CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS IN PLANO FOR FREE
Losing a loved one in an accident in a tragedy can be emotionally devastating, and even more so if the accident was caused by the negligent behavior of another. The loss of a loved one can cause more than emotional pain, however, as the loss can leave your family facing heavy financial burdens as well, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of income.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you should contact a Plano wrongful death attorney from Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
WHAT IS WRONGFUL DEATH?
Wrongful death claims may be filed if you have recently lost a loved one in an accident caused by the negligent behavior or intentional actions of another. It must generally be proven that the at-fault party behaved negligently or intentionally, and that this behavior caused the accident resulting in your loved one’s death.
To prove negligence in a wrongful death case, four elements must typically be proven:
Duty of Care
A duty of care is an obligation that is owed to another to behave in a certain manner and take certain precautions to prevent an accident. It must be proven that the at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care. For example, a truck driver has a duty of care to not drive while fatigued or to otherwise engage in behavior that may cause an accident.
Breach of Duty
It must next be proven that the at-fault party breached the duty of care. This means that they failed to take the proper precautions required to avoid breaching the applicable duty of care. In the example of the truck driver, if they drive longer than is appropriate or allowed by federal regulations, or if the driver drives over the speed limit, this may be a breach of duty.
It must also be proven that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the accident. This means if not for the breach of duty, the accident would not have occurred.
Finally, it must be proven that the victim was negatively impacted by the accident. In wrongful death cases, damages are generally assumed to exist, as the victim is deceased.
WHO CAN FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
The filing of wrongful death claims in Texas is generally limited to the spouse, children, or parents of the victim, although adopted children or adoptive parents may also be able to bring claims in some cases.
COMMON WRONGFUL DEATH ACCIDENTS
Driving is just another part of life for most of us, but accidents occur all too frequently, and while many may only result in minor injuries, some may end in serious injuries and even death. In 2017, 20 people in Plano, TX, were killed in car accidents. If a fatal accident was caused by an intoxicated driver, distracted driver, or otherwise negligent driver, the victim’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Read More: Plano Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Truck accidents can be very serious, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Trucking companies may put pressure on their drivers to deliver their cargo as quickly as possible to its destination, which may cause them to drive for longer periods than may be safe. Fatal accidents caused by fatigued or drowsy drivers may lead to a wrongful death claim.
The workplace can often be filled with dangerous hazards. Employers have an obligation to ensure that proper safety equipment and training is provided, and safe work practices are followed. An employer who fails to ensure a safe work environment is provided for all employees may be liable if a workplace accident results in death.
Manufactured Product Malfunction
In today’s age of rapidly advancing technology, we find ourselves surrounded by more and more gadgets and manufactured goods. Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure their products do not cause harm when operated as intended. If a manufactured product malfunctions, either due to faulty design or a manufacturing defect, as well as insufficient warning labels, and causes a fatal accident, the manufacturer may be liable.
We trust our doctors with our health, but sometimes doctors may not take the proper precautions, which can result in complications, or even the death of a patient. Health care providers must ensure they are careful to avoid botched surgeries, misdiagnosis, or failing to diagnose an issue. If a patient dies because a medical professional failed to practice due diligence, the physician and the hospital may be liable.
FILING A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
1. Consult an Attorney
If you have recently lost a loved one in an accident that may have been caused by the negligent behavior of another, you should consult a wrongful death lawyer in Plano as soon as possible. This will allow your attorney to begin reviewing your case while the evidence is still fresh and readily available and help to ensure legal time limits are met. Insurance companies will often lowball compensation offers in the interest of preserving their bottom line, even if you may be entitled to much more. A lawyer may be able to review your case, determine who is liable, and help you pursue the compensation you may be entitled to.
Once you have consulted an attorney, and they have accepted your case, your lawyer may then begin their investigation. During this investigation, your attorney may examine the details surrounding the accident, collect evidence, and interview witnesses. This may help your lawyer determine who may be responsible for causing your loved one’s death, and whether more than one party may be liable. The evidence your attorney may collect during the investigation may often help them build a stronger case when negotiating with insurers.
Once your attorney has concluded their investigation of the accident, they may then negotiate your claim with the insurer with a settlement demand to avoid trial. However, insurers will often initially offer far less than what you may be entitled to. Your attorney may be able to use the evidence collected during their investigation to strengthen your case and level the playing field with the insurance company. If your attorney and the insurer agree on a settlement, you may be able to receive compensation without going to trial.
If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your case may go to trial. Your attorney may represent you during the trial and present your case to the jury, using evidence gathered during your lawyer’s investigation and over the course of the lawsuit to prove the other party’s liability for your loved one’s death. The amount of compensation, if any, will be determined by the jury.
In wrongful death claims in Texas, compensation for both economic and non-economic damages may be sought, including:
Compensation for medical expenses will generally include the cost of medical care provided after the accident, such as ambulance costs, doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and medication.
Compensation for funeral expenses generally includes funeral services and burial costs.
Loss of Income
If the victim was unable to work for a period of time due to their injuries before their death, you may be able to seek compensation for the loss of income during this period.
Loss of Potential Income
The loss of a loved one is always hard for families, but the loss of income they may have provided the family can create hardships for years afterward. You may be able to seek compensation for the loss of future income the victim may have been able to provide for their family. This type of compensation takes many factors into consideration, including age, the victim’s health before the accident, and type of work.
Pain and Suffering
Compensation for pain and suffering may be sought to compensate for the physical and emotional trauma the victim may have suffered as a result of injuries caused by the accident.
Loss of Consortium
The loss of a spouse can have a tremendous impact, leaving the surviving spouse without the comfort and care the victim provided in their marriage. The victim's spouse may seek compensation for the loss of close companionship in a wrongful death claim.
Loss of Parental Guidance
The loss of a parent can be devastating for young children, who may be left without a parental figure to guide and teach them as they mature. The children of the victim may seek compensation for loss of parental guidance in a wrongful death claim.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
The statute of limitations provides a time window within which a claim may be filed. In Texas, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of death. However, in the case of minors who wish to file a wrongful death claim after the loss of a parent, the statute of limitations may not begin until they turn eighteen, from which point they will have two years to file a wrongful death claim. The time period may also be delayed if it is not discovered until a later date that the accident may have been caused by negligence. It is important to consult a Plano wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your attorney has time to conduct a thorough investigation into your claim and attempt to negotiate with the insurer within this time frame.
GET HELP FROM A PLANO LAWYER TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys may be able to help you with your wrongful death claim. Our Plano attorneys have years of experience helping our clients pursue the maximum compensation they may be entitled to after their loved one has been killed in an accident caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior of someone else.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.