When a beloved family member dies in an accident caused by someone’s carelessness, it is often viewed as a wrongful death. Negligence – the failure to observe a reasonable standard of safety – is usually what determines whether surviving family members have a wrongful death claim.
The Houston wrongful death attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law have the resources to handle these cases. Our experience and accident investigative abilities are crucial in building your family’s demand for full and fair wrongful death compensation. Call us today at 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out a FREE initial consultation form and let us help you find financial security and closure.
Vehicular Wrongful Death
Wrongful deaths can be caused by many different circumstances and situations. For example, cars, trucks, and motorcycles have the potential to kill other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians if operated in a careless or negligent manner. The following factors may contribute to a wrongful death ruling in a vehicle accident:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) – Driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs (including some prescription medications), or a combination of the two can cause serious wrecks when a driver’s reaction time and decision-making abilities are compromised.
- Violation of trucking guidelines – The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to keep truck drivers and other motorists safe. If a trucking company or truck driver failed to follow these regulations and caused an accident that led to the death of your loved one, you and your family may qualify for compensation.
- Violation of traffic laws – Speeding, running red lights, distracted driving, and other violations of Texas traffic laws can all be used as evidence against a driver in a wrongful death case.
Medical Negligence and Wrongful Death
Prescribing the wrong medication, misdiagnosing an illness, or operating on the wrong body part all may be considered medical malpractice. If a healthcare provider’s careless mistakes caused your loved one to die, you have a right to demand compensation for a wrongful death.
In Texas, when you file a claim for wrongful death due to medical malpractice, there’s a cap on the amount of compensation you may receive. Damages may include both compensatory damages for your losses and, if appropriate, exemplary (punitive) damages to punish the negligent party.
Fatal Accidents on Someone’s Property
Visitors can slip and fall on the hard floor of a shopping mall on a rainy day, or they can be electrocuted on a work site, or run over and killed by a security guard’s speeding golf cart.
When injuries such as these occur, the property owner may be liable, though it is certainly possible that the negligent person who actually caused the accident could also be held responsible.
Defective Products Cause Wrongful Deaths
If a defective product causes a family member’s death, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer or any entity in the supply chain (such as the distributor or retailer). There are four common avenues to compensation from a defective product:
- Negligence when designing the defective product
- Negligent manufacture of the product
- Strict liability – the product was dangerous to begin with
- Failure to warn – the manufacturer knew there was a dangerous problem but didn’t warn the public about it.
Wrongful Death Damages Available to Texans
Though some of the damages would be paid to the deceased family member’s estate, others would be paid to the survivors themselves. The following is a list of some of the damages that can be demanded of the negligent defendant responsible for a family member’s wrongful death:
- The deceased’s lost future income, including company-paid benefit contributions
- The deceased’s medical bills and funeral expenses
- The family’s lost care, maintenance, services, support, advice, and counsel the deceased would have provided to them
- Mental and emotional anguish, pain, and suffering for both the deceased and surviving family members
- Lost love, companionship, comfort, and society (usually referred to as “loss of consortium”)
- Survivors’ lost inheritance, money the deceased would likely have saved and left to surviving family members if he or she had lived a normal lifespan
- If appropriate, exemplary (punitive) damages if the wrongful death is caused by a defendant’s willful act or gross negligence.
If someone in your family has suffered a wrongful death, our seasoned Houston wrongful death attorneys will stand up for your family’s full compensation rights and make sure you receive all that is due you and yours from the negligent party or parties who took the life of your beloved family member. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.