Losing a loved one in a car accident is an unspeakable tragedy. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Under Texas Law?
According to Texas law, a wrongful death lawsuit is a claim that an individual files when a loved one dies from another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” It allows family members to hold wrongdoers responsible and receive the compensation they deserve when their loved one dies because of another’s negligence or wrongful act. A wrongful death claim is a civil suit and can be filed regardless of whether the defendant is criminally charged.
Car accidents are among the most common causes of wrongful death suits in Sugar Land. Per the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 4,489 people killed in car accidents in 2021. Many of these deaths were the result of another driver’s negligence or wrongful act. Drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding are all examples of negligence that could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit in Sugar Land?
An personal injury attorney can put together the lawsuit for filing. In the Sugar Land area, Adam Capetillo. is an experienced attorney with the knowledge and ability to prepare such a suit.
Only certain individuals can file wrongful death lawsuits in Texas, including:
• Surviving spouses;
• Children (adult or minor); and
• The parents of the decedent.
The above individuals can file a wrongful death suit alone or together as a group.
If the surviving spouse, children, or parents do not file a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the death, the executor or personal representative of the decedent’s estate may do so. However, their claim will be dismissed if all the surviving beneficiaries of the estate object to the lawsuit.
The following list of people do not qualify as surviving family members eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas:
• Cousins; and
• Romantic partners.
If you have questions about whether you have standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Sugar Land, Attorney Capetillo. He can inform you whether you qualify as a surviving family member under Texas’ wrongful death statute.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are four elements that you must prove to win a wrongful death lawsuit in Sugar Land.
1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased party.
2. The defendant breached their duty of care.
3. The defendant’s breach of duty caused the death.
4. You (a surviving family member) suffered monetary damages.
What Damages are Available in Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit in Sugar Land?
The purpose of wrongful death damages after a fatal car accident is to compensate the victim’s family for the costs arising from the death. The damages you will receive are decided by a jury and will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Compensation that you may be entitled to in a Texas wrongful death car accident lawsuit includes:
• Funeral expenses;
• Burial expenses;
• Loss of the deceased’s wages;
• Emotional distress;
• Loss of financial support;
• Inheritance loss;
• Mental health treatment costs; and
• Loss of household services.
Some damages, such as emotional distress and loss of household services, are difficult to prove. To receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to, it is critical to work with a qualified personal injury attorney like Adam Capetillo.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit in Sugar Land?
Typically, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of death. However, there are limited exceptions where the two-year statute of limitations could be extended, including:
• The individual bringing the suit is a minor child;
• The negligence of the defendants was not known during the two-year period;
• A mental or physical impairment of the plaintiff prevented filing during the two-year period; and
If you fail to file your wrongful death claim within the statute of limitations, your case will be dismissed, and you will not be able to receive any compensation. Therefore, it is critical to reaching out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Your Sugar Land Car Accident Attorney
If you have questions about wrongful death lawsuits as a result of a car accident, you should reach out to qualified Sugar Land attorney Adam Capetillo as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a local attorney who will protect your rights and get you the maximum compensation available. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.