Filing Wrongful Death Claims after Car Accident Fatalities
Last month, in January 2015 five oil workers died in Dimmit County after an oil tanker truck crashed into their van. As oil production in the Eagle Ford Shale region has increased, so has the number of vehicle fatalities between commuters and truck drivers. Whenever one of these tragedies occurs, the surviving family suffers significant current and future losses due to the loss of a family member and breadwinner. In these tragedies, the surviving family is sometimes able to sue for compensation in a wrongful death suit and get some of the justice that they deserve.
If your family has recently suffered a loss because of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Bandas Law Firm can help you in this difficult time and fight to bring your family justice and financial support.
Texas Wrongful Death and Car Accident Fatalities
Like other states, Texas allows its citizens to sue for wrongful death. When someone is killed, his spouse, parents, or children may bring the wrongful death suit against the other party. Texas law does not allow siblings to initiate wrongful death lawsuits.
It is also important to remember that in Texas there is a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. You must file your claim within two years of the death, or you will not be able to file one at all.
Under Texas law, you may win compensation for:
- Lost Earnings
- Lost Care and Services that the Deceased Would Have Provided
- Pain and Suffering
- Lost Inheritance
- Exemplary Damages
Filing a Wrongful Death Suit – Establishing Recklessness and Negligence
Like other personal injury claims, you will either argue that the damage was intentional or due to negligence. If you are arguing that the defender was negligent, you will have to show that they did not exercise a reasonable standard of care and that the negligence was a cause of the death. In car accident fatalities, you may also be able to prove that the defendant’s behavior was reckless. This will also entitle you to damages.
In tort law, reckless behavior is a lower liability than intentional behavior but a higher liability than negligence. To prove recklessness, you must show that the defendant unnecessarily engaged in behavior that posed a risk to other people. You can either do this by proving that the defendant was aware that he was putting other people’s safety at risk or that a reasonable person would assume this behavior would put others at risk.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal. If car accident fatalities were caused by an individual who was driving under the influence, it may be possible to argue that he was acting recklessly and putting other lives in danger.
Although negligent behavior is easier to prove than reckless behavior, it can still be very difficult. To prove that someone was acting negligently, you must show how they were not exercising a reasonable standard of care, or not acting how an average person would in the same situation.
First your attorney will need to establish what the reasonable standard of care would be in the specific traffic situation. For example, your attorney could argue that a reasonable person would have driven very slowly due to the weather conditions. Because the defendant continued to drive at a higher speed even though there were poor conditions that could be an example of negligence.
What to Do after Car Accident Fatalities
Wrongful death claims can be a difficult and exhausting process. If you believe that your family member’s death was caused by another party, you should contact our attorneys immediately.