In most states, the wrongful death claim belongs to the surviving spouse, children, and sometimes parents of the decedent. Likewise, in most states, a personal representative of the decedent must be appointed and the representative brings a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the death.
From what types of situations can a wrongful death claim arise?
Many types of factual situations can result in someone’s death because of the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another. Some types of conduct that can result in a wrongful death include medical malpractice, criminal acts, motor vehicle accidents, exposure to toxic chemicals, and death during a supervised activity. More information here: https://fordandlaurel.com/
What kinds of damages can I sue for?
Loss of love, society and support
Loss of future earnings
Loss of benefits, including pension and medical coverage
Loss of household services
Loss of inheritance
Loss of companionship or consortium
Possible punitive damages (to punish and deter wrongdoer from harming others)
If the death was caused by the injury, then the heirs of the decedent have a wrongful death claim against the person responsible for the injury and the death. If the death was not caused by the injury, in most cases, the personal injury claim survives the death and may be brought by the decedent’s personal representative.
How do judges and juries determine the dollar amount of economic loss to place on a person’s life?
How much money did the decedent earn?
How many more years would the decedent have worked?
What household services did the decedent provide?
How financially dependent were the plaintiffs on the decedent?
Keep in mind, compensate is available even if the decedent was not employed and not making any money at the time of death. Other services, such as household chores, loss of training, advice and nurturing of children are also considered and with the help of experts, monetary figures are placed on them. This monetary payment will allow the survivors to obtain substitute domestic services.
After the death, how much time do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
In Texas, the statute of limitations (time limit) for most wrongful death lawsuits is 2 years from the date of death. However, if the person bringing the wrongful death action is a minor, the 2 year period does not start until the minor is 18 years old. Additionally, special circumstances may extend or limit the statute of limitations including wrongful deaths resulting from exposure to asbestos or medical malpractice. Speak to a qualified attorney to determine the statute of limitations in your particular case.
Could I sue for wrongful death if the decedent’s death was the result of someone’s negligence?
Yes. Most wrongful death lawsuit are based on negligence. To prove negligence, the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must prove that the defendant had a duty to act a certain way, breached that duty, the breach caused the decedent’s death, and the death caused the plaintiff damages.
Yes. The government may charge the responsible party with murder and a court may ultimately convict the responsible party to punish them. This procedure takes place in criminal court. Filing and litigating a wrongful death lawsuit takes place in civil court where the plaintiff is asking for compensation for the loss of the decedent. It is possible for both procedures to occur or for one procedure to occur without the other.
Could I sue for wrongful death if the defendant was found “not guilty” in criminal court?
Yes. The burden of proof is lower in civil cases. In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime. In civil cases, the plaintiff has to prove that more likely than not, the defendant is responsible for the wrongful death. In other words, if the jury believes that there is more than a 50% probability that the defendant negligently caused the wrongful death, the plaintiff wins.
Do I have a wrongful death case for the death of a fetus?
There is a clear trend toward recognizing wrongful death actions for the deaths of unborn children. The old rule, set forth in 1884, held that the family of an unborn child who died because of another’s negligence did not have standing to sue for wrongful death. A clear majority of jurisdictions are moving away from this holding mostly due to medical advances and the understanding of “separateness” between mother and child. Although the law has evolved to meet modern understanding, determining the appropriate amount of damages is still not clear.
Is the money paid for wrongful death settlement tax-free?
Generally, yes. Compensatory damages (damages meant to compensate plaintiffs) awarded to survivors are tax exempt. Punitive damages (damages meant to punish and deter future misconduct) are usually taxable although they may be exempt from income tax depending on state law. Please visit this website @ https://no1-lawyer.com/
Are there certain types of damages that the jury cannot award me?
The jury will be instructed not to consider the following:
Pain or suffering of the decedent
Grief or sorrow of the survivors
Mental or emotional distress of the survivors
The poverty or wealth of any survivor
For more information, or to have a free consult with a wrongful death attorney, call us today.
While it is common knowledge that alcohol and speeding are frequent causes of accidents, another type of danger to be wary of on the road is the inattentive or distracted driver. Whether talking to a passenger, using a cell phone, changing the radio or eating, a distracted driver will most likely be unable to react properly to a given situation. A sudden stop, an adjacent accident or even an animal crossing the road, while normally avoidable, could lead to serious injury or even death as a direct result of an inattentive driver’s negligence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at least 25% of reported accidents result from some form of driver inattention. This means that inattentive or distracted drivers are responsible for more than 1.5 million collisions per year!
Driver distraction is a form of inattention caused by some triggering event which redirects the driver’s attention away from the road to something either inside or outside of the vehicle. This triggering event is what distinguishes a distracted driver from one who is merely inattentive or not paying attention. A distraction can visually, mentally or even manually distract you by causing you to temporarily remove your hands from the steering wheel. For example, eating would be considered a manual and visual distraction while text messaging would be considered a complete manual, visual and cognitive distraction because a person sending a text must utilize their hands, eyes and mind in order to do so. Text messaging is considered one of the newest and most dangerous distractions to come along so far. According to the USA Today, the use of text messaging in the United States increased dramatically. These numbers have continued to rise exponentially every year. Statistically, text messaging tends to be most popular among young people. Young drivers, between 16 and 24 years of age, are often the worst offenders when it comes to driving while texting, or DWT as it has come to be called. In fact, a researcher from the University of Utah reported that a staggering 70% of minors surveyed admitted to texting while driving.
According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a Washington D.C. based group, found that 94% of all drivers admitted to engaging in activity that could have potentially been distracting; including interacting with passengers, talking on a cell phone and changing the radio station. Further, this distracted driver phenomenon extends not only to private individuals but to drivers of commercial or work vehicles. NETS conducted a phone survey that indicated 39% of all engagement in potentially distracting behavior took place while the drivers were on the job. Generally, whether texting or talking, cell phone use while driving is a very common cause of accidents. According to a Harvard study, cell phone users are nearly 5 times more likely to be involved in car accidents than those who did not use the device.
In conclusion, it is important to avoid distractions whenever possible. Always maintain focus and pay undivided attention to the road. Avoid interacting with passengers, keep your eyes on the road and keep both hands on the wheel. In addition, do not drive while tired, upset or intoxicated in any way. If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, contact our experienced Houston car accident lawyers for a free consultation by phone. Our trial attorneys look forward to aggressively representing you in your auto accident claim.
You have GOT to be kidding! The national speed limit was set for one purpose – to save gasoline. Remember those long gas lines during the oil embargo in the late 70’s? President Carter came up with a few ideas on how to save gas… one was to set thermometers to 76 instead of 72. Another… to enforce a 55 MPH national speed limit. A 55 MPH “limit” was enacted in 1973 under the Nixon administration…To backup the 55MPH speed limit, “data” was used, to show that reduced speeds showed a trend toward reduced fatalities. DUH! A slower moving vehicle is less likely to suffer damage… But, no direct correlation has been linked between collision FREQUENCY and higher speed. Only that going faster means higher chance of death IF a collision occurs. And more so, even the Federal government admits that most “speed related” fatal accidents also involve… DRUNK DRIVING. Here’s what the government says… “In 2001, 43 percent of the intoxicated drivers (BAC = 0.10 or
higher) involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with only 14 percent of the sober drivers (BAC = 0.00) involved in fatal rashes.” Well, There’s a no-brainer for you! 86% were DRUNK! They didn’t die because they were speeding… They were drunk!
DRUNK DRIVING killed them… not speed. Collisions involving speeding drunk drivers are classified as being caused by… speeding. But, guess who helps to gather “reliable” traffic data…. aside from police that is… INSURANCE COMPANIES… and what do they make by having lower speed limits … MONEY.
Speed limits are set based on “the average” driver’s speed
Nope. There is a nice little requirement created by the United States Department of Transportation called … The 85th Percentile. A word about 85th percentile speed is in order. Traffic studies have shown that speed on a roadway resembles a bell-shaped curve. The standard deviation can be determined by the difference between the average speed and the 85th percentile speed. The difference contains 35 percent of the distribution.”
Put simply, the 85th percentile speed is the speed at which most people drive. BUT… most limits are lower than this number by about 10 MPH. Further, conclusive studies by the NHTSA shows that most people “drive at a speed at which they feel most comfortable.” And, it also shows “Fines do not deter drivers from their ‘driving comfort zone.'”
And even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admits… “Various studies seeking to prove that the 55 mph limit has had a long-term positive effect on highway safety have come up with mixed results. Given the present federal law, however, more than local considerations are at stake whenever a police administrator considers a speed enforcement program, because a state has much to lose by not complying with the federal law and regulations.”
Money, not safety, is the primary reason for speed compliance programs… Speeding tickets = MONEY And, there is more…. Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices – Section 2B-10 (1988) When a speed limit is to be posted, it should be the 85th-percentile speed of free-flowing traffic, rounded up to the nearest 10 km/h (5 mph) increment.
Gee… The States and local governments break the law in posting invalid limits and then want US to comply with the invalid limits. Nice, huh?
This myth makes me the most angry. Why aren’t the speed limits set at average? It’s all about money. I won’t stand for it, and you shouldn’t either. Fight the good fight, and show the government you won’t lay down like a dog. You will fight against this unfair ruling. More information on this website