Austin Wrongful Death Lawyer
If your relative has recently died and you’re interested in filing a wrongful death claim to recover the costs associated with their death, reach out to an experienced Austin wrongful death attorney today.
The loss of a loved one is a devastating tragedy under any circumstances—easily one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through. However, it’s even more heart-wrenching when your loved one’s death was caused by the negligence and wrongdoing of another.
Coping with the emotional pain following a loved one’s death seems unbearable, and the last thing you should have to be concerned about is the financial strain that can accompany the aftermath.
Although no amount of money can make up for the death of your loved one, an Austin wrongful death lawyer from the Colley Firm, PC can help secure the compensation you deserve to forge ahead with your family’s future. Don’t hesitate to give our team a call.
Causes of Wrongful Death in Texas
Wrongful death claims seek to recover damages for surviving family members. There are many types of accidents that can cause the wrongful death of another, including any of the following:
- Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents – Motor vehicle crashes are easily one of the most common sources of both personal injuries and wrongful deaths. If a negligent driver took your loved one too soon, you can file a wrongful death claim.
- Pedestrian Accidents – Motor vehicles can weigh multiple tons and move at high speeds. As a result, crash victims who are on foot are at high risk of death during the impact and from subsequent injuries.
- Oilfield Accidents – Whether from a sudden fire or an equipment failure, oilfield accidents can often result in fatalities. Any fatal accident in an industrial workplace can warrant an Austin wrongful death claim under the right circumstances.
- Premises Liability Accidents – Property owners have a duty of care to provide for their visitors, potentially making them responsible for a death that occurs on their grounds. This includes both commercial and private property owners, as well as landlords.
- Construction Accidents – From electrocution to falling objects, construction sites present workers with a number of dangers every day, some of which are fatal. Families of deceased construction workers might be entitled to wrongful death compensation.
- Medical Malpractice – If a doctor or other healthcare provider’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, the medical professional should absolutely compensate you. A wrongful death lawyer in Austin can help you stand up to powerful hospitals and healthcare providers.
- Defective Products – When a dangerous or defective product makes its way onto the market, the manufacturer is responsible for any injuries or deaths that occur. Defective products have been tied to everything from fatal car accidents to deadly house fires.
No matter which of the above categories your loved one’s death falls under, you deserve a compassionate wrongful death attorney in Austin who will aggressively pursue compensation from the negligent party responsible for your loved one’s death. Your family needs to begin the healing process, and that starts with securing your financial wellbeing.
Criminal Claims and Civil Suits
When a loved one passes away because of someone else’s actions, you might be facing a homicide case, not just a simple accident. In some cases, the other person might have been criminally negligent anyway. A simple accident might be one thing, but some scenarios could also be criminal cases. This can affect your wrongful death claim.
The criminal aspect of your claim can mean that the process will take longer. Before your civil claim can be settled, you must wait for the verdict of the criminal trial before proceeding. During this time, you might be called to testify as a witness, or you might simply work with your lawyer to build a strong case in your favor.
Although a criminal trial might give you peace of mind, you won’t receive compensation for it. A criminal case is strictly for determining whether the person is guilty of a crime and what punishment is fair for that crime. But, the verdict and evidence of a criminal trial can help you reach a positive outcome in your civil suit.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Texas?
When a loved one passes away, one of the first questions many families must ask is, “Who is eligible to file?” Wrongful death claims can be complex because the injured party is deceased and thus no longer able to file. To prevent complications and confusion, Texas law narrows down who is able to file for the loss of a loved one.
The deceased victim’s spouse, children, and parents may file for wrongful death in Texas. The law does allow for adopted children and stepchildren to file suit, as well. If these relations decline to file within three months of the death, then the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file instead.
Siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, or any other person who might have been related to the decedent will not be able to seek compensation, even if the deceased was providing financial support at the time of their death.
If you aren’t certain whether you’re eligible to file, an Austin wrongful death attorney from our firm can help you through the complexities of eligibility and the filing process itself.
Evidence Required in Wrongful Death Claims
If you decide to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit, the negligent party and any involved insurance companies won’t just take you at your word when you demand compensation. The other side and the court are going to need evidence.
The following evidence could help prove the negligence of the other party and why you deserve compensation:
- Photos and videos of your loved one’s injuries and the accident scene
- Documentation of all expenses tied to the death of your loved one
- Statements from witnesses who saw the accident that claimed your loved one’s life
When you’re grieving such an enormous loss, it can be overwhelming to compose yourself and track down all the evidence you’re going to need. That’s why so many people in your situation seek out the services of a wrongful death lawyer in Austin. Give us a call for the help you need.
Financial Damages for Wrongful Death
Determining damages in a wrongful death claim is complex because you simply cannot put a price tag on the worth of your loved one’s life. Certain damages will be more difficult for you and your family to determine, so you’ll need the tools and expertise a wrongful death attorney can provide.
For example, you might know how much the final medical bills are, as well as funeral and burial costs. These expenses can be extensive, but often, they come with a bill and are easy to calculate.
However, it’s difficult to put a price on the affection, companionship, and care a family member provides. For example, if you lost a parent, you’ve lost the guidance they could provide you through difficult times in your life. As such, you’ll need a lawyer’s tools and experience, which can help you determine the worth of these intangible losses to obtain the full compensation you deserve.
An Austin wrongful death lawyer experienced in these situations will know how to assess the value of your case and calculate a settlement that takes into account all of your damages, including the following:
- Medical expenses related to the accident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Projected loss of future income
- Projected future financial contributions, such as mortgage payments and tuition
- Loss of companionship and guidance
Family members who filed the suit, whether as one person or a suit filed as a group, can expect that the compensation they are awarded will be divided among them based on the extent of the impact the deceased’s death has had or is expected to have on their lives.
It’s important to note that, even if any criminal charges are cleared, the negligent person might still be found responsible for damages in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. We can help you with the legalities of your claim and fight to obtain the full compensation you and your family members need.
Filing for Punitive Damages
In the event that the person who caused the death of your loved one did so with malicious intent, the judge might determine that your Austin wrongful death claim warrants an award of exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. Not only will this increase your compensation substantially, but it will also punish the liable party in the hope of preventing similar fatal incidents in the future.
However, receiving punitive damages requires more evidence. First, Texas requires those seeking punitive damages to show that the responsible party caused the accident because they intended to harm or were grossly negligent. This evidence must go beyond the proof already provided for the wrongful death claim.
These damages are also capped by the state. Your punitive damages may only be twice the amount of your economic damages, as well as an amount equal to your non-economic damages or $200,000—whichever is greater. These caps can reduce the value of your claim, but a wrongful death attorney can help you get the maximum compensation you and your family need.
Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
It’s important to file your wrongful death claim as soon after the accident as possible. Texas law provides survivors with a two-year statute of limitations in which to file their lawsuit. Failure to do so will bar you from being able to recover compensation of any kind from the at-fault party.
Many families make the mistake of assuming this is plenty of time, but waiting can make it difficult to collect the necessary evidence and find witnesses. As a result, it is in your best interest to contact an Austin wrongful death attorney from our firm and begin the legal process immediately.
Speak with an Austin Wrongful Death Attorney
Nobody should have to experience the death of a loved one because of the negligent actions of another. If you have lost a close relative or family member due to the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else, an experienced and qualified lawyer from the Colley Firm, PC can help you recover the maximum compensation possible for your claim.
Call 1-877-411-2001 and speak to a compassionate Austin wrongful death lawyer to discuss how we can help you. Alternatively, you can reach us through our online contact form below. There is never an obligation to proceed, so there’s no risk involved for you—just an honest legal evaluation explaining all of your options.