What Can You Recover For A Wrongful Death From A Truck Accident In Texas?
Losing someone in a truck accident is a tragedy that affects numerous lives. Not only do you have to deal with the pain of losing a loved one, but the loss could also be a major blow to your family’s financial standing. Fortunately, you do have some recourse. As a family member of the deceased, you can file a wrong death claim.
However, the legal process involved in a wrongful death claim for a truck accident can be complicated and time-consuming. If you’re in Texas, the easiest and most reliable way to handle this type of legal matter is through the services of our Dallas truck accident lawyers. Our experienced lawyers will work hard to make you and your family whole. For a free case evaluation from one of our legal experts, fill out our online contact form. Below, we’ve also shared some useful information that you should know about wrongful death claims in Texas.
There are two main types of damages that a victim of an accident or the loved one of a wrongful death victim can recover—compensatory damages and exemplary damages. The first compensates an individual for injuries or losses while the second is aimed to punish the defendant and prevent further bad behavior.
Wrongful Death Damages
In Texas, the law outlines the following types of damages as recoverable by those who file a wrongful death claim:
- Loss of Compensation: This damage refers to the loss of the deceased victim’s finances and earning capacity. It also takes into account the loss of consortium, which deals with the intangible aspect of a union like marriage or parenthood. For instance, a spouse will lose the affection, companionship, assistance and sexual relations they would have had with the victim.
- Loss of Inheritance: This applies to the possessions that truck accident victims would have accumulated and left to their loved ones had their life not been cut short.
- Mental Anguish: This is about the emotional pain, mental torment, and suffering you and your family endures over the death of your loved one.
- Pecuniary Damages: This refers to the value that the beneficiaries would have received from the deceased had they lived, like the cost of maintenance, care, services, support, and advice.
This is further broken down in the Texas Wrongful Death Statute.
The Texas Wrongful Death Statute Explained
Wrongful death claims are filed by family members of a victim who died as a result of negligence. There are two key pieces of Texas legislation that deal with wrongful death involving fatal accidents—the Wrongful Death Statute and the Survival Statute.
Chapter 71 of the Wrongful Death Statute allows a surviving parent, spouse, or child to file a claim for wrongful death in the event that the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or deceit” of another resulted in the death of the family member. The victim’s surviving family can recover damages connected with the wrongful death, like mental anguish, loss of inheritance, loss of financial contributions, loss of support, and loss of society.
In cases when the victim’s death wasn’t immediate, Subchapter B of Chapter 71 allows for the surviving parent, spouse, or child to file a survival action based on the Survival Statute. The legislation essentially allows for the family of the deceased to pursue personal injury damages the victim could have received if they survived. This can include compensation for medical bills and physical pain. The family can also receive compensation for the cost of the funeral, cremation, or burial.
Persons That Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is one way the family of an accident victim can receive justice from those responsible. Texas law allows the deceased victim’s spouse, children, and parents to seek compensation from the truck driver and/or trucking company responsible for the wrongful death.
In Texas, a claim can be filed by a spouse from a formal or common law marriage. A claim can also be filed even if the spouses are separated at the time of the victim’s death or if the surviving spouse has already remarried. However, Texas legislation does not permit wrongful death claims by same-sex spouses.
You should also keep in mind that while adoptive parents and children are considered to be among the family members who can file a wrongful death suit, siblings are not allowed to file claims on the victim’s behalf.
Surviving family members can either file a claim on their own or hire a lawyer to represent the victim’s estate.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to prove a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff or family member who filed the case should establish that:
- The defendant behaved in a negligent or careless manner.
- The defendant’s negligent or careless manner directly resulted in the victim’s death.
- The surviving family members are the victim’s legal beneficiaries.
- The surviving family members have experienced measurable loss due to the victim’s death.
Length of Time You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim
There are time restrictions on how long someone can wait before filing a Claim. In the case of a wrongful death claim, family members have to be aware of two statutes of limitation. The first is the limitations period on the claim that the victim could have filed and the second is the family member’s own time period for filing a wrongful death claim. The limitations period for the former is two years starting from the date of the victim’s injury while the latter is two years from the date of the victim’s death.
The sudden death of a loved one is difficult, but losing someone because of a truck accident can leave you feeling cheated out of the life you could have shared with them. While financial compensation won’t bring your love one back, it’s the only solution the justice system can offer apart from locking up the perpetrators.
If you find yourself dealing with a wrongful death issue in Texas, you’ll need to hire a lawyer who cares about you and knows which steps to take for the best outcome. Not having the right lawyer on your side means that you will likely settle for far less than you deserve. At Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, , we will fight tooth and nail to make sure you are fairly compensated for your loss. Fill out our contact form online or call us at (214) 305-8277 for a free consultation. We can answer all your questions about wrongful death or give you advice on what you should do next.