The reckless party responsible for your loved one’s death in a car accident should be held liable. Nothing can bring them back, but a wrongful death lawsuit can provide you with financial compensation that makes the economic loss of your loved one easier to bear.
A compassionate Arlington personal injury lawyer at the Patterson Law Group can help you during this challenging time. An insurance company is a daunting opponent with one goal in mind: protecting its profit margins. However, we’re here to level the playing field and fight for your rights. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Arlington Fatal Car Accident Statistics
In 2021, Texas had the highest number of fatal car accidents nationwide, with 4,068 fatalities. The city’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan to curb motor vehicle accidents was implemented in 2021. It aims to track the severity of crashes and the factors involved, e.g., speed, alcohol, and whether a pedestrian or bicyclist was injured. Yet, another 61 serious crashes occurred.
Fatal Car Accident Causes
Common causes of fatal car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to stop at a traffic signal or stop sign
- Failure to yield
- Reckless driving
In Texas, a defensive approach is essential. Stay aware at all times, and expect there are going to be motorists who violate the laws by electing to drive unsafely.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death occurs in Texas when someone dies due to another party’s recklessness or negligence. Had the injured person lived, they could have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. Under the Texas Wrongful Death Act, the spouse, children, or parents can bring a wrongful death claim. If, after three months, they do not, the deceased’s estate may bring a claim on their behalf.
What is a survival action?
A survival action differs from a wrongful death claim in that it focuses on a claim the deceased could have filed if they survived the car crash. Either the deceased’s estate or their survivors can bring a survival claim. It is possible to file a survival action when a person is severely injured, which begins as a personal injury lawsuit. Once the plaintiff dies, their lawsuit becomes a survival action.
Many families can file both a wrongful death and survival action, depending on the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s death.
Statute of Limitations for Fatal Car Accidents in Texas
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas is two years from the date of the victim’s demise. Under limited circumstances, the statute of limitations may be extended. In most cases, not filing a lawsuit within that timeframe means it will not be considered.
For a survival action, the statute of limitations is also two years. However, the statute of limitations may be tolled or paused for up to one year. That tolling allows time for the decedent’s estate to be established and for the court to appoint a personal representative.
Proving Liability in Fatal Car Accidents
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that the defendant’s actions or lack of action caused your family member’s death. All drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws and drive in a manner that does not place others on the roadway in harm’s way. Proving liability means proving the defendant breached that duty.
A fatal car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the case and determine which parties may be liable. Besides the negligent driver, these parties may include the car’s manufacturer or a repair facility if the crash resulted from vehicle malfunction. If a traffic signal failure or poor road conditions contributed to the crash, the government entity responsible for maintenance may prove liable.
The investigation includes reviewing police and medical reports, interviewing eyewitnesses, and locating surveillance video of the crash. In some cases, accident reconstruction experts are called in to show how the collision occurred.
Compensation and Damages in Fatal Car Accidents
Damages, or compensation, in fatal car accidents, vary depending on whether the claim involves a wrongful death or survival action. The former focuses on the family’s economic and emotional losses. For the latter, compensation is based on injuries the deceased suffered before they died.
Damages for wrongful death cases include:
- Loss of support
- Loss of counsel
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of future inheritance
- Emotional and mental anguish
Damages for survival actions in fatal car accidents in Texas include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses for care before death
- Property damage
- Lost income due to injuries before death
- Pain and suffering
Contact us at Patterson Law Group for a Free Consultation
If your family member died in a car accident due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, you need the services of a skilled and dedicated car accident lawyer at the Patterson Law Group. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to discuss your claim. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no legal fee unless you receive compensation.