Round Rock Wrongful Death Lawyers
Call 800-863-5312 to Speak With Round Rock Wrongful Death Lawyers for Free
Death is never easy, especially when a loved one died in an accident due to the negligent action or intentional misconduct of another party. You may experience burdens such as funeral costs, medical bills, and lost wages in addition to your grief. Adding to your stress, when a wrongful death occurs, it can be confusing to navigate the next legal steps for recovering compensation. In a traumatic situation such as a wrongful death, it is helpful if a competent accidental death attorney evaluates the merits of your case. Our Round Rock wrongful death lawyers are here to help.
At Zinda Law Group, our team of Round Rock wrongful death lawyers are capable and knowledgeable of the relevant state laws to help you navigate through this extraordinarily difficult time. Call 800-863-5312 and schedule your case evaluation, a 100% free consultation with a Round Rock wrongful death lawyer.
How is Wrongful Death Defined?
In Texas, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence and/or misconduct of another person or corporation. Specifically, when:
- an injury causes the death of another;
- the injury is caused by another’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, or unskillfulness; and
- the injured party would have otherwise been entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived the injury.
Is a Wrongful Death Claim Civil or Criminal?
A victim (or a person on behalf of said victim) cannot bring a criminal case. Rather, it is the government who brings a case against the party responsible for the wrongful death. A prosecutor is required to meet a beyond a reasonable doubt evidentiary standard.
Conversely, in the civil case context, an individual can bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. There, the burden of proving your case is much lower as it only requires meeting a preponderance of the evidence standard. The difference in evidentiary standards is because in a criminal case, the offending party faces potential imprisonment, while in a civil case the party faces monetary damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A limited number of people may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased individual. Those people include one or more of these:
- a surviving spouse
- a surviving parent (also includes a parent of an adopted child)
- a surviving child
- a surviving personal representative of the deceased’s estate
Many family members are excluded from being able to file wrongful death actions. These include: siblings, cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews (unless they are otherwise a personal representative of the deceased’s estate).
Steps to Take When Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
When deciding on whether to file a wrongful death claim, these are the steps that you should take.
1. Retain a Round Rock Personal Injury Lawyer
Due to the inherent difficulties in pursuing a wrongful death suit in the state of Texas on behalf of a loved one, utilizing the services of a knowledgeable attorney in Round Rock is important in getting a claim litigated. Among the steps an attorney should take on your behalf includes filing all relevant documents within the proper time period and ensuring that there is a properly designated personal representative for the claim.
2. Obtain Proper Documentation
With the help of your hired attorney, obtain relevant documentation to help with your claim, such as proof of a death certificate, medical bills relating to the accident, any corroborating evidence demonstrating that the accident would not have happened without the defendant’s negligence or misconduct, and tax returns.
3. Communicate with the Opposing Party
Before trial it is common practice for the defendants in a wrongful death claim to negotiate, in an attempt to secure a settlement amount. If you are unhappy with the amount offered, consider further pursuing the claim to trial.
Before agreeing to any offer, it would be wise to talk to your attorney. Don’t have one yet? You can search online—perhaps using the search term “personal injury attorney near me”—and make an appointment to discuss any potential deal with a qualified attorney.
Common Examples of a Wrongful Death
The most common examples of circumstances when someone died in an accident include:
When a loved one passes away as the result of misconduct or negligence by another driver, the insurer for the responsible party often compensates for your losses. However, if the driver was working for a company when the wrongful death occurred, the company’s insurance will compensate the victim’s family instead.
When a driver strikes a pedestrian, causing a fatal accident, a party will want to pursue a claim against the driver of the vehicle, or the company of the driver if the driver was on the job. In addition, if the driver was unable to see the pedestrian due to circumstances outside of their control (such as a lack of clear indication of a crossway), the town where the accident occurred could be found liable.
Slip and Fall Accidents
When an individual slips and falls, causing a fatal injury, due to unmarked hazards on the ground or an improperly maintained sidewalk, a surviving party should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if the pathway outside of a popular grocery store is improperly maintained, and there are no signs warning potential consumers to avoid walking on it, a party can file a wrongful death claim against the store.
If a building was improperly built or maintained within a few years prior to causing a fatality, a surviving family member can pursue litigation against the responsible party. For example, if a contractor made alterations to a longstanding building which then directly led to a collapse that killed someone, a wrongful death claim against the contractor and/or the contractor’s business should ensue.
Harmful Drug Interaction
When an individual passes away due to ingesting prescribed medical drugs, a legitimate claim against the drug company could take place if there is demonstrated proof that the company withheld evidence of dangerous side effects or improperly warned consumers of the potential harms in taking the drugs.
When an unsafe work environment causes the death of a loved one, a family representative should pursue a claim against the responsible co-worker and/or company. For example, a claim exists when a co-worker who was operating heavy machinery did not safely use the product or pay attention to their surroundings, directly causing the fatal injury to your loved one.
When a product does not work as intended and directly leads to the accidental death of a party, a survivor of the individual who died in the accident can bring a claim against the product’s manufacturer or retailer due to the product’s defectiveness. An example is if someone purchases a vehicle that does not have working brakes, and an accidental death is caused due to the lack of adequate brakes.
When a doctor is negligent in the care of your loved one, which then leads to your loved one’s death, a family representative would work with a Round Rock injury lawyer to file a claim against the doctor and/or hospital employing the doctor.
Wrongful Death Statistics
The CDC estimates that over 200,000 people a year die from an unintentional injury, placing it in the top 10 causes of death in the United States. In addition, OSHA estimates that the leading causes of workplace injuries include falls from scaffolding or other tall structures, slip and falls, and being struck by equipment or machinery.
The U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that in 2020, Texas was the leading state in the number of fatal workplace injuries in the nation. Furthermore, in 2016, Texas was the leading state in fatal workplace accidents. Common causes in the deaths recorded include slip and falls, transportation accidents, and injuries incurred from other people on the job.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) estimates that from January 2021 through September 2021, over 30,000 people died as a result of motor vehicle traffic crashes, an increase of approximately 12% during the same time period in 2020. This is the highest percentage jump for the first 9 months of a year in the reporting system’s history and the largest number of fatalities since 2006.
Keeping these numbers in mind, there is a genuine possibility that a loved one of yours may have been a victim of a wrongful death accident due to another party’s negligence or intentional misconduct. Become aware of your rights to file a wrongful death claim in such instances, and be willing to reach out to accidental death lawyers in Round Rock to assist in your matter.
In Round Rock, Texas, there are two types of statutory remedies are available: the Texas Survival of Cause of Action and wrongful death actions.
The Texas Survival of Cause of Action
Under Texas’ Survival of Cause of Action, a person “steps into the shoes” of the deceased to file a lawsuit as though the person survived and pursued a personal injury lawsuit on their own behalf. The statute allows recovery for what the deceased went through from the time of the act to their death.
The time period could cover expenses incurred from immediately following the accident to a few hours after the accident, or even to months and years later (depending on how long the deceased survived the incident). With expert guidance from a Round Rock personal injury lawyer, you may be able to receive compensation for damages such as funeral costs, medical bills, and property damage.
Additional obtainable recovery damages include compensation for the pain and suffering as well as mental trauma endured by your deceased loved one prior to their death, as long as these damages were a result of their injuries. An example would be if a loved one was fatally injured in a serious car accident as a result of the negligence of another driver.
If your loved one endured hours of painful bodily injuries before passing away—directly as a result of the accident—you can recover for the trauma that the deceased went through, just as the deceased would have been able to do if they had lived. An accident lawyer who has substantial resources—like the team at Zinda Law Group—can help prove how long your loved one suffered by hiring expert medical personnel to serve as witnesses to testify on their behalf.
Wrongful Death Action
A wrongful death action in Texas can only be brought by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a wrongful death victim. The restriction excludes extended family members beyond the surviving immediate family from recovering any compensation unless they are the personal, legal representatives of the deceased. That remains so even if an eligible family member passes away before the resolution of the case (no other family member could come in and take their place).
In contrast to the Texas Survival Statute, the victims of a wrongful death action may only recover for the injuries that they themselves incur as the result of the loss of their loved one (rather than the injuries that the victim of the wrongful death would have incurred). Remedies under this approach include mental anguish, lost earning capacity (i.e. what the deceased would have likely earned had they survived), and lost love or companionship, sometimes called loss of consortium.
In addition, a court may decide to award surviving members punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages which are designed to make the injured party “whole” (i.e. put you back in the position you were in before the event took place), the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the offending party.
If an extreme level of negligence (known as gross negligence) causes the wrongful death of your loved one, your Round Rock injury lawyer can explain how punitive damages may be an option for you. Typically, punitive damages shall not exceed $200,000 or twice the amount of economic and non-economic damages at a cap of $750,000.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Similar to most states, Texas law ensures that you have two years from the time of the accident to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. Typically, the start date will be the day of the death of the person on behalf of whom you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the two-year deadline has passed, the opposing party will be able to dismiss a claim even if the claim is legitimate. That is why it is important to hire accidental death lawyers to assist in getting a valid claim through before the two year deadline passes. You do not want to miss an opportunity at obtaining damages to which you are otherwise entitled.
Exceptions to the Standard Statute of Limitations
There are exceptions to the typical two-year statute of limitations on bringing a wrongful death claim. For example, when a minor child has lost a parent, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the child turns eighteen. Once the child had had his eighteenth birthday, the two-year period will officially begin.
Another example is if the negligence of the offending party was not inherently obvious at the time of the incident. If you did not know of the other party’s involvement in your loved one’s death, then the two-year statute of limitations does not start until you have become aware.
Our Round Rock Wrongful Death Lawyers are Here to Help
At Zinda Law Group, our Round Rock personal injury lawyers have extensive experience helping countless victims of wrongful death incidents. We have the means and resources to provide you with professional assistance in obtaining maximum compensation for the losses you have suffered. We know that financial compensation will not replace your lost loved one, but our Zinda Law Group attorneys want to remediate any financial burdens you are facing in the aftermath of your loss.
It is a firm-wide belief that a wrongful death victim’s loved one should have the ability to pay for top-notch representation; that is why we offer 100% free consultations. You will not pay for anything unless we achieve a favorable outcome, result, or verdict in your wrongful death case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.