Texas roads are among the most dangerous in the country. There is a reportable accident about every minute in the state, and one person is killed about every two hours and 21 minutes. A person is hurt every two minutes in a vehicle accident. When you are injured or a loved one is killed in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a legal claim. Many people wonder what the difference is between a personal injury claim and a wrongful death claim. This article explains the difference in Texas.
Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims and wrongful death claims are both brought about by the intentional or reckless actions of a negligent individual. A personal injury claim is filed by the person who was hurt in an accident. The personal injury claim is filed against the party who was at fault in causing the accident. Damages in a personal injury claim may include:
- Medical costs
- Money for pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Punitive damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The person filing the claim must prove negligence on the part of the other party. Compensation for an injury depends on various factors including the severity of the injury. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases in which the at-fault party was grossly negligent.
Wrongful Death Claims
When a person dies as the result of the negligence of another, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a legal action that is made against the party that is believed to be responsible for the person’s death. There are several types of compensation that you may obtain if you win a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death award may provide compensation for:
- Medical expense
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of future earnings
- Financial support for family
- Educational expenses for children
A wrongful death claim must be proven using a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower standard than criminal cases, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Generally, the person bringing a wrongful death claim must be a beneficiary or close family member of the deceased.
Both types of lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations in Texas. The law allows two years to file a claim, although some exceptions may apply. It is best to discuss the accident and injuries or death with a qualified Houston personal injury and wrongful death attorney.
Your lawyer will review the accident and the circumstances surrounding the injury or death. In addition, important information needs to be gathered to prove your case. The best time to speak to an attorney is immediately following the accident. This allows your legal team to make sure they have access to all of the data that is needed to prove your claim.
The first step in the process is to have a consultation with the best attorney. You can ask questions and will learn whether you have a valid claim.
Contact our compassionate legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm to talk about the details of your claim today.