After a tragic accident, you may be wondering what you can do to help the victims and their families. If someone has been killed in an accident, you might be thinking about filing a wrongful death claim. If a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, you might be considering a personal injury claim.
To get the compensation you need to help your family move forward after a fatal accident, which may result in death, you need a wrongful death lawyer who knows what he or she is doing.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a term referring to an accidental death caused by the negligent or intentional acts of a third party, such as drunk driving. This is opposed to “natural” deaths caused by diseases or internal and external factors. Accidental deaths are very different from murders, which are intentional and premeditated.
Wrongful death lawsuits help the surviving family members gain financial compensation after losing a loved one due to someone else’s wrongdoing.
When Is a Wrongful Death Claim Applicable?
Car Accident Fatalities Involving Negligence
Car accident fatalities are generally applicable for wrongful death claims. Negligent vehicle operation and defective vehicle which results in injuries or death are transferable for wrongful death lawsuits.
When a Victim Is Killed Intentionally
Wrongful Death Claims could apply when a victim is killed intentionally. If the death of a loved one was caused by negligence or recklessness, then Wrongful Death Lawyers may be able to help the survivors collect money to settle their claims.
When a Victim Dies as a Result of Medical Malpractice
A wrongful death claim is applicable in a medical malpractice situation when the victim dies due to negligence. If the doctor fails to provide proper care and/or follow proper safety precautions, resulting in severe harm or death, then a wrongful death claim is necessary.
Other cases include:
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Defective products
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Dangerous drugs
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Per the Texas State Statutes, a surviving spouse, children, and parents of a deceased person can file an incorrect death claim. If neither of these parties files a claim within three months from the date of death of a person, the claim may be filed by the personal representative or executor of the estate of the deceased.
Adult children can bring wrongful death lawsuits in the case of a parent’s death. Foster children can also file wrongful death lawsuits in the event of the death of their adoptive parents. Texas law does not allow brothers and sisters to file wrongful death lawsuits.
What Are the Critical Steps to Take After a Wrongful Death?
Get a Copy of The Death Certificate
If your loved one has died due to the negligence of another, responding to the tragedy with a clear and concise action plan is vital. One of the first things that you should do after a wrongful death is to get a copy of the death certificate.
To collect funds for damages incurred because of wrongful death, you need certain information from the death certificate (name, date of death, place of death) which will allow you to file an injury claim as necessary.
Contact a Lawyer
One of the hardest aspects of a wrongful death claim is finding each party who contributed to the fatal accident. You need a lawyer who knows how to cull through all the information and find the responsible parties. Good lawyers who work cases like this will make sure that you get what you deserve in a wrongful death lawsuit.
When a loved one is killed in an accident, it is understandable that the family members will want to pursue justice on behalf of their loved one. To determine if the accident was truly “wrongful,” meaning that there was some cause behind the death that was not accidental and that it could be determined who was responsible for the death of a family member in an accident, it is important to have a strong case.
One of the most vital steps toward creating a strong case is to carefully gather evidence after a wrongful death. Receipts, pictures, files, records, and so on are examples of the evidence you will need to gather for the wrongful death lawyer to build a strong case.
Know the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the period you have in taking your wrongful death case to court. Most states will set it in 2 to 3 years, which should be considered as to the day of the accident.
Normally the restriction duration in San Antonio TX is two years, but can be longer or shorter based on the nature of the statements (e.g., governmental entities, contract disputes, product liability claims, and facts that may indicate tolling or extension of the statute).
As the precise details of your case can increase or decrease this timeline, you should make a lawsuit or talk to a lawyer about it as quickly as practicable.
What Damages Can Surviving Family Members Recover?
While no amount of money will ever be able to replace what has been lost, an wrongful death lawsuit is one way in which surviving family members can receive damages in an attempt to make up for what they have lost.
Lost earning capacity of their loved one. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are often awarded as compensation for the surviving family’s pain and suffering as well as the loss of financial support. They include:
- Lost care, maintenance, services, advice, support, and counsel that the deceased would have provided to their family members and loved ones.
- Emotional and mental pain, anguish, and suffering damages.
- Possible punitive damages against anyone responsible for your loved one’s death.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Cost of pre-death medical care.
There is no other experience that can compare to the death of a loved one. The pain and sorrow of losing a family member is something that most people are not prepared to handle properly – especially if their death was caused by someone. Knowing what to do in such situations is very important to help you and your grieving family bring closure.