Recently, a bicyclist was struck by a car near the intersection of Ben White Boulevard and Interstate Highway 35, sustaining “critical, life-threatening injuries” that later caused his passing in a nearby hospital. While law enforcement did not disclose details of the accident, implying that no criminal charges are pending for the driver, the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit may still be on the proverbial table. A civil wrongful death suit will not, obviously, bring back a lost loved one, but it can help provide some financial stability while you and your family try to get back on your feet if you experience this type of tragic event.
Not every death is wrongful, even if it occurs in an accident. Sometimes they simply happen, unfair as it may seem. However, if you believe that your loved one’s death occurred due to someone else’s careless or negligent conduct, filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court can be a way to try and at least get some closure. Texas law holds that a person can be found liable for someone’s passing, and the damages incurred from it if the death happened due to that person’s (or their agent’s) “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
Be advised that only certain members of the decedent’s family, or the personal representative of their estate in some situations, may file a wrongful death suit in Texas. Generally, spouses, parents, and children by blood or completed adoption are the only survivors who are able to file – others like siblings or cousins are considered, rightly or wrongly, to have too remote a relationship to the deceased to be affected enough to warrant a filing.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Generally, in a lawsuit, the injured plaintiff wants to recover damages to make them whole after being harmed. In a wrongful death case, one injured plaintiff cannot technically recover any damages (the deceased) – but death does not happen in a vacuum. The family members left behind after their loved one’s passing suffer very real and tangible harm – grief affects the mental well-being of an individual, which can even trigger physical symptoms in some cases. In addition, the loss of the decedent’s earnings can spell real financial problems for the family.
Texas allows recovery of damages for the harm that the family has suffered – for example, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering/mental anguish, lost inheritance, and loss of consortium or support are all very common claims in wrongful death cases. These are difficult to quantify, but you are entitled to try and seek recovery for all of the harms you suffered, not just some. As long as you file your suit within the statute of limitations (two years), you have a chance at ensuring that you have some measure of stability while you and your loved ones try to heal.
Contact a New Braunfels Wrongful Death Attorney
While no information is available regarding the intent of the Ben White Boulevard bicyclist’s family, it is still important that you have an idea of your options should you lose a loved one so suddenly and tragically. The skilled New Braunfels wrongful death attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm will work to provide you dedicated and compassionate representation at a very difficult time. Contact our office today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.