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Wrongful Death Car Accident Settlement

No one should have to endure losing a family member in a car accident. Yet every year, thousands of families grieve loved ones killed on Texas roads. Many are left not only emotionally devastated, but facing financial stress as well, especially if the deceased provided income or incurred substantial medical debt.

If someone else’s negligent or reckless actions led to your loved one’s death, Texas law may allow you to hold that party accountable through a civil action called a wrongful death lawsuit. Though it is hard to quantify such a loss, the goal is not to put a price tag on a family member but to receive a recovery that will offset the financial losses related to their passing. Additionally, resolving a wrongful death case can help bring some closure to a tragedy for everyone involved.

In Texas, wrongful death claims may only be filed by a surviving spouse, children, or the parents of the deceased. Siblings and grandparents are unable to file wrongful death cases because of limitations in the wrongful death statute. 

Damages in Wrongful Death Car Accident Settlements

A wrongful death claimant can seek to recover monetary damages designed to compensate for harms such as: 

  • Medical costs incurred from treatment of injuries following the accident
  • Funeral and burial costs 
  • Loss of the deceased person’s income
  • Value of lost services the deceased person provided to the family
  • Loss of companionship (also called “consortium”)
  • Loss of love and care
  • Pain and suffering, which can include the suffering the deceased individual endured prior to their death

Examples of situations that could give rise to a wrongful death claim following a car accident include: 

  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to yield
  • Vehicle manufacturer defect
  • Road defects
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The driver might not be the only party that may be held accountable in a wrongful death car accident lawsuit. In certain circumstances, a claim may be filed against other parties including:

  • The driver’s employer. Commercial vehicle accidents involving 18-wheelers or other large commercial trucks can be singularly devastating. Examples of trucking companies’ negligence include pressuring drivers to drive longer shifts than regulations allow or failing to properly inspect and maintain the vehicle.
  • The vehicle manufacturer. If there was something wrong with the vehicle that was not due to driver or owner error, it is possible to hold the manufacturer responsible. 
  • The builder, designer, contractor, or government agent responsible for a faulty roadway or inadequate warning of danger. If the road conditions were dangerous due to someone else’s negligence or error in judgment, you may be able to file a claim against the person who could have prevented the accident by responsibly carrying out their duties. 
  • The person who served the driver alcohol or the owner of the premises where the alcohol was served. Under the Texas Dram Shop Act in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, licensed alcohol vendors may be held liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver they served. 
What Factors Can Affect Your Wrongful Death Car Accident Settlement

The amount of financial recovery you and your family should expect to receive for your harms and losses will depend on a number of factors. Because every relationship is different, every wrongful death case is unique. Many of the losses that follow a wrongful death are intangible in nature, and impossible to calculate. So, in proceeding through the wrongful death claim process, you can expect the following circumstances to influence what your settlement or financial recovery might be: 

  • The nature and history of your relationship to the deceased
  • The deceased’s contributions, financially and otherwise, to the household
  • The age of the deceased
  • The health of the deceased
  • The earning capacity of the deceased, including long-term earning potential
  • Lost benefits to the family, such as health insurance
  • The needs of any dependents left behind
  • The amount of medical debt incurred for treatment of injuries prior to passing
  • The at fault party’s insurance coverage amounts and other assets
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident, including whether the deceased was partially liable for the accident in some way
  • Immunity of government agencies who could have been involved in building/maintaining roadways
How Long Do Wrongful Death Car Accident Settlements Take?

Wrongful death lawsuits are one of the longest types of personal injury cases. Most take at least a year — and sometimes several years — to be fully resolved. This is because most wrongful death cases are complex, since there may be many categories of damages and losses to calculate. Additionally, most wrongful death cases involve high settlement values. Unfortunately, when there is a great deal of money involved, insurance providers and other liable parties will work harder to undervalue your family’s settlement. Some other factors that can extend the length of your case include the following:

  • Whether or not you have an estate set up for the deceased. In order to obtain compensation for your loved one’s passing, you may need to set up an estate. This will require a probate attorney and may take some time to resolve. FVF can help you locate appropriate assistance if this is the case.
  • The cooperation of other parties. The willingness of other parties such as insurance providers and other drivers to communicate in a timely manner can affect how long a wrongful death accident case takes. Your case may also go on longer if the insurance company and other parties are unwilling to agree to the compensation you deserve. In this case, you may have to go through lengthy negotiations to obtain a fair settlement.
  • The litigation process and jury trial. In some cases, your lawyer may recommend that you take your case to trial, particularly if you are unable to reach an agreement with the liable parties for adequate compensation. Taking a case to trial will most likely extend the length of your case.
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Why Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer to Help with Your Settlement

If you believe another party’s negligence may have caused or contributed to your loved one’s death, you should consider contacting a wrongful death lawyer who can immediately begin reviewing the details of your case and educate you about your rights and options. While the days, weeks, and months following the loss of a loved one can be difficult to endure, waiting until things settle down to investigate the circumstances behind the incident could be a costly mistake. Evidence can be lost or destroyed, and important witnesses can become difficult or impossible to locate. Furthermore, the statute of limitations in Texas states that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the deceased’s death. 

Consulting with a personal injury lawyer with the right experience with wrongful death cases can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case. By understanding your rights and options, you will be best situated to secure the best recovery for your financial and emotional losses. Your lawyer will also assist you in setting up an estate in your deceased family member’s name in compliance with Texas probate and estate law in the event that this has not already been done.

How FVF Can Help with Your Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit

Our experienced lawyers at FVF understand that it can be overwhelming to face the administrative and legal aspects of losing a loved one. We are committed to easing your burden in a painful time by providing you with guidance, support, and a thorough understanding of your options. If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim, contact us to set up a free, no-pressure evaluation.

Our Process and What You Can Expect

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2
Get Answers

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3
Relax

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4
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