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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerA serious crash on I-35 N on the night of April 28 has claimed the life of one person. An 18-year-old woman was pronounced dead at University Hospital after the Toyota Yaris she was in was struck from behind by a GMC Sierra, which then caused her car to crash into a Dodge Durango. The driver and other passenger in the Yaris remain at University Hospital in critical condition, though the occupants of the Sierra and Durango escaped injury. While the driver of the Sierra will not face charges as of this writing and did stop to render aid, it is still plausible that the family of the deceased may seek to bring a wrongful death suit against the driver of the Sierra to recover medical bills and funeral expenses.

Wrongful Death Law Is Specific in Texas

Texas’ wrongful death statute sets out very specific requirements and facts that must be met in order to be able to file a wrongful death suit. Perhaps most notably, it stipulates the family members who are permitted to file suit - spouses, parents, and children, both minor and adult. Other family, such as siblings, aunts or uncles, are deemed to have had too remote a family relationship, rightly or wrongly. It also states that certain conduct is excepted from the statute; most notably, the right of action for wrongful death does not apply to an unborn child except in the rarest circumstances.

There are two types of wrongful death suits, but only one may be brought by the family. A survival action is a type of wrongful death case, but in Texas, it refers to a cause of action that the deceased had mounted before their passing. For example, if the deceased person had been suing someone over a property dispute, that action would survive under the personal representative of that person’s estate. But only the personal representative has the authority to maintain such an action.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerAn early morning crash near the intersection of Hwy 290 and RM 1826 killed one person after an SUV failed to obey posted signs and turned left into traffic. The SUV was exiting a private drive, and while only right turns are permissible from that driveway, the SUV driver turned left, cutting across several lanes. Another driver, in a silver sedan, swerved to avoid a collision with the SUV but wound up being struck again. The sedan driver was killed at the scene, and while the SUV driver was cited (a misdemeanor), it is not implausible that the family of the sedan driver might want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, given that but for the SUV driver’s negligence, their loved one might still be alive.

Wrongful Death in Texas

Wrongful death is a cause of action under civil law (as opposed to criminal law; wrongful death is not a crime). In a wrongful death lawsuit, a deceased person’s loved ones are seeking to hold the defendant liable for their role in causing that person’s death and may receive money damages if they are successful. Texas law states that a person should be liable for damages if that person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” caused an injury that led to the death of the deceased.

Wrongful death cases are decided based on a legal theory of negligence, meaning that to prevail, a plaintiff has to show three things. They must show that the defendant breached the duty to exercise reasonable care in their actions, they must show that they suffered harm because of that failure and that there was no other cause for their injuries - that the defendant’s conduct was the sole reason for them happening. This is not always easy to establish, especially in multi-car accidents, but it is far from impossible.

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TX injury lawyerOn the night of August 10, a serious vehicle crash on San Antonio’s far west side killed one and sent four to the hospital with life-threatening and critical injuries. A young woman was arrested and later charged with intoxication manslaughter and assault, but there have also been unsubstantiated rumors that the family of the deceased may file a wrongful death suit against her. If you are unfortunate enough to lose a loved one in a car crash, it is important to understand your options in terms of seeking compensation for your loss.

Two Types of Wrongful Death

Under Texas law, there are two types of wrongful death lawsuits, though only one type may generally be brought in any one case. A standard wrongful death action, alleging negligence and seeking compensation for a defendant’s conduct in causing the death, can be brought only by certain specific family members of the deceased person - in all but the rarest exceptions, the spouse, parents, and children are the only ones who can bring suit. This does exclude siblings and other family members, which can be unfair, but the state’s rationale is that restricting the ability to bring suit to immediate family can help minimize opportunism (that is, bringing suit on behalf of a relative who played no role in that person’s life and whose passing did not truly injure the person).

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With almost any case that can be brought before a court of law, there is a statute of limitations that is implemented. A statute of limitations is a time limit during which legal action can be taken after a crime occurs. The statute of limitations is set by the state of Texas legislature and serves a dual purpose. The first purpose is that it gives the plaintiff enough time to make the decision if they really want to file a suit. The second purpose is that it protects the defendant from being able to be sued for an indefinite amount of time. So how does this statute of limitations affect your case? TheresaIn the state of Texas, the statute of limitations for car accidents is two years. That means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file and settle a suit for personal or property damage in a court of law. This statute does not apply to the filing of an insurance claim, however. Most insurance companies require that you file your accident claim within 30 days of the accident. (Check with your insurance provider for details) Many accidents end up being settled and do not end up going in front of a judge. However, settlements can take time. There is one exception in particular, if you are filing a claim against a government employee or agency, you will only have up to 90 days to file your claim. There are many different parts of the law that can make determining whether you have the basis to sue for compensation due to an accident complicated. You do not have to go through this alone. A knowledgeable and experienced Texas accident attorney can help you with any questions that you may have. Your Texas car accident attorney can assess the evidence and the facts of the case to let you know what the best course of action will be in your case and if you may be eligible for a financial award.

The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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