Can I File a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Loved One Who Died in an Accident?
Written by Greg on May 7, 2020
Vehicle accidents are common and most often, they are minor. Some car accidents are serious and result in severe injuries, disabilities, or fatalities. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS HLDI) gathers data from the Department of Transportation from all states utilizing the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). In 2018, there were 3,305 fatal crashes that resulted in 3,642 deaths in Texas. In these cases, the negligent driver who caused the accident is financially responsible for any resulting injuries or fatalities. Although no amount of money can help you cope with the loss of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for losses to cover such things as:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earnings
- Loss of companionship
- Mental and emotional stress and anguish
- Loss of inheritance
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
While many people may feel the devastation caused by the death of a loved one, Texas law allows only specific people to file a wrongful death claim. Those allowed to file a claim include a surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. An adopted child may file a claim as long as he or she was legally adopted prior to the date of death. Notably, siblings of the deceased are not allowed by law to file a wrongful death claim. One person may file or you may elect to file as a group. If the allowed decedents do not file a claim within three months, the executor or personal representative of the will may elect to file a claim on behalf of the estate.
What are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are five elements that may allow you to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You must be able to prove at least one or more of these elements are attributable to the responsible party. These five elements include:
- Wrongful act
In addition, you may also file a wrongful death claim if your loved one was the victim of a violent crime. The person must have had a duty of care to the deceased person and must have acted in a negligent manner which resulted in death. For example, in a wrongful death claim due to a vehicle accident, you will need to prove that the driver acted negligently or carelessly, which caused the accident. Negligence is the failure to act in a manner that someone of ordinary prudence would exercise in the same set of circumstances. A wrongful death claim is a civil matter and is independent of any criminal actions that may or may not be pending in association with the death.
A wrongful death claim can be complex. It is helpful to seek legal guidance from a team headed by a vastly experienced wrongful death lawyer handling these types of lawsuits. At Baumgartner Law Firm, we have obtained millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Click here to see some recent results.
We take care of the legal issues during this difficult and emotional time. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm today for a free phone case evaluation.
Call (281) 587-1111!