Losing a loved one in a preventable accident caused by someone’s careless conduct or neglect causes lasting pain and anguish.
Your initial feelings of grief and sadness may be followed by anger about a preventable loss and the practical worries about how you will run your household and handle unanticipated expenses.
Your family may be facing large hospital bills, funeral expenses and the prospect of maintaining your household without the financial support of your lost loved one.
At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., our wrongful death lawyers understand the anguish and financial stress that the loss of a family member can cause. Your family should not have to endure financial hardship because of someone else’s negligence. The road to recovery is complicated and difficult, but you do not have to go through the most challenging period of your life alone. Let our experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyers offer trusted guidance during this difficult time.
Our compassionate attorneys will review the specifics of the fatal incident and discuss your range of legal options. Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. is an established law firm that has helped thousands of people in Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth and throughout the Rio Grande Valley recover after serious losses. Every wrongful death case has unique considerations. But we are proud of the results our personal injury attorneys have achieved for thousands of clients throughout Texas.
Our attorneys are ready to hold an individual or business that caused your loved one’s death fully accountable for the loss you have suffered. If we handle a wrongful death case on behalf of your family, we will do so on a contingency fee basis so you will not pay any upfront costs. You will not owe us a legal fee unless we obtain compensation for you through an insurance settlement or jury award. Call Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. to obtain a free review of your case and learn how a wrongful death lawyer can assist you.
Legal Options For Surviving Family Members
The immediate family of a person who is killed as a result of another’s negligence has a legal right in Texas to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for their loved one’s losses. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that seeks financial restitution for a preventable death. A wrongful death lawsuit is brought by the family. It is entirely separate from any criminal prosecution pursued by the state after a death caused by misconduct.
For example, a drunk driver who causes the death of another person in a traffic accident on a San Antonio highway may be charged and convicted of intoxication manslaughter in Texas. The manslaughter conviction will likely involve a prison sentence and thousands of dollars in criminal penalties. But the criminal conviction won’t provide any financial compensation to the deceased’s survivors. The family of the deceased will need to pursue a separate wrongful death lawsuit in Texas civil court to pursue compensation from the drunk driver and the driver’s insurance company.
Texas law allows a spouse, child, or parent to file a wrongful death lawsuit after someone causes the death of their loved one. The definition of spouse includes both married and common-law spouses, and those who are legally separated. Children include both biological and adopted children. Unfortunately, under Texas law, surviving siblings are not eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
A wide range of accidents causing fatal injuries may be the basis for a wrongful death claim in Texas including:
- car accidents
- drunk driving accidents
- truck accidents
- oilfield accidents
- motorcycle crashes
- construction accidents
- defective products
- auto defects
- workplace accidents
- offshore accidents
At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C, we will carefully investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determine the legal options that are available to your family to pursue compensation and move forward. We bring more than 100 years of experience to each case we handle, and we have deep roots in Texas.
In some workplace accidents, a subcontractor or manufacturer of a piece of defective equipment or machinery may be potentially liable for a death. The family of the deceased worker may collect death benefits through the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance, if available, and have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault third party who caused the death.
Process of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A call to a lawyer begins the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The lawyer will review the details of the accident and determine whether a valid wrongful death claim exists and explain the family’s options for seeking compensation.
Once the family retains the attorney, the attorney will investigate the death in detail and gather evidence to support the wrongful death claim. Texas does not require businesses to provide workers’ compensation insurance to employees, but many do. Workers’ compensation death benefits may be available in some cases.
Our experienced attorneys can investigate all the factors contributing to the accident. The attorney will identify those who are potentially liable for the death and look for insurance policies that are available to pay compensation.
The attorney will calculate the damages your family has suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.
The attorney will submit a letter to the appropriate insurance companies, seeking full compensation for your losses.
The submission of the demand letter may start the negotiation process to reach a settlement.
Our attorneys will negotiate to try to reach a just settlement and keep you informed throughout the process.
If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement, we will be prepared to take your case to court and present your claim to a jury.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death in Texas
While it may be difficult to act after the loss of a loved one, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the death of a family member in a preventable accident. Texas allows two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in most circumstances. But wrongful death cases often require detailed investigations before a claim can be filed. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Talking with a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer will allow you to make well-informed decisions with your family’s future in mind.
Wrongful death claims can involve significant sums of money. Insurance companies will try to pay out the least amount possible to resolve a claim to protect their profit margins. When the stakes are high, you will need help from an experienced wrongful death lawyer in dealing with the insurance company.
You will want an experienced attorney representing you and advocating for your interests to have the best chance of being treated fairly. Our attorneys will explore all options to help provide your family with a secure future.
Types of Compensation Families May Seek In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A spouse, parent, or child who proves a wrongful death claim may recover compensation for:
- Financial losses such as medical expenses and funeral costs
- Loss of the deceased person’s future earning capacity, services, and household support
- Loss of parental guidance, counsel, and instruction that a parent would have provided a child
- Loss of household services
- Pain and suffering
- Exemplary damages in certain instances when a death is caused by a willful act such as a violent assault or grossly negligent conduct.
The types of compensation available in each case depend on the specific facts of the case. Our compassionate attorneys at Herrman & Herrman can review the particular circumstances of your loved one’s death and explain the types of compensation that your family would be entitled to seek through a wrongful death lawsuit. If the death was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct, we can determine whether it is appropriate to demand punitive damages in addition to other damages.
How Can I Afford A Wrongful Death Attorney
At Herrman & Herrman, we understand your family may be experiencing financial stress after a fatal accident, particularly if your lost loved one’s income provided financial support to the household. Your family should not have to endure financial hardship due to someone else’s negligence.
A personal injury attorney at Herrman & Herrman will represent you on a contingency fee basis. That allows you to obtain high-quality legal representation without having to pay money upfront.
Lawyer Fees for Wrongful Death Case
You will not have to pay a legal fee unless we are successful in obtaining a settlement or a jury verdict on your behalf. It is our way of putting your family’s interests first. If we do obtain money for you, then we receive an agreed portion of the settlement as payment for our legal services and expenses. Our attorneys at Herrman & Herrman are skilled negotiators. Most of the cases we handle are settled out of court, avoiding the stress and uncertainty of a trial.
Wrongful Death Case: Don’t Forget These Four Things
Four Items You Should Include in a Wrongful Death Case
When another driver is negligent in a way that leads to your family member’s death, you can and should consider options to ensure that the person at fault for the accident is held to account for his or her negligence. Under Texas law, you may have a viable wrongful death action to recover for damages if the person you are suing caused your loved one’s death through “the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
Texas law also allows spouses, parents, and children of the deceased to file a claim – with one individual bringing the suit or several surviving families acting in concert. If no family members pursue a case within 3 months and no survivors expressly indicate a desire to forgo a lawsuit, then the deceased’s executor can do so.
If you do decide that you must pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, however, it is important to ensure that you include these four items in your case:
Post-Accident Medical Expenses
If your loved one survived the accident only to later die in the hospital as a result of injuries suffered in the crash, then there may be medical bills that need to be paid. Legally, you can recover those medical expenses in the form of damages if the responsible party can be held to account through a lawsuit. That ensures that the costs for medical care are not left to the deceased’s family to pay – either directly or through the loss of some portion of their inheritance.
Loss of Wage Support
If your loved one’s loss has caused a loss of family income that you rely on for support, that can leave your entire family suffering from a reduced standard of living. The law recognizes that you may have a right to receive compensation for that loss of wage support to ensure that you and other surviving family members are not left without the financial support you need. In addition, an award can include an estimation of the deceased’s future savings and amassed wealth to compensate family members for their lost inheritance.
Pain and Suffering
The loss of a loved one causes emotional pain and suffering that can last for many years. While it is impossible to ever compensate such pain with monetary awards, compensation can still be won through the legal process.
Funerals can be extremely expensive, costing thousands of dollars in many cases. Unless the deceased had already arranged for his or her own funeral prior to the accident and paid for any costs associated with the showing and burial, the family will often have to make accommodations to pay for everything. Because the at-fault driver was responsible for the deceased’s death, funeral expenses can often be recovered during a wrongful death action.
Texas law also allows for possible exemplary damages – often referred to in other areas of the country as so-called punitive damages. These types of damage awards are typically included when there is a need to punish those at fault for a negligent death. The damages not only have a punitive effect on the offender but also serve as a deterrent to others in society.
It is also important to note that an automobile wrongful death case can still be filed even in instances where the state has levied criminal charges against the person responsible for your loved one’s death. In such instances, many families wait until the criminal case is complete before proceeding with their own lawsuit.
Of course, it can be difficult for non-lawyers to understand all of the details governing who can bring a wrongful death suit and what damages can be pursued. To avoid errors and maximize your odds of success, it is always advisable to retain competent counsel for these types of serious legal concerns.
Danger on the Road
Tragically, the loss of our loved ones to accidents on the road is something that happens all too frequently. In 2014, 32,675 people across the United States perished in car and truck crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that a National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey determined that human factors were at fault in roughly 94% of those fatal crashes. Factors like environmental issues and equipment concerns were found to be at fault in most of the remaining incidents.
Those human factors take on a variety of forms, but the most common appears to be some type of distracted driving. The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study that concluded that drivers were distracted prior to accidents in roughly two-thirds of the crashes examined by researchers. These distractions included everything from cell phones to dashboard touchscreens and other activities in the vehicle. Of course, many of these distractions are exacerbated by factors like speeding, and aggressive driving that increase the risk of accidents occurring.
Among the other one-third of fatal crashes, fully 31% of incidents in 2014 involved at least one driver operating under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drunk drivers kill someone in the United States at an average rate of one every fifty-three minutes.
If you’ve lost a loved one to an automobile accident and want to consider a wrongful death lawsuit, contact an experienced attorney today.
Contact Our Attorney For A Free Review Of Your Wrongful Death Case
If you have lost a loved one in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Brownsville, or elsewhere in Texas as a result of the negligence of another individual or business, call the wrongful death attorneys at Herrman & Herrman P.L.L.C. to discuss the way to move forward. We handle wrongful death cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, slip and fall accidents, and other acts of negligence.
Our law firm has extensive experience in personal injury law, having handled more than 20,000 cases. We have office locations in Ft. Worth, Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, San Antonio, and Houston. Herrman & Herrman has Spanish-speaking and English-speaking staff so you can discuss your legal matter in the language that you feel most comfortable speaking.
What is a wrongful death claim?
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in texas?
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving child
- Surviving parent
- Personal representative of the deceased's estate
Unsafe or defective product
What to do if you feel a loved one was a victim of a wrongful death:
- Contact an attorney with expertise in Wrongful Death litigation to evaluate your case
- If you choose an attorney to help, the attorney will:
- Determine the At-Fault party or parties
- Investigate and gather evidence to support a wrongful death claim
- After all data is collected, attempt a swift and beneficial resolution through negotiations
- If amicable resolution is not attained, file a Petition for Wrongful Death in the appropriate civil venue against all at-fault parties.