The loss of a loved one is devastating, even more so when caused by the negligent actions of another. In cases of negligent conduct resulting in a wrongful death, the victim’s family is legally able to pursue a wrongful death claim to obtain compensation. The qualified wrongful death attorneys at the Bonilla Law Firm PLLC have successfully fought for and procured full and fair recoveries for grieving families. We offer free, no obligation, consultations. Call our Austin personal injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation today.
A claim for an Austin wrongful death may be brought if the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one party causes the death of another. (Texas Statutes section 71.001)
When filing a claim for this type of case, the surviving family members of the victim have the right to seek compensation for:
In some cases, exemplary or punitive damages may be recovered. These economic damages require a wrongful death was caused by a willful act or omission, or by gross negligence. The purpose of exemplary damages is to punish the responsible party for their intolerable behavior. The court typically determines the amount of damages awarded.
After a wrongful death occurs in Texas, there are three main kinds of damages that a plaintiff involved in a wrongful death can recover. These damages include:
Economic damages from wrongful death cases occur and are calculated relatively easily compared to non-economic and punitive damages. Since there is generally a tangible dollar amount that is included with medical expenses and a deceased individuals income.
Types of economic damages in a wrongful death case can include:
Medical Expenses – The amount of fiscal damages caused from the expenses for medical bills. These economic damages can include the costs of emergency transportation to a hospital, ER costs, prescription drug costs, costs affiliated with surgical procedures, rehabilitation services and medical expenses and therapy.
Financial Support – Economic damages resulting from a wrongful death case can occur when an individual that would have otherwise offered financial assistance dies. These types of economic damages can include potential earnings for the individual that has lost their life, along with retirement benefits including pensions, 401ks and insurance policies.
Non-economic damages generally include psychological damages and harm caused by the wrongful death claim. Very close loved ones including spouses and children may be entitled to recover damages associated with the wrongful death of a family member.
Calculating the amount of non-economic damages can prove to be difficult as the plaintiff will need to show the damages caused from the wrongful death amount to a certain dollar amount.
Punitive Damages are awarded to the plaintiff side if the defendant’s actions were especially serious, wrong and surpass the normal threshold of negligence. If the wrongful death resulted from a car accident, punitive damages may be awarded by the courts if the driver was impaired or intoxicated, was driving on a suspended licenses – or did not have a license, was driving recklessly or was knowingly operating a motor vehicle that was so dangerous and under maintained that it caused a serious safety hazard.
In the state of Texas, only certain family members of the deceased individual can file a wrongful death suit under Texas law. Per Sec. 71.004 (b) only the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased can file a lawsuit.
The surviving family members of the wrongfully deceased can sue the negligent party for damages that include costs of medical bills, funeral costs, mental anguish, loss of consortium and loss of love or companionship. If there is compensation awarded by the courts, it is then divided amongst the surviving family members. These surviving family members have the choice to either file the claim singly, or as a group. Adult children and adopted children may file over the death of a parent/adopted parent, as well as the parents over a child. Surviving siblings cannot file a wrongful death claim for the loss of a sibling, according to Texas state law.
If and when the surviving members of the deceased are ready to file suit against the at fault party, our law firm is here to help with the case. Our wrongful death attorneys understand the complexities and stress of these cases and we will fight for compensation on your behalf.
The time limit, better known as the statute of limitations, is two years from the date of the accident in the state of Texas. For surviving family members of the deceased, it is important to reach out to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
There are some exceptions that a knowledgeable Texas wrongful death attorney will be able to explain to you. Wrongful deaths suits can involve high levels of grief and stress for the parties involved. Our attorneys work with the surviving members of the family to establish the facts of the case and perform the research required to help recoup the damages the surviving members of the family are entitled to.
There are innumerable ways that wrongful death cases can arise in and around the Austin area. Here, we want to discuss some of the most common causes of wrongful death that we handle at the Bonilla Law Firm PLLC.
According to data available from the Texas Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 3,610 total traffic crash fatalities during the latest reporting year across the state. Motorists have a legal obligation to exercise due diligence while they are operating their vehicles. This includes abiding by all traffic laws, driving safely in accordance with the roadway conditions, and being mindful of pedestrians and other motorists.
A knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death lawyer in Austin will be able to conduct a full investigation into the causes of a car accident crash in order to properly assign liability.
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Researchers say that approximately 250,000 people lose their lives each year due to medical negligence or medical errors. There are various ways in which these mistakes can occur, including misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, medication mistakes, healthcare-acquired infections, surgical mistakes, and more.
Medical malpractice wrongful death cases can become very complicated, and a skilled attorney will work with various health care professionals who can provide expert witness testimony.
Unfortunately, many drivers fail to exercise caution when pedestrians are in or around the roadway. The Texas Department of Transportation states that 660 pedestrians were killed due to traffic accidents during the latest reporting year of data. Pedestrians have very little protection from the force of the vehicle slamming into their bodies. Some of the main causes of pedestrian accidents include drivers failing to yield the right of way, drivers failing to stop at traffic signals or stop signs, distracted driving behavior, drunk driving, and drivers impaired by drugs, and more.
Motorcyclists have very little protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them. Even when a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet, it is not uncommon for catastrophic injuries to occur in a motorcycle versus vehicle accident. Unfortunately, vehicle drivers often fail to give motorcyclists the space they deserve on the roadway. The Texas Department of Transportation says that there were 410 motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents during the latest reporting year across the state.
Traumatic brain injuries can occur anytime a person sustains a significant blow or penetrating injury to the head. There are a variety of causes of traumatic brain injuries in and around the Austin area. This can include car accidents, truck accidents, violence, gunshots, work injuries, defective products, slip and fall accidents, and more.
According to data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 5,000 total fatalities caused by workplace incidents during the latest reporting year in the country. Fatalities in the workplace are often caused by accidents involving heavy machinery, tool mishaps, construction accidents, falls, explosions, and more. It is up to employers to provide safe working environments for their workers, and they could be held liable if they fail to do so.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can be a time-consuming and complicated task, which a grieving family should not have to concern themselves about. Experienced Austin wrongful death lawyers that have handled wrongful death claims can guide you while advocating for you in every step of the litigation process. The claims process will go much more smoothly and as problem free as possible. Retaining legal services will also guarantee that every avenue of compensation that you and your loved ones deserve will be exhausted.
Our highly qualified wrongful death attorneys have helped many families in Austin and elsewhere in Texas, pursue compensation and justice after losing a loved one in a fatal car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. We can help you pursue compensation for medical expenses to help the recovery process during this difficult time. Our law firm has a track record of handling wrongful death cases involving auto accidents, slip and fall cases, medical malpractice truck accidents and additional personal injury cases that resulted in a wrongful death case. We offer free, no obligation case evaluations where we can provide initial general information.
Our Austin wrongful death attorneys know how incredibly difficult these cases can be for the surviving family members and our lawyers are here to help with our legal advice and expertise. To speak with knowledgeable Austin wrongful lawyers, contact us at (512) 441-1111 or complete our online contact form to begin the first step in recouping what was lost during this tragic accident.