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Wrongful Death: What to Do If You Have Lost a Loved One in a Fatal Accident

      Over 30,000 individuals are killed in car accidents across the United States each year.  About 3,300 fatal car accidents happen in Texas annually, making it one of the more dangerous states for drivers.  National statistics reveal that alcohol use, distracted driving, and speeding are common causes of fatal accidents.  Many more deaths are the result of pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bike accidents.

      The family members of these 30,000 plus accident victims are the ones that will continue to suffer emotional and financial loss for years to come.  These family members likely experience feelings of confusion, sadness, and utter loss after the unexpected death of their relatives.  The following is a look at some steps survivors can take and an explanation of the rights of the survivors of accident victims.

What rights do surviving family members of accident victims have?

      Under Texas law, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the accident victim will be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the death of their relative.  These individuals are allowed to bring their wrongful death action either individually or separately. 

      Spouses will need to provide evidence of the marriage and common law marriage is not allowed within the statute.  Adopted children and stepchildren are all eligible under the statute’s terms.  

      If, however, none of these family members of the deceased bring a wrongful death action within three months of the death, then the executor or administrator of the estate will be able to bring the action.  The proceeds will go to the estate and eventually to the named heirs.  Spouses, children, and parents can block the administrator from bringing the action if they so request.

Why file a wrongful death suit?

      When your loved one has been killed in a sudden accident, pursuing legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind.  After all, there is no amount of money that can bring your loved one back.  However, wrongful death suits do hold the power to compensate you for your losses associated with the death, which may include:

  • Lost income and savings
  • Loss of companionship, love, and guidance

      Additionally, a successful wrongful death claim will often provide a sense of justice achieved as the suit holds the negligent party accountable for their wrongful actions. 

How long do I have to bring a wrongful death action?

      Texas law allows the survivors of deceased accident victims with two years within which to bring a wrongful death suit following the accident.  However, as discussed above, failure to bring the action within three months will open the field for the executor of the estate to do so. 

      Further, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you may miss out on critical evidence that should be gathered as soon as possible after the crash.  As such, it is wise to consult with a wrongful death attorney right away so that you can protect your legal rights to the fullest extent. 

Zinda Law Group:  Seeking Justice for Your Lost Loved One

      Fatal accidents account for the deaths of thousands each year. The Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys at Zinda Law Group assist bereaved family members in achieving justice for the death of their relatives gone too soon. 

      We will zealously fight for your full wrongful death award, including lost income and savings, emotional pain and suffering, psychological counseling, and loss of companionship.  Call Zinda Law Group toll free at 800-863-5312 to schedule your free consultation.