Just as a car inched into the intersection after the light turned green, the vehicle was suddenly broadsided by an oncoming SUV that had run the red light. What legal recourse does a family have in these situations?
San Antonio police state that a Honda Civic was traveling eastbound on Highway 151 at the Loop 1604 intersection, when it was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban. First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to free the car’s occupants; one person was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was rushed to University Hospital in critical condition.
This location is known as one of The Alamo City’s most dangerous intersections.
When a friend or loved one dies suddenly in a car crash or is otherwise killed due to the negligence of another party, Chapter 71 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code is the controlling law.
The surviving biological or adopted relatives, except for brothers and sisters, may file a claim for wrongful death. If the surviving relatives are all under 18, their legal guardians may file on their behalf. Like most other tort claims, there is a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death actions.
The plaintiffs may demand compensation for both economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Lost Earning Capacity: An attorney often partners with a financial professional to accurately predict a person’s future career arc and potential earning ability. Income taxes are typically not factored in to this calculation.
- Medical Bills: The plaintiffs can recover any expenses associated with the decedent’s final illness. Funeral and burial expenses also fall into this category.
- Mental Anguish: This element represents the survivor’s sorrow over the death of a loved one, as opposed to the deceased person’s pain and suffering.
- Lost Inheritance: This amount includes the decedents’ likely savings had they lived to a normal age.
Exemplary damages, or punitive damages, are also available, if the plaintiffs prove that there was willfulness or gross negligence on behalf of the defendant. The court divides the total award among the survivors, typically based on their emotional attachment to the decedent.
No amount of money can restore the emotional loss in car crash cases, but a monetary award can assuage the negative feelings and provide a measure of financial security to the family. For a free consultation in this matter, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury lawyer.