A car accident has the potential to cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries. If your loved one was killed in a collision, you may be left wondering what happens when a car accident causes a wrongful death.
Your family is suffering, and you deserve help for the financial and emotional burden that your loved one’s unexpected death created. In all that we do, the lawyers at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm strive to provide unrivaled legal representation with the care and dignity that every case deserves.
If you have any questions left unanswered after reading about what happens after a car accident causes a wrongful death, or have additional concerns about your wrongful death case, do not hesitate to contact our Houston, TX law office to schedule a free case evaluation.
Types of Car Accidents That May Cause a Wrongful Death
Any type of severe collision between two vehicles may result in sufficient force to cause fatal injuries. The following are some of the most common types of car accidents that result in vehicle occupant deaths:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone, side-impact, or broadside collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Merging collisions
Even a seemingly minor car accident may cause fatalities if vehicle occupants have certain health conditions, are in poor physical health, or suffer serious injuries to their head, neck, or spine. The driver who caused the fatal accident can still be held responsible for a wrongful death even if the victim had a pre-existing condition, as their death would have otherwise not occurred had it not been for the negligent or reckless actions of the at-fault party.
The Immediate Aftermath of a Fatal Car Accident
The period of time immediately following a fatal car accident can be confusing, overwhelming, and disorienting. Families begin to feel the impact of a loved one’s wrongful death immediately, and may deal with:
- Financial struggles from lost wages and funeral expenses
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Overwhelming grief
- Medical bills incurred from attempts at life-saving medical care
- Auto repair bills
- Loss of companionship
The above damages can be split into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the financial losses your family has suffered because of a death, such as missed paychecks and the cost of a funeral. Non-economic damages refer to non-financial losses that, although they do not have a direct financial value, still deeply affected your life.
When a person is unjustly killed in a car accident, that death is felt by their family, friends, and everyone in their community.
When To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A statute of limitations is the period of time you have to bring forth a legal action. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of a person’s death. This means that your family has a relatively small window of time to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Although you may file a wrongful death lawsuit any time within this two-year period, the attorneys at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm generally advise families to take action sooner rather than later. Building a strong wrongful death case can take time, and the longer you wait to file, the less time your attorney will have to:
- Investigate your loved one’s death
- Collect evidence
- Evaluate and value the worth of your claim
- Hire and work with experts, including medical professionals and crash reconstruction experts
- Negotiate with the insurance company to avoid going to trial
It is important to acknowledge the significant emotional impact of an unexpected death when discussing when to file a lawsuit. Many families feel unsure of which course of action to take, and may even feel as if there is no right answer to their situation.
Our wrongful death attorneys approach every meeting with those mourning the loss of a loved one with the understanding that these families are still in the grieving process. We never push families to do anything they are not ready for, but will always stress the importance of advocating for justice on behalf of their loved one.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case in Texas
To secure compensation via a wrongful death claim, you must successfully prove the following elements:
- That the at-fault driver owed your loved one a duty of care. Every driver in Texas has a duty of care to follow all traffic laws and drive in a way that respects the safety of those they share the road with.
- That the at-fault driver breached their duty of care to your loved one. This may have been because they were speeding, texting, driving drunk, or otherwise acting recklessly behind the wheel.
- That the breach of duty caused your loved one’s death.
- That your loved one’s death resulted in damages and losses, such as lost financial support or mental anguish.
Even if the above elements seem obvious to you, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will do everything within its power to downplay liability, minimize your settlement, or deny compensation altogether. You must exercise caution when speaking with an insurance adjuster or anyone from the insurance company, as your own words may be twisted and used against you.
The wrongful death lawyers at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm are well-versed in all the tricks and tactics the big insurance companies use to bully people out of the compensation they are rightfully owed.
What Will You Do After a Car Accident Causes a Wrongful Death?
Do you feel lost after your loved one’s fatal car accident, unsure of what to do next? We know just how difficult this period of time in your life is, and our law firm can provide compassionate and rigorous legal guidance as you decide how to move forward with your life.
If you’d like to discuss your legal options for a car accident that caused a wrongful death, Buckingham & Vega Law Firm is here for you. We provide free consultations during which you can sit down with an actual attorney to ask questions and decide how to move forward. Scheduling a case evaluation never costs anything and does not create any obligation to continue working with our law firm.