One recent night, a serious three-car accident on the south side of San Antonio claimed the life of one person. A 33-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, about 30 minutes after the impact when his Dodge Challenger was T-boned by two cars in succession after he tried to cross Texas 16, near Mission Gate. The Challenger’s driver-side door was crushed, and the man had to be cut free before law enforcement could assess his injuries properly. While San Antonio police stated that no criminal charges are pending for either of the drivers who T-boned the man’s car, this does not mean that the man’s family may not choose to file suit against either (or both) drivers for wrongful death. If you lose a loved one in a similar accident, your options may seem very similar to the man’s family’s.
Two Types of Cases
Texas has two types of wrongful death-related actions. A standard wrongful death action is brought on behalf of the surviving family, seeking damages on the family’s behalf for injuries they have sustained since the deceased person’s passing. The surviving family can file, or the estate can file on the family’s behalf, seeking compensation for harm like funeral and medical expenses, loss of the deceased’s love and companionship, and the loss of support and services.
The other type of case is called a survival action, and it is brought to preserve a cause of action that a person might have had before their death. In other words, a survival action is a suit brought on behalf of the injured person (and their estate), trying to recover for damages that the person would have been able to recover had they survived the incident. For example, if the deceased man had survived his accident, he would likely have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence – sadly, he did not, but his estate can file a survival action alleging the same things.
Can We Make Both Claims?
If you have lost a loved one and choose to file a wrongful death action, you must prove that the defendant’s “wrongful act, neglect, [or] carelessness” played a critical role in your loved one’s passing and that no other intervening cause occurred. You must also establish that the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the plaintiff (and anyone else in their class – for example, all motorists or all customers at a business) and that the defendant failed to exercise that care, thus breaching their duty.
Be advised that while most tragedies like this man’s passing wind up in a wrongful death claim, there are situations in which both wrongful death and survival claims are appropriate to make. A common example is an accident in which the deceased person suffered before their passing – someone trapped in a car while injured is suffering enough that someone may be able to file on their behalf for the pain and suffering they went through. That said, know that you only have two years to file your claim; because memories decay so readily over time, it is crucial to act fast.
Contact a New Braunfels Wrongful Death Attorney
It is crucial when you lose a loved one to try and permit yourself to grieve appropriately. Whether wrongful death or survival action, you also have the right to file for wrongful death or file a survival action, if you believe that doing so is appropriate. Contact our skilled New Braunfels wrongful death attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm for dedicated and understanding representation, so that we can help your family get on the path to recovery. Call our office today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.