Fatal Car Accidents
Some car accidents in Texas tragically have fatal consequences. The mistake that causes them may be a brief instance of carelessness, such as a moment of looking away from the road to text or a driver failing to yield appropriately. If you have lost a loved one in a devastating Dallas crash, you can consult a compassionate car accident lawyer at Feizy Law Office about the possibility of bringing a wrongful death action or survival suit.Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Claims in Texas
In Texas, a survival action or a wrongful death claim can be brought when the negligence or wrongful act of a driver causes someone else's death. A survival action is brought by the estate, heirs, or legal representative of the decedent under CPRC § 71.021(b), and it functions like a personal injury lawsuit in which the recovery is for actual physical harm. A survival action lasts beyond the decedent's death. A wrongful death lawsuit belongs to the decedent's close family members and compensates them for their losses arising out of the death.
Suppose, for example, that a person is speeding the wrong way down a one-way street and hits someone else in a head-on collision. The victim is seriously injured and taken to the hospital, where he dies two days later because of his injuries. That person’s estate may file a survival action against the other driver to recover damages for their medical bills and their loved one’s pain and suffering before dying. The victim’s wife and children also may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the same defendant for their own losses as a result of their loved one’s death.
The people who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit are the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person. Each can file a claim, or they may file together. Surviving siblings may not file a wrongful death lawsuit. If none of them takes action within three months of the decedent's death, his or her estate can file the claim, unless a surviving family member asks that they not file.
Surviving family members or the estate can recover a broad range of damages after a fatal car accident, including lost earning capacity, lost support or advice, loss of love and companionship, lost inheritance, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. In some cases arising out of willful acts or omissions, or gross negligence, exemplary damages may be sought. These are designed to punish and deter defendants and others in similar positions.
In a wrongful death claim, the damages awarded by the jury will be divided among the family members according to their proportion of loss as a result of the fatal crash. This means, for example, that if the decedent's spouse was estranged from the victim at the time of the accident and was not supported by the decedent, he or she may get a smaller proportion of the resulting jury award.Explore Your Options with an Irving Lawyer after a Car Accident
If a loved one was killed in a fatal crash, your first feeling will likely be grief. However, over time, you may worry about how you will pay your bills without the income of your loved one, and you may experience other intangible emotions such as loss of support and mental anguish. In Texas, you can pursue a full range of compensation for your loved one's fatal car accident by filing a civil wrongful death suit. However, in most cases, the at-fault driver's insurer will look for ways in which your loved one was at fault in order to get out of paying substantial damages. You should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to seek compensation in Irving or elsewhere in the Dallas region. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or set up an appointment through our online form. We represent car accident victims in Fort Worth, Arlington, Garland, and Plano, among other cities.