Wrongful Death in Texas – Truck Accidents

Texas statute defines “wrongful deaths” as deaths due to another party’s neglect, carelessness, or unskillfulness. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that the number of “wrongful death” accidents due to truck accidents is on the rise in Texas. In 2014, there were 3,534 accidents due to motor vehicle incidents with at least some of these accidents including “wrongful deaths.”

Who Can Initiate A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Texas, a “wrongful death” lawsuit can only be filed by individuals close to the deceased individuals. The breakdown of individuals who can and cannot initiate wrongful death lawsuits include:

  • Parties Who Can Initiate Wrongful Death Lawsuits. These groups include spouses and children. In Texas, if a minor child loses parents in a “wrongful death case”, another family member act as ”guardian” on behalf of the minor.
  • Parties Who Can’t Initiate Wrongful Death Lawsuits. Unfortunately in Texas, siblings of the deceased love one do not have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Basic Law in Wrongful Death Cases

The following are some basic information to remember concerning wrongful death cases in Texas, including:

  • The goal of wrongful death lawsuits is to compensate parties who have lost a loved one by seeking damages from the parties who contributed to the victim’s death.
  • Sources of Law. These cases can include either criminal or civil law.
  • Texas Survival Act.. In addition to wrongful death claims, parties can also seek survival actions which allow the deceased loved one’s estate to be award damages that the deceased loved one could have recovered through a personal injury claim if the loved one had survived. These statutes allow an individual to recover for personal injuries held by the victim at the time of death. Survival statutes only allow for the cause of action for personal injuries sustained during the accident that killed the loved one.
  • Initiating a Lawsuit. The advice of a skilled wrongful death attorney can help you determine if you possess the evidence necessary to establish such a case. To initiate a wrongful death lawsuit, an individual must properly present certain proven elements to the court. The initiating party must prove five demonstrate five elements to succeed in a wrongful death case, including:
    • The opposing driver caused your loved one’s death through neglect, carelessness, or unskilled driving behavior.
    • The defendant is an owner of the vehicle. The injury was caused by the neglect, carelessness, or unskilled behavior of the driver.
    • Cause, The defendant who owned the vehicle caused the accident.
    • The Defendant was in control of the vehicle and the action that caused the death of the loved one could have been brought against the trucking company if the trucking company had been acting as operator.
  • How Lawyers Can Help. Skilled and experienced lawyers can prove to be essential in wrongful death cases. These lawyers communicate with insurance companies, gather necessary information like police reports and medical records, documenting losses due to the accident, initiating insurance claims, negotiating with insurance adjusters to reach settlements, and filing lawsuits and taking the case to jury trial when the amount offered by the insurance company is insufficient.
  • Statute of Limitations. Statute of limitations refer to a time frame within which parties must file claims. In Texas, the time limit for statute of limitations for a wrong death case is two years from the date that the the accident occurred. There are certain exceptions to rule, including situations in which the victim did not immediately know the accident was by negligence in addition to minors and other groups who may be incompetent.

Compensation Available in Wrongful Death Cases

The Texas Wrongful Death Act outlines the various types of damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death action including:

  • Pecuniary Damages. These damages include costs for the care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, and reasonable contribution of a pecuniary value that the beneficiaries would have received from the deceased loved one had the loved one lived.
  • Loss of Compensation. These damages include damages for the loss of consortium, which refers to any physical or emotional distance that occurred between spouses as a result of the accident.
  • Mental Anguish. This amount includes the wide variety of emotions that one encounters while surviving the death of a loved one.
  • Loss of Inheritance. This category includes any amounts of lost due to any earning potential of the deceased loved one that was affected by the accident.
  • This category of “punitive” damages is designed to punish individuals who caused the accident in an effort to prevent similar accidents from occurring.

“Wrongful death” cases are the most catastrophic events that can occur to a deceased member’s loved ones. If you are considering initiating a “wrongful death” lawsuit, you need the assistance of a skilled accident attorney. Contact our law firm by calling 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation.