Recently, an accident at Loop 1604 and Pue Road left one person dead after a car veered into oncoming traffic. The impact caused one car to roll over, and the other to wind up far off the road, leaving the driver who veered into traffic trapped in their vehicle, and the second driver dead at the scene. While as of this writing, no information exists on whether or not the driver’s family intends to seek redress for their loved one’s wrongful death, if they decide to do so, they may be able to recover from the first driver. If you lose someone in a similar accident, know that while money will not bring back your loved one or family member, it can help keep your family afloat while you adjust.
Two Types of Suits
Technically, there are two types of wrongful death lawsuits under Texas law, though a bereaved family generally only pursues one. A standard wrongful death suit seeks damages for the loss of a loved one due to another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” It is brought by the estate’s personal representative on behalf of the surviving family (parents, spouses, and children), and seeks to recover damages like lost earning capacity, loss of support and services, mental pain and suffering, and potentially lost inheritance.
A survival action, by comparison, is brought by the deceased’s personal representative on behalf of the estate, and it seeks to recover for damages that the deceased person potentially sustained before their passing – for example, for medical bills or lost wages – instead of damages for the family. Which type of suit is best in your situation is dependent on the specific nature of your case, but in most situations, a court will not allow both types to move forward.
In order to establish that someone else’s negligence played a role in the passing of your loved one, you must establish four things: that the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the plaintiff; that the defendant breached that duty by not exercising reasonable care; that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of your injuries; and that you suffered tangible harm. In auto accident cases, Texas courts will generally hold that every motorist has a duty to exercise due care toward every other motorist, but the remaining points must be proven individually.
Keep in mind that wrongful death cases in Texas must be brought within two years of the person’s passing, whether they die at the scene of an accident or expire later from the injuries they sustain. The statute of limitations ensures that evidence and witness statements are more likely to be available to the court than if cases were allowed to be brought later on – memories, of course, become less reliable over time.
Call a New Braunfels Wrongful Death Attorney
Auto accidents can take someone’s life in an instant, and family left behind have to contend with the shock and grief in addition to pursuing any legal action they choose to mount. If you have lost someone due to the negligence of another person, the skilled New Braunfels wrongful death attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can try to help you obtain the financial help you need to stay on your feet while you adjust to a new reality. Call our offices today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.