What to Do Immediately After Losing a Loved One in a Car Accident
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If you have lost a loved one after a car accident, then you unfortunately are well aware of just how painful of a situation this can be. The loss of a loved one in any circumstance is enough to send family members reeling, and it can be even more impactful if it comes suddenly, like when the family member dies after being severely injured in a car accident in Texas. However, one thing that can at least help ease some of the burden on your shoulders is hiring the right Texas injury attorney to represent your interests.
what to do immediately after the accident
Immediately after you have lost a loved one in a car accident, there are a lot of emotions and other stressors for the family members of a victim to work through. However, the time immediately following an accident is also a critical time for any potential legal claims that you might have. Thus, it can be helpful to have an idea of what your practical next steps should be following the accident.
1. Contact a Fatal Car Crash Attorney
As soon as possible after the accident, contact a Texas injury lawyer. A Texas car accident attorney can help you by, first and foremost, giving you an idea of whether or not you have a compensable claim. They may also be able to give you an idea of what a claim could be worth.
It is also advisable that you speak with a Texas car accident lawyer after the accident because wrongful death cases are often very complicated, as opposed to minor car accidents that may be possible to deal with without the help of an attorney. Wrongful death cases resulting from a fatal car crash often require mountains of evidence and can become very intricate. A wrongful death lawyer who has the experience to know what they’re doing with these sorts of cases can conduct an effective investigation and sift through the evidence, which will lighten the weight of the massive burden you are currently carrying on your shoulders.
2. Document the Accident
When you file a wrongful death claim, the burden is on you to prove that you deserve to be compensated by one of the other parties involved; in order to do this, you will need to present evidence. At the preliminary stages of a potential wrongful death claim, it is always better to have too much evidence as opposed to too little, so being as thorough as possible while documenting an accident is critical. When you have lost a loved one after a car accident, some of the crucial pieces of evidence to gather can be photos of the accident scene, contact information for the other drivers involved and any potential witnesses, and medical records or any other documentation that might have been generated over the course of the case.
3. Notify the Insurance Company
Regardless of how the accident happened or who is actually at fault, it is important that you contact your insurance company after the accident. However, once you have notified the insurance company, do not give a detailed report of the details before speaking with an attorney; these details could possibly be used by the insurance company against you and your family in order to minimize the amount that they are legally obligated to pay out. It is also important to notify the insurance company because there may be clauses in the policy requiring that they be notified within a certain amount of time before they are required to pay damages.
what is a wrongful death case?
Most personal injury cases involve the victim of a given accident filing a claim for their damages. However, if you lost a loved one after a car accident, then they are obviously no longer able to advocate for themselves; this is where wrongful death lawsuits can come into play. In Texas, certain surviving family members can essentially step into the shoes of the deceased and sue on their behalf for damages.
In order to prevail on a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family member must prove the same things that the deceased would have had to prove if they had survived the accident. For example, if the deceased died as a result of someone allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol, then they will need to be able to show that the driver was acting negligently, and that that negligent action was the cause of their loved one’s death in the same way that a typical drunk driving accident victim would need to prove those components in order to recover for their injuries.
who can file a wrongful death claim?
One important first step when you have lost a loved one after a car accident is to determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. By statute, the state of Texas restricts which family members can file on behalf of the deceased, and those family members include the deceased person’s spouse, parents, and children, which includes adoptive parents and children. Adopted children are not allowed to file a claim on the behalf of their deceased biological parents, however; speaking with a wrongful death attorney in Texas is the best way to determine what your legal standing is and whether you are an eligible family member to be able to bring a claim on behalf of your loved one.
Texas wrongful death statute of limitations
Another important component of any kind of personal injury claim is the statute of limitations, which is the length of time that you have after a given incident to file a claim for damages. In Texas, the statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death claim is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident that caused the death of your loved one within which to file a claim, or else it will likely be dismissed.
There are certain exceptions that may apply to the statute of limitations. Therefore, it is advisable to quickly seek the advice of a wrongful death attorney to ensure that you don’t run into any issues with timing that could be avoided.
what is my case worth?
There are many costs that come along with the wrongful death of a family member, whether that be their medical bills, lost income that your family depended on, or the acute emotional pain of losing a loved one. This leads many surviving family members to begin to wonder what they might stand to gain financially by bringing a claim. Consulting with a wrongful death lawyer can be the best way to get an exact estimate of what your case could be worth, but damages will generally come from a few main categories.
Economic damages are damages that are more tangible and can be objectively verified. In the case of a loved one dying in a car accident, economic damages might include any lost income that the deceased would have earned if they had survived, or their medical bills if they spent a period of time in a hospital before passing. Economic damages are usually verified through things like bills, receipts, or paystubs.
Losing a loved one in any circumstance is an incredibly difficult experience, and this is where non-economic damages come into play. Non-economic damages refer generally to the pain and suffering that an accident victim or their surviving loved ones experience as a result of the negligent or purposeful act of another. More specifically, in a case of wrongful death from a car accident, non-economic damages might include the mental pain and anguish that survivors experience or the loss of the love, care, and companionship that the deceased provided to them.
In certain cases, punitive damages may be available in addition to the aforementioned categories. While economic and non-economic damages are intended to compensate victims and put them in the position that they were in before the accident, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and serve as a warning to others not to act in the same way. Ultimately, speaking with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Texas will be the best way to determine the type and quantity of the damages that you could possibly receive.
Texas fatal car accident statistics
Unfortunately, fatal car accidents leading to the need for a fatal car crash lawyer are not an uncommon occurrence on Texas roadways. In fact, in 2020, there was not a single day without at least one fatality in Texas. Below are some more statistics regarding fatal car crashes in Texas.
- Fatalities coming from crashes in the state’s rural areas accounted for the slight majority of all traffic fatalities.
- Based on reportable crashes from 2020, 1 person was killed on average every two hours and fifteen minutes.
- The fatality rate for Texas roads was 1.33 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which represented a 5.66% increase from the prior year.
If you find yourself grieving the loss of someone who fell within these statistics, speaking with a Texas injury lawyer can give you a better idea of what your options might be in order to seek maximum compensation.
Call zinda law group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation
As difficult as it is to lose a loved one in a car accident, the wrongful death attorneys at Zinda Law Group are standing by to make sure that you do not go through it alone. What’s more, you won’t pay us anything until we win your case for you. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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