A four-year-old girl was killed in a crash involving four vehicles on I-35W on January 24th. The collision occurred around 7:45 a.m. and Burleson, Texas, police and fire responded. The accident is under investigation but it is believed that a Ford SUV struck the rear end of the Honda sedan carrying two toddlers. The Honda then collided with a Chevy truck, which in turn hit a Chevy SUV. The driver of the Honda was injured and taken to the hospital. There were no other reported fatalities or injuries. The death of the young girl raises the issue of a potential wrongful death claim. In Texas, parents can sue the at-fault driver for compensation for their daughter’s death. For more information on wrongful death claims, contact a personal injury attorney at our firm right away.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit seeking compensation for the death of an individual caused by another person or entity’s negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. This type of claim does not always exist after a death. It is only available if the individual who died would have had a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
If you are unsure whether you have the right to file a wrongful death claim in Texas, contact us today.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim for a Child?
Section 71.004 of Texas’ wrongful death statute determines who may bring a claim based on wrongful death. In general, surviving spouses, children, and parents can file this type of suit. For a young child, only the parents are entitled to wrongful death compensation. This includes both biological and adoptive parents, but not foster or step-parents.
It is unfortunate, but grandparents and siblings cannot bring wrongful death claims. However, grandparents who have legally adopted their grandchildren may be able to as the legal parent.
When Must the Parents File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations in Texas for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the individual’s death.
What Can Parents Receive in Compensation?
Parents are entitled to seek compensation for the injury of losing their child. They can seek actual damages, which include:
- Financial losses, such as the child’s potential earning capacity or value of care or support;
- Mental anguish, which is extraordinary emotional suffering due to the death; and
- The loss of positive benefits, such as companionship.
It may be difficult to prove the financial damages associated with losing a child. However, an experienced Texas wrongful death attorney can explain your rights and how to best make these calculations.
If the wrongful death action is based on the other party’s gross negligence or intentional act, then the parents may also be able to recover exemplary damages. These are sometimes called punitive damages. They are meant to punish the wrongdoer, not compensate the parents.
Call a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Most individuals think of wrongful death suits for adults, particularly one spouse suing for the death of their husband or wife. However, children can sue for the loss of their parent and parents can sue for the loss of a child as well. If you lost your son or daughter in an accident caused by someone else, do not hesitate to learn more about wrongful death claims by contacting a passionate New Braunfels wrongful death attorney at our firm. You may decide it is not the right path for you. You may also learn it is the right move for you and your family.