A Houston-Galveston regional safety report examined data from 2011 to 2015 and found that there was a 62 percent increase in regional crashes during that time period. In 2015, there were more than 144,000 that occurred in the area with the leading cause being distracted driving that caused fatal and serious injury car accidents.
Unfortunately, the Houston metropolitan area is the site of tens of thousands of car crashes – many of them that end in fatalities. At the law office of Lapeze & Johns Trial Attorneys, we understand that the loss of a loved not only causes intense emotional and psychological pain, but it can also leave families struggling financially as well.
Our Houston personal injury attorneys have helped countless families deal with the loss of a loved one in a wrongful death car accident. What matters most to our team is providing families with the care and legal guidance they need to ease some of the pressures of losing a loved one – especially when that loved one was the primary provider.
If you have recently lost a loved one as the result of a car accident in the Greater Houston area, please consider the following information, and contact us today for a free case review.
The Basics of a Wrongful Death Claim
In the state of Texas, the Texas Wrongful Death Act provides certain family members the right to sue another party when their relative is wrongfully killed because of the willful or negligent behavior of another person(s). In a wrongful death car accident, the responsible party may be another driver, the vehicle manufacturer, or another party responsible for the accident such as the party responsible for road maintenance.
The individuals able to file a wrongful death claim include:
- Spouses – This category consist of legally recognized spouses including same-gender spouses.
- Parents – Biological and legal adoptive parents are able to file a wrongful death claim.
- Children – Biological and adoptive children are recognized.
Under a wrongful death claim, the claimant is able to pursue compensation for the damages they have experienced as a result of losing a loved one. In order to prove a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that:
- The defendant had a legal duty to not harm the injured party.
- There was a breach of that legal duty.
- The willful or negligent behavior of the defendant led to the death of the decedent.
- The loss of life resulted in heavy financial damages to the surviving family.
Families may also file a survival claim under the Texas Survival Statute. This type of claim is filed before the decedent’s passing and allows surviving family members to seek personal injury recovery on behalf of the deceased.
Types of Compensation
In a wrongful death claim, families may be able to seek compensatory and punitive damages, depending on the circumstances of their case. The amount of recovery available to you and your family will vary, but a dedicated Houston car accident lawyer will help you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Under a Wrongful Death Claim, families may be eligible to obtain:
- Loss of wages and future earnings of decedent
- Loss of benefits of the deceased
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages
Under a survival claim, the claimant may be able to recover damages that include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering the victim may have experienced
When filing a lawsuit after the death of loved one, it is important that you have an experienced and qualified lawyer on your side. The defendant’s insurer may attempt to minimize or deny your claim. They may also contact you in an attempt to settle quickly and only offer you a small amount.
Please be aware that signing any forms or accepting their settlement prior to filing a wrongful death or survival action may release the responsible party from future liability.
Statute of Limitations in Texas
The Texas statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim is generally two years from when the victim was first injured. The statute of limitations to file a survival claim is generally one year after the date of death.
It’s also worth noting that in the state of Texas wrongful death claims may be limited by comparative fault. This means that the deceased must be found to be responsible for less than 50% of the accident in order for surviving family members to recover anything at all.
Lapeze & Johns are the Houston wrongful death lawyers you need.
If you are having to deal with the loss of a loved one because of another person’s negligence, then do not hesitate to contact your Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns today. During this dark hour, you deserve to have a guiding light to help you during this difficult process.