An accident that resulted in the death of your loved one is a moment you will never forget. Whether you were involved in the accident yourself or received the dreaded phone call, your life changed forever at that moment. You are likely facing struggles you never imagined, physically, emotionally and financially.
What makes the situation even more difficult to cope with is that the death of your loved one was senseless and preventable were it not for the reckless or negligent acts of someone else. Whether your loved one's fatal injuries resulted from a motor vehicle accident, a dangerous property or another act of negligence, you feel the injustice and loss in every aspect of your life. In such situations, you may be qualified to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.
When is it appropriate to file a claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit brings the circumstances of your loved one's death to the civil court to determine if you deserve remuneration. It is not an easy type of lawsuit to win, and the burden is on you and your family to prove how deeply the loss of your loved one has affected your life. The following must be facts in your case:
- The other party caused the death of your loved one through a careless, reckless or intentional act, and not by any action on your loved one's part.
- You and your family have suffered because of your loved one's death, and you can place a monetary value on that suffering.
- You are the spouse, parent or child of the deceased.
The last point is Texas law, and other states may allow extended family to bring such a claim to court.
What damages can I collect?
Any monetary award is meant to compensate you for the medical bills your loved one incurred following the accident, as well as funeral expenses. However, the court may also award you compensation for the wages your loved one would have supplied for your family, the pain and suffering your family now faces, and the loss of support and guidance your loved one provided for you.
In some cases, you may also qualify for punitive damages, which is similar to a fine as punishment for the actions that caused the accident. It may be difficult to consider bringing such a case to court while you are still struggling with the grief you feel. However, you have a limited amount of time following the accident to file your claim. With the help of the right attorney, you can attend to the needs of your family while your advocate handles the legal action for you.