Wrongful Death: what you should know

What Should I Know?

Getting into an accident is by far one of the most unfortunate experiences that individuals can have. Depending on the severity of an accident, it can leave them in a tough state. An individual can experience a vast range of damages, particularly physical and emotional ones. These damages can be life lasting and can have a tremendous effect on their day to day lives. Although many of these victims find themselves in difficult circumstances, they are still alive. For the most part, they can speak, breathe, eat, and be amongst their loved ones. They can continue with life and can adapt to the changes they’ve gained. Sadly, there are individuals do who pass away due to an accident, leaving loved ones behind. If an accident resulted in the death of an individual, his or her loved ones could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Persons can file a lawsuit on a wrongful death basis. Wrongful death refers to a person who has died because of the negligence and reckless behavior committed by another individual or entity. Through wrongful death claims, survivors can seek compensation for a variety of damages. The damages that survivors are suffering can come in many ways, but proving a wrongful death claim can become difficult. Also, there are statutes of limitations regarding such claims. In Texas, for example, a claim must be filed within two years of the event. Because of this, survivors must obtain a capable attorney that will fight to receive the compensation they are seeking. 

Most common Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Below are some of the most common types of wrongful death cases:

Car Accidents:

In Texas, there are about 15.8 million licensed drivers. With that incredible amount of drivers, it is to no surprise that car accidents are occurring almost every single day. Unfortunately, because there are accidents that are frequently happening, many untimely deaths can occur each year. Car accidents can result because of many elements. Reckless driving is atop of the list. The driver perhaps was speeding and could not stop quick enough to prevent an accident. Perhaps the driver was distracted because they were on the phone, or was distracted for any matter, which ultimately caused the accident. 

Construction, not following road signs or laws, and drunk driving also can play a part in the wrongful death of a person(s).

Truck Accidents:

Although trucks are technically considered vehicles, there is a key difference. Their impressionable size can play a major role in an accident. Because these vehicles are so large and can weigh so much, any other smaller vehicles with passengers are even more likely to experience significant damage. Not only can they be completely wrecked, but the individuals within the automobile can also suffer severe physical damage and death. Truck accidents can occur because the driver did not turn properly, the trucks experienced mechanical issues, and the trucks had a load of products or material that was too high for the truck to manage. 

Truck accidents can also occur if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol as well as sleep deprivation. 

Motorcycle Accidents:

A motorcycle is certainly an alluring vehicle. They can maneuver effectively when average size vehicles like sedans surround them. You perhaps have seen how quickly they can move when you witness one operate on the road. As fascinating as they are, drivers of motorcycles can experience severe consequences on the road. Many accidents that occur relating to this vehicle occur because drivers could not see an incoming motorcycle driver when switching to a different lane. A motorcycle driver can be left with serious injuries, such as paralysis, spinal cord injuries, back and neck injuries, and ultimately injuries can result in death. Also, many accidents of this nature occur because of construction hazards and not following road laws and regulations. 

Medical Malpractice:

Many people confide in medical professionals such as doctors and nurses to cure them of their ailments. They are admired for their intelligence, their compassion, and their diligence to save individuals under tremendous pressure. Although these professionals went through years of training to get to the positions that they are, they can also make great mistakes when in contact with a patient. They committed an act in which they did not follow certain directions and procedures, like in surgery, they misdiagnosed a patient, or they did not provide proper treatment to a patient. Medical malpractice can come with serious consequences for these professionals if found liable for the death of a patient. 

Defective Products:

People consume a variety of products every single day. They perhaps take prescription or over the counter medication, they eat certain foods that are packaged, such as vegetables and canned goods. Parents go to a store or purchase products online in order to obtain toys for their children. We depend on transportation, such as cars and buses to take us to work, school and other places. Almost all of these products go through a series of testing in order to make sure they are not defective. Unfortunately, they are cases in which items of this nature do become defective, and they can bring serious consequences to consumers, and that includes death. A wrongful death claim can certainly be filed for these reasons as well. 

Workplace Accidents:

Work accidents occur frequently in many different industries. Although this is certainly the case, workplace accidents frequently happen in industries where there are significant amounts of hazards, such as the construction industry or any other industry where workers perform significant manual labor. The damages that victims of such accidents can experience are immense. There are industries in which workers are exposed to certain diseases or ailments which ultimately can result in death. There are accidents that also occur in the most unexpected of places, such as jobs that are office or administrative based. If a person was assigned to work in an unsafe area of an office, they can certainly experience an increased risk of injury that can lead to serious consequences. 

Burden of Proof

The success of a wrongful death claim depends on the evidence presented to the court. Plaintiffs must demonstrate that there is a preponderance of evidence. What this means, is that quality of proof is much more substantial the quantity of it. Because of this, it can be difficult to achieve a positive result in a wrongful death case if evidence and other material are not up to par. We cannot stress enough the importance of a qualified lawyer to help you navigate a process such as this. Through evidence and witness accounts, individuals must prove that there was negligence due the reckless behavior or certain carelessness that came from the defending party. Individuals must also prove there was a breach of duty. For example that if a driver was not able to drive according to the law, he or she might have breached the duty of driving safely in accordance road laws and regulations. Other aspects that individuals should prove to the court is that whether the injury that the defending party, because of their reckless behavior, caused the death. This is known as causation. You must also prove that the death of the victim created significant emotional and financial damage such as medical expenses and loss of income.

Potential Damages

The damages that can be awarded to survivors can be classified in distinct ways. One of the most common types compensation for damages that are awarded are economic or financially based. Since the victim is no longer present to pay for certain expenses, damages are awarded to protect the financial interests of loved ones. Some of the damages that are compensated and recovered include medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s earnings, any pension plans, and an inheritance. Compensation is also provided if the victim’s loved ones suffered emotional and mental damages. When a victim dies, loved ones can be left without their care and guidance. This can create a significant impact on the lives of the survivors which is why compensation for emotional and mental damages can potentially be awarded. Attorneys fees that survivors accumulated can also be covered with damage compensation. 

Survival Actions

Before a victim died of significant injuries, he or she perhaps sought to obtain compensation for the damages suffered. Because death eventually resulted, the victim’s loved ones can seek to obtain the compensation the victim wanted to acquire through survival actions. The surviving family members can file such claims alongside a wrongful death claim for the benefit of the family’s estate. Survival actions claims can be awarded and can be determined in a variety of ways, such as the amount of pain inflicted and the duration of suffering the victim endured.

As you can see, being able to successfully receive compensation through a wrongful death claim can be a challenge for many families and loved ones. But it is certainly nowhere near being impossible. Loved ones who are seeking justice through this claim need to be surrounded by attorneys that will fight to obtain every cent they deserve. We understand that it is extremely difficult for loved ones to be concerned with legal matters when in reality, these individuals would simply prefer to heal on their own and at their own pace. Unfortunately, this simply cannot be the case. Because there are statutes of limitations, loved ones have to act quickly in order to receive compensation for damages. Although you may seem that you are alone in this process, we assure you that you are not. We are here for you. We will fight until the very end in order help you get the justice you deserve. 


If you would like more information on filing a wrongful death claim, contact the Law Office of Yates and Associates to speak to a legal counselor at your convenience.


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