Recently, a Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) deputy was killed in a traffic accident while on duty. An Infiniti traveling westbound on FM 2244 veered into his eastbound lane, causing him to roll off the road and land on its roof. The deputy was pinned inside, expiring from his injuries at the scene. The other driver was hospitalized with “serious but not life-threatening” injuries. While the accident is still being investigated, it appears that the deputy lost his life due to the wrongful action of the Infiniti driver, which would open them up to potential liability for wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one in a similar situation, understand that you do have options if you choose to seek compensation for your loved one’s passing.
Texas Wrongful Death Law
Wrongful death is a death that should not have occurred but for the “wrongful act, negligence, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person. Texas law states that if that person’s conduct can be proven, and that it can be shown that no other intervening cause played a role, then that person is liable for damages. Only specific family members can file a wrongful death suit in Texas; usually, a surviving spouse, parents, or children.
There are two types of wrongful death lawsuits in Texas. One is a standard wrongful death claim, where family members of the deceased person file a lawsuit against the person whose wrongful conduct allegedly caused the decedent’s passing, seeking damages for causes of action like lost wages, lost companionship, and mental pain and suffering. The other type is called a survival action, which is brought by heirs or the estate, to try and recover for claims that the deceased person would have been able to bring themselves, had they survived the incident in question.
Timing Is Everything
While every potential wrongful death suit is different, there are certain details that one should be aware of before determining whether or not to file suit. One important fact in Texas is that you do not have to choose between bringing a survival action and a wrongful death suit (if your loved one would have had claims to bring had they lived). Depending on the specific situation, you may be able to file both claims simultaneously or sequentially; a good attorney can help advise you on how best to proceed.
It is also important to keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations, meaning that there is a specific amount of time in which you are able to bring a wrongful death suit. In Texas, a wrongful death suit must be brought within two years of your loved one’s death. This is an important distinction because in many states, the time limit to follow suit begins to tick down within two years of the accident. While often, the two events are the same, this is not always true – for example, if someone is injured but does not pass away until weeks or months afterward.
Contact a New Braunfels Wrongful Death Attorney
While the family of the deputy does not appear to have any intent to file for wrongful death, your family may feel differently if you lose a loved one in a similar crash. The dedicated New Braunfels wrongful death attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm will help you determine what the best course of action for your family is, at a time when doing anything but mourning can feel overwhelming. We are privileged to provide compassionate and dedicated representation. Contact us today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.