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Understanding Your Rights When A Loved One Dies In A Car Accident

Losing a loved one is never easy. When a loved one dies suddenly, you may feel robbed of your chance to say goodbye or a final “I love you.” Dealing with money is probably the furthest thing from your mind. However, if your loved one was killed in an automobile accident, you may be saddled with significant medical bills and other unexpected expenses such as loss of income.


How can I pay for those bills?

If another party is found responsible for the accident, you may have cause to file a wrongful death claim. According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, the law that governs wrongful death suits is Chapter 71 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. In the case of a vehicle accident, negligence could be a result of driving while intoxicated, texting and driving or otherwise failing to maintain control of a vehicle. A wrongful death claim needs to demonstrate the other party acted in a careless, neglectful, wrong or unskilled manner.

Who can receive compensation?

Wrongful death suits may be filed by the surviving spouse, children or the parents of the lost loved one. In Texas, adopted children can also file a claim. These types of claims face restrictions. Siblings cannot file suit for a wrongful death claim in Texas.

What do damages cover?

The kinds of damage recoverable in a wrongful death suit depends on your relationship to the deceased. Some common kinds of damages are mental pain, loss of financial support, loss of potential income, loss of inheritance or even damages related to loss of love, support and guidance. If the other party is deemed grossly negligent, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the wrongdoer for his or her grossly negligent actions.

In Texas, the estate of the deceased can also file for survival damages. These damages are related to costs incurred at the hospital after the accident, as well as any pain the deceased may have suffered before passing.

When do I need to file suit?

The state of Texas allows you some time to file suit. You have two years after your loved one’s passing. There are some exceptions to this rule, but generally, two years is the time limit for filing a lawsuit.

If your loved one recently passed away, you are probably deep in the grieving process. It is hard to imagine filing a lawsuit. The insurance company representing the defendant has already begun investigating the case, getting evidence secured and coordinating the witness’ stories. You need the most competent Board-Certified attorneys to begin the investigation for you to protect your family so you get the justice you deserve. If you decide to pursue a wrongful death suit, know the law offers recompense to those who have lost a loved one in an automobile accident.

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