Fatal car accidents leave a wake of devastation behind them. Family members dealing with the aftermath of a deadly car accident have a heavy burden to bear. When someone else is responsible for their pain and suffering, handling the news of an accident can become even more difficult.
The reality is that there are thousands of fatal car accidents in the US every year. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the number of traffic fatalities increased 3.7% between 2013 and 2014. During 2014, someone was killed in a vehicle accident every 2.5 hours. Every day during that year was marked by someone’s passing on Texas roadways.
Because driving is a necessity in our busy life, make sure to take extra care on the highways. If you or someone you love died in a car accident on Texas roadways, you may have many unanswered questions and feelings of resentment towards the individual(s) responsible. Criminal cases against the liable party may bring the defendant to justice, but the results of those cases rarely satisfy the needs of the deceased person’s family. In these cases, a wrongful death suit can be a financially helpful way to deal with the aftermath of a fatal accident and hold the accountable party responsible for his or her actions.
Why Choose Aaron Herbert?
If you recently experienced the devastating loss of a loved one in a Dallas car accident, you need a lawyer you can trust to listen to your story and help you fight for justice. The lawyers at our firm have been fighting to help claimants in Texas for decades. Clients choose us to represent their wrongful death claims for many reasons.
- We are part of the less than 2% of attorneys in Texas who are board-certified in personal injury trial law.
- We have a long record of success and trial experience that can convince insurance companies to take your wrongful death claim more seriously.
- We always provide personal attention to our clients, working with them one-on-one to identify their goals for each case.
- We can take cases to court in Dallas if necessary, fighting for better results for our clients through all available legal outlets.
- We will never charge any attorney’s fees, legal expenses or court costs unless we help your family recover compensation.
Attorney Aaron A. Herbert provides high-quality representation to clients after fatal auto accidents in Dallas, Texas. If you choose our firm, you will benefit from personalized attention, tailored legal services, years of experience, quality resources and more. We can help your family in many ways during this difficult time.
Wrongful Death Suits in Car Accidents
Sometimes death in a motor vehicle accident is instantaneous. Other times, a victim will spend days, weeks, or months in a hospital fighting for breath after devastating injuries. When a victim eventually succumbs to his or her injuries, families must handle their grief and the affairs of their loved one. If a driver’s negligent behavior caused the accident, the immediate family of the deceased may choose to pursue a wrongful death case.
The survivors of the immediate family, including the spouse, children, or parents must file a claim within two years of the date of death in the state of Texas. An estate representative or executor may file a claim on the family’s behalf.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, family members may be eligible for compensation for the deceased person’s lost earning capacity and functional/supportive role in the family, their pain and suffering, lost companionship, and/or projected inheritance. In cases of gross negligence, Texas allows punitive damages to be awarded as a means of punishing the defendant.
What Is the First Step to a Claim?
The first step to filing a wrongful death car accident claim in Dallas is to contact a wrongful death lawyer. An attorney with experience with these cases can walk you through each phase of the legal process, starting with getting to know you and your family. An attorney from our firm will not charge anything for an initial consultation about a potential wrongful death case. You can learn the next steps to take without any financial risks or obligations. When you contact us about a potential claim, we can offer our assistance in many ways, from negotiating settlements with insurance companies to taking a defendant to court, if necessary.
When you contact an attorney, he or she can take care of the next steps for you. You do not have to worry about what to do or how to fight for fair compensation for your loved one. Your attorney will handle all the steps it may take to bring a strong claim against one or more defendants in Dallas. Your family can focus on grief and healing after a fatal car accident while a lawyer deals with insurance adjusters and bill collectors on your behalf. Start your wrongful death claim with a phone call to the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert for the best odds of a positive outcome.
What Damages Can I Get?
Wrongful death damages can differ from personal injury damages in Texas. Since the victim did not survive his or her car accident injuries, the courts may award additional compensation to surviving family members than a personal injury claim would have received. A family could receive compensation for both the loved one’s damages and their own losses through a wrongful death claim and survival action.
- The deceased party’s pain and suffering
- Any related medical bills
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Loss of inheritance
- Lost future earnings
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of household services
- Mental anguish
Any economic or intangible losses the victim and his or her family suffered because of the fatal car accident could end up on a list of damages claimed from the at-fault party. The total value of the wrongful death claim will depend on factors such as the decedent’s age, education, abilities, health, wages and many other factors. Hiring an attorney with experience negotiating wrongful death lawsuits could help you increase the final compensation award for your family’s damages.
In many wrongful death cases in Dallas, judges award punitive damages in addition to compensatory ones. A punitive damage award can punish the defendant for egregious acts, such as negligently or carelessly causing a fatal car accident. Punitive damages could increase the plaintiff’s final compensation award while simultaneously teaching a lesson to others in the community that the county will not tolerate gross negligence or malicious wrongdoing. Speak to our lawyers to find out what your case could be worth.
Do I Need to File a Police Report?
If you are at the scene of a fatal accident in Texas, you or another driver must call the police to report the wreck. State law mandates those involved in the accident call 911 to notify law enforcement if it causes personal injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages. The police will drive to the scene, gather evidence, speak to those involved and create an official report. Try to remain calm and give your version of events to the police, even if you must do so a few days after the accident. Getting your side of the story on paper could help your case against another driver later.
When you call the police from the scene of a serious car accident, they should submit an accident report to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) after completing their investigation. If, however, the officer does not file this report, it will be up to you to do so within 10 days of the accident. In most cases involving serious injuries or deaths, the police will take care of crash reporting on victims’ behalves. You can obtain a copy of the police report later for your records by contacting the TxDOT and paying the fee.
When the police arrive to take your statement, do not admit fault for the car accident if you were a driver. Instead, say you do not know who or what caused the crash. Do not speculate about fault if you do not know who caused the accident. Stick to the facts and limit your answers only to the questions asked. Describe your injuries and explain that you will be visiting a doctor for an official diagnosis immediately. Write down the name of the responding officer and your police report number for future reference. Then, call a car accident attorney for counsel.
How Can I File a Claim on Behalf of Someone?
If you think you have grounds for a wrongful death claim after the tragic loss of a loved one, contact an attorney in Dallas as soon as possible. You do not want to miss the state’s two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. A lawyer can help you through the complex and sometimes difficult steps to filing a wrongful death claim in Texas.
- Identifying the defendant at fault for the death.
- Gathering evidence against the defendant.
- Calculating your family’s damages.
- Filling out the initial claims paperwork.
- Filing your claim with the Dallas County courts.
You may have the right to file a claim on behalf of a deceased loved one if you are a relative, dependent or representative of the estate. If so, you or your lawyer must bring a claim by the deadline or else risk losing the right to any compensation. The Dallas courts will request specific information about the death and your claim, such as the name and contact information of the defendant, how the death occurred, proof of negligence, and a list of damages sought.
If you have never filed a civil claim in Dallas County, seek assistance from an attorney. Otherwise, you could make mistakes such as waiting too long to file, filing with the incorrect courthouse or failing to completely fill out the claims forms. These errors could make your claim take longer or even hurt your odds of obtaining compensation. Working with a lawyer can expedite the claims process and optimize your family’s chances of securing a positive settlement or verdict for damages.
Proving Negligence in Fatal Car Accidents
In a wrongful death suit, a family may need the assistance of an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney in the state of Texas. The attorneys at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert have more than 10 years of specialized experience handling claims in Dallas and surrounding areas.
In the course of a claim, the deceased person’s representatives will need to prove that negligence was the cause of the fatal accident. Distracted driving, failing to follow the rules of the road, mechanical failure, bus company negligence and driver impairment may all be considered negligent and accident-contributing variables. A skilled attorney can help you sift through the paperwork you may face after an accident and pursue action against the responsible party.
Insurance companies, in particular, can be difficult to negotiate in the face of a claim. They may be understanding about the accident circumstances, but they may be more interested in settling a claim quickly and with their interests in mind than helping you.
Contact Our Fatal Accident Attorneys
The Dallas personal injury attorneys at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can help you get through every aspect of this difficult time so that you can grieve properly and start moving forward with your life. Please contact us to learn more about our wrongful death services or for a free case consultation.