In 2016, 3,773 people died on Texas roadways. Of those, 84 car accident fatalities occurred in Fort Worth. Fatal wrecks cut lives short and rob families and friends of precious time with loved ones. At The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, we can’t undo the pain your family experiences after a fatal car wreck, but we can help you take action against the driver who is responsible. If your loved one died in an accident in the Fort Worth area, contact our fatal car wreck lawyers to learn more about your legal options.
Compensation for a Fatal Car Wreck in Fort Worth
The damages available to plaintiffs of fatal car accident claims reflect those typically seen in most personal injury lawsuits. However, the conditions of the death in question have a bearing on the compensation available to the plaintiffs in the case. For example, if a person suffered mortal injuries but survived in the hospital for several days or weeks, the victim’s family may be able to secure pain and suffering compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering experienced by the decedent during his or her final days. However, if the victim died immediately upon impact then the family may secure pain and suffering damages for their own loss of affection, care, and consortium resulting from the death, but not for the pain and suffering of the deceased.
Plaintiffs can also receive economic compensation for the value of household services and financial contributions the deceased made toward the family. It is also possible to secure compensation for the income the decedent would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had he or she survived. Plaintiffs can also receive compensation for funeral and burial costs, medical expenses for treating the deceased’s final injury, attorneys’ fees, lost inheritance, and other damages.
Rights of Family Members or Spouses of the Victim
If you are a family member or spouse of someone who died due to a fatal car wreck, you may wonder what your rights are to claim compensation. Under Texas state law, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased person have the right to file a wrongful death claim in civil court. You can file this claim as an individual or with other eligible parties.
If you are a spouse, child, or parent and do not file the wrongful death claim within three months of the deceased’s date of death, the personal representative or executor of your loved one’s estate could file the claim on your behalf. You have the right to deny the personal representative from filing this claim if you wish.
If you are an adult child of a deceased parent, you can file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. In addition, if you are an adoptive child and your deceased adoptive parent fully and legally adopted you, you can file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. However, you cannot file a claim for a biological parent if another family adopted you.
If you are an adoptive parent of an adoptive child who suffered an untimely death, you can file a wrongful claim on behalf of the child. While you can file a wrongful death claim for your spouse, child, or parent in many circumstances, you cannot file a wrongful death claim for a deceased brother or sister. Texas law prohibits this filing, regardless of whether your sibling was biological or adopted.
As a family member filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of your deceased spouse, parent, or child, you have the right to claim compensation for your losses resulting from the untimely death. You can claim compensation for pain and suffering, loss of care, maintenance, services, support, and advice, lost love and companionship, lost and inheritance, and many other types of damages.
How Can a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
Losing a loved one is a very emotional and stressful time, especially if his or her death was untimely and due to negligent circumstances. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident in Texas, you need a fatal car accident attorney on your side. Your attorney can provide numerous benefits to your case, allowing you to reduce your stress and build a compelling case for your compensation.
- Your attorney will have the resources and network necessary to comprehensively investigate your loved one’s death. As a private individual, you do not always have access to these investigative techniques. With an attorney on your side, you can research all the details involved in your loved one’s death so you can craft the strongest case possible.
- Calculating damages in wrongful death claims can be confusing, since you cannot use receipts or invoices to sum up emotional anguish or loss of care. With a fatal car accident attorney on your side, you can accurately calculate all potential avenues of compensation you can claim in your lawsuit.
- Grieving is a painful process that requires you to take time to process your emotions. If you are handling a wrongful death claim without an attorney, you will have the stress of a lawsuit on top of an already difficult time in your life. By hiring a wrongful death attorney to litigate your claim, you can reduce your stress and take the appropriate time to heal.
- Proving a wrongful death claim requires experience and training in personal injury law. You need to know how to prove negligence in these circumstances, as well as how to best navigate courtroom processes. When you hire a fatal car accident attorney, you obtain the knowledge and training necessary to assist you with your case.
Wrongful Death Claims After Fatal Car Wrecks
Fatal wrecks have ripple effects in the lives of surviving family members. Deceased parents lose the ability to provide support to their children. Spouses often lose companionship, support, and a source of income. The mental anguish survivors experience can diminish a family’s quality of life. These are real losses careless drivers cause when their actions take a life. A wrongful death suit can provide financial compensation for these losses and bring families a sense of closure.
In Texas, immediate family members including spouses, parents, and children can file wrongful death claims. One or more people can join the claim to represent all eligible beneficiaries. If no one steps forward to file a claim in the first three months after a loved one’s death, the deceased individual’s estate executor may file a claim.
A Fort Worth fatal car wreck attorney can help your family navigate the complexities of wrongful death claims including identifying beneficiaries, requesting damages, and ensuring the plaintiffs meet all relevant deadlines. The attorneys at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert handle fatal accident claims every year. We understand the shocking and devastating nature of unexpected and preventable loss. As you grieve and try to move forward, count on us to provide compassionate legal guidance.
Survival Actions and Fatal Car Wreck Claims
Our state allows for another type of legal remedy after a fatal car wreck. The estate executor can file a survival action as a form of after-death personal injury claim in Fort Worth. Damages in a survival action cover the deceased’s medical expenses, pain and suffering prior to death, funeral expenses, and other economic and noneconomic losses.
Who is Liable for a Fatal Crash?
- Most fatal car accidents happen due to negligent drivers. When a driver fails to uphold his or her duty of care to drive legally and responsibly and causes an accident, that driver is liable for the damages resulting from that accident. The plaintiff’s attorney in a fatal car accident case will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the death in question.
- It is also possible for a driver’s employer to absorb liability if the driver kills another person due to negligence during the course of performing job duties. If a lawsuit uncovers inappropriate employee screening processes, inadequate training programs, or unacceptable safety standards, then the driver’s employer will likely face liability for the damages in the lawsuit.
- A product manufacturer could also face product liability claims if a defective vehicle or vehicle part causes a fatal accident. The plaintiff’s attorney would need to prove that the product in question was defective and the defect directly caused the fatal accident.
In rare cases, multiple parties may share liability for a fatal car accident. For example, a driver with a passenger is driving over the speed limit when a drunk driver swerves in front of the driver from the opposite lane. The first driver’s passenger dies in the accident, and the jury reviewing the case decides that although the drunk driver bears the most liability for the accident, the speeding driver also contributed to the crash by driving over the speed limit, potentially limiting the ability to swerve or take evasive action and avoid the collision.
This is just one example of how a fatal car accident case can become an extremely complex legal issue. A Fort Worth fatal car wreck lawyer can help a victim’s family recover the damages owed to them due to the negligence of other parties.
Why Choose Our Firm?
- Our Fort Worth fatal car wreck attorneys focus exclusively on personal injury cases, and we have successfully handled many personal injury cases for past clients covering a wide variety of practice areas.
- Aaron A. Herbert completed specialist certification with the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for personal injury law and is one of the leading personal injury attorneys of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
- Our firm has successfully handled more than 50 trial cases and helped secure several multimillion-dollar verdicts for past clients.
- Our firm offers contingency fee billing, meaning we do not accept legal fees unless we win your case. This helps to ensure that any client has access to a Fort Worth fatal car wreck attorney if necessary, regardless of personal finances.
Choosing a Fatal Car Wreck Lawyer in Fort Worth
Fatal car wrecks include any accidents that proximately cause a person’s death. The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can handle cases involving the death of one or more family members in and around Fort Worth. Founding attorney Aaron A. Herbert is a board certified personal injury trial attorney with a reputation for success in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. We can help your family move forward after a car accident fatality. For a free case evaluation, reach out to our office today at (214) 200-4878.