thing to keep in mind is that there are often time limitations for wrongful death suits. This is also called a statute of limitations. Your Houston car crash attorney can discuss these timelines with you and whether your specific situation may include an exception.
In most cases, you have two years from the date of the car accident to file a wrongful death claim. After those two years, you typically cannot move forward with your case and you are not entitled to compensation.
There are a few exceptions that may apply for your case. For example, if the cause of death wasn’t determined until much later, then the two year period starts once the accident is determined to be the cause of death for your loved one. This isn’t very common in car accident cases, but can still happen. Another exception to the two year statute of limitations for wrongful death is for children who were under 18 years old at the time of the accident. In these cases, the child typically has up to two years after they turn 18 to file a wrongful death suit for their parent (either biological or adoptive).
Your Houston Car Crash Attorney Helps Calculate Wrongful Death Damages
It can be hard to determine the value of your wrongful death case after a fatal car accident. Your Houston accident injury attorney can help you calculate your damages and determine how much compensation to seek from the negligent driver.
In a wrongful death suit, you may be able to receive compensation for several types of damages. These are typically broken down into economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages may also apply, particularly if the other driver was grossly negligent. Punitive damages are extra damages awarded in order to punish the other driver for their negligence.
Some economic damages you may be able to seek for wrongful death include:
- Medical costs
- Funeral costs
- Lost wages of the victim
- Loss of benefits (like the victim’s medical insurance coverage)
- Loss of inheritance
Non-economic damages are damages that aren’t monetary. The value of compensation for non-economic damages is often subjective. Some non-economic damages you can seek during a wrongful death case may include:
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Loss of care, guidance, counsel, and nurturing
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of love, companionship, and comfort
- Loss of consortium (affection and a sexual relationship with your spouse)
Your attorney can explore the specifics of your case and help you determine the amount of compensation to ask for from the other driver, whether through an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Calculating the damages for any car accident case can be difficult, but it can become even more complex in a wrongful death case. Therefore, many people seek guidance from an experienced Houston car crash attorney for their case.
Talk to Your Houston Car Crash Attorney About the Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
If you have a case for wrongful death, your attorney can help guide you through the process. In many cases, it begins with filing a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance. However, you may need to file a lawsuit instead, such as if the auto insurance won’t cover the accident, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or if negotiations fail with the insurance adjuster.
As the person seeking compensation for a wrongful death case, you and your Houston car crash attorney must prove several things for your case. First, you will need to prove that your loved one died as a result of the car accident. Also, you will need to prove that the other person is liable for the car accident because of their negligence (such as driving too fast, disobeying traffic laws, or driving recklessly). Finally, you will also need to show proof of the damages you are seeking (such as medical bills and receipts for funeral expenses). Your attorney can help you gather all this evidence and argue your case with the insurance adjuster or the court. Our attorneys can help walk you through the process of a wrongful death case.
Experienced Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office
When you need an experienced attorney after a car accident, choose our team at DeSimone Law Office. We have helped settle thousands of cases and are here for you when you have a personal injury or wrongful death case. Our attorneys are here to help defend your rights to compensation after a car accident. Get in touch today for a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, where we review the facts and evidence of your case and discuss your legal options.