When accidents end in the tragic loss of a loved one, you may not know what to do next. A sudden loss can turn your world upside down. If negligence contributed to the accident, then the party that acted negligently may be held liable for your loss. Filing a wrongful death claim is emotional, complex, and will require an expert to get the results you need. Buckingham Barrera Law Firm has experienced Midland wrongful death lawyers who will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys will provide you with the information you need so you understand what’s happening with the legal process every step of the way. We will diligently investigate your case to find out what happened, who acted negligently, and how your family will be affected after losing your loved one. Before learning more about how we can help you, let’s look at some examples of situations where wrongful death can occur.
How Does a Wrongful Death Accident Happen?
When negligence causes an accident, it can turn fatal. There are several kinds of accidents that can result in wrongful death.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Defective Products
- Medical Malpractice
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Workplace Accidents
Any time a driver isn’t paying attention to the road or is disobeying the rules of the road, they put other drivers around them in danger. This could be someone driving a car, a truck, or a bus. In an accident, they can collide with other people on the road or others not in motor vehicles, such as cyclists or pedestrians. The negligent driver can be held accountable for the accident.
Premises liability applies to keeping properties safe for others who are on it. This could be a residence, place of business, or government building. If those in charge of the property don’t keep it safe, there’s a danger of people sustaining life-threatening injuries. For example, slip and fall accidents are a common type of premises liability accident. If someone slips because a staircase is covered in ice, they could fall and sustains severe brain damage that could result in a fatality.
Manufacturers and sellers of consumer goods have a responsibility to put safe products on the market. Sometimes the product has a flaw that makes it defective or otherwise hazardous. An auto part manufacturer could have a faulty brake system and put drivers at risk of an accident. Power tools could have wiring issues that lead to fire hazards.
Medical malpractice is when a health care professional makes a mistake. If your loved one died from an allergic reaction to a drug they shouldn’t have been given, weren’t diagnosed in a timely manner, or didn’t receive the treatment they needed and should have gotten, then you may have a medical malpractice case.
While there are those who work in more dangerous fields like construction workers who work around heavy machinery and may be working from heights, there are other fatal workplace injuries one can get that could be grounds for a lawsuit. If a job placed workers around hazardous chemicals, they may have suffered toxic exposure. Unfortunately, these chemicals can cause terminal illnesses that don’t present symptoms until the illness has developed. While treatment may help pain management or prolong the full effects of the disease, your loved one’s life may have been cut short due to a terrible illness that could have been avoided.
If your loved one lost their life because of the negligent actions of another, you can seek justice for them. Our attorneys in Midland understand each case is unique. Whether or not you see the reason why your loved one passed away in the list above, you should still reach out to discuss your case and its validity.
Wrongful Death Law in Texas
According to Sec. 71.002., an action can be brought forward if negligence causes an individual’s death. If a person’s wrongful act, neglect, or carelessness caused the injury and death of another person, they can be held liable.
Determining liability takes careful investigation. When our attorneys review your case, we’ll look at the scene of the accident to gather physical evidence. If anyone witnessed the accident, we’ll record their statements for additional information. We’ll also review your loved one’s medical records because they’ll show how the accident caused their fatal injuries.
Who Can Bring a Claim Forward in Midland?
When your family is seeking their legal options, you may wonder who can bring the claim forward. In Texas, Sec. 71.004. states the following can bring the claim forward and recover damages:
- Surviving Spouse
- The Deceased’s Parents
A personal representative may be named in the deceased’s will. If one is not, the family needs to pick one to bring the claim forward. If these parties haven’t brought an action forward within three months of their loved one’s wrongful death, then the deceased’s executor or administrator can bring the action forward.
It’s important to get in touch with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible, as these claims have a statute of limitations. In Texas, you have two years after the date of the deceased’s death to file a suit. If you miss this deadline, you risk invalidating your case and you will not be able to pursue damages.
What Are the Damages Your Family Can Recover?
While filing a claim may make the pain of what happened to your loved one resurface, you’re giving them a voice and securing your future. Suddenly losing a loved one can put a family in a financially difficult situation, which can cause a lot of stress when thinking about how you’re going to keep up with your expenses. The compensation you recover with your claim will help you cover your losses of losing a loved one.
The economic losses you can recover in a wrongful death suit usually include:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Earnings
These are items that have an assigned dollar amount. Your lawyer can calculate what the funeral and burial will cost, along with the medical bills your loved one incurred. Their lost wages apply to the work they missed because of their injuries. Loss of earnings is for what they would have earned had they recovered and continued to work. This amount can be complex to calculate as your lawyer will take many factors into account. For example, the pay rate, age, and health of your loved one can influence the determined amount of lost earnings. Your lawyer will make sure all factors are considered.
The loss of a loved one also takes a severe emotional toll. While these don’t have an exact dollar amount assigned to them, they are still considered when your attorney is determining your compensation amount. The noneconomic losses can affect you and your family just as much as the economic ones.
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
Your loved one’s injuries may have been painful and they may have experienced considerable suffering before they passed. In addition to what your loved one felt, you and your family also experienced pain and distress at what happened to your loved one.
Loss of consortium applies to the loss of support your loved one would have provided. This could be the loss of a partner. The companionship you shared in spending a life together and running a household is suddenly gone, which will be taken into account for your losses. There’s also the loss of a parent. If the deceased had children, their loss of a guardian will also be taken into consideration.
Many families may still feel uncomfortable at the thought of filing a wrongful death claim, even if it means providing for their future. However, you can think of it as the personal injury claim your loved one would have pursued if they had survived the accident. They could have held the negligent party liable for their injuries, in which they could have recovered for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Most of those damages apply to losing an adult. However, sometimes a child may tragically lose their life because of negligence. Your lawyer will be able to explain your options and how you can pursue justice for your child in Texas.
While the thought of a legal matter can be intimidating, it may help to have a general idea of what will happen during this time. Let’s take a look at the process.
What to Expect When You File a Wrongful Death Claim
Your first step is contacting a wrongful death lawyer. When you meet with them, they’ll review your case and determine its merit. If you both decide to proceed, your lawyer will help you with the filing process.
When your lawyer is building your case, they’ll need to show a few items. The liable party needs to have owed the deceased a duty of care. This could be a doctor not inflicting harm or a driver’s responsibility to not drive while distracted or drunk. After this is shown, your lawyer will show how they breached the duty of care. If a surgeon ignored patient charts or didn’t act as other surgeons with the same experience would have acted and it resulted in your loved one’s death, they didn’t meet the duty of care. A driver speeding or recklessly weaving through traffic and causes an accident fails to meet their owed duty of care.
Then, your lawyer will connect the accident to the negligent party’s actions. After showing how their negligence caused your loved one’s accident, your attorney will prove your loved one’s injuries, damages, and wrongful death happened because of the accident.
As your lawyer works to establish the duty of care and how it was breached, they will likely gather as much physical evidence as possible. Besides medical records and witness accounts, we may also photograph the scene to pick up any additional details that will help your case.
Buckingham Barrera Law Firm Can Help Bring Peace of Mind
When you’re dealing with a loss in your life, having the energy to handle with a legal claim may seem impossible. Our law firm is here to help you get your footing again. When we’re representing you, we will make sure your rights are protected. We’re not afraid to stand up to companies that don’t want to be held responsible for their actions, or insurance companies that are trying to give you a lesser settlement than what your case is worth.
Our firm is prepared to bring the case to trial if necessary. We have years of courtroom experience and will help prepare you for speaking in a courtroom. While it can be nerve-wracking to speak in front of a judge or jury, we’ll make sure you have all the information and practice you need to be confident. We’ll be sure it’s clear how the other party caused this tragic loss.
Making sure the negligent party is held accountable for their actions may bring a sense of closure that can help you with the grieving process. You can rest assured your loved one’s voice was heard and their death wasn’t ignored. You and your family will also be able to grieve in peace without worrying about financial matters like paying off past medical expenses.
Having a Midland wrongful death lawyer at your side as soon as possible gives you the strongest chance of receiving maximum compensation. It may seem like you have a lot of time before filing a case, but physical evidence can disappear over time and people can forget details that could strengthen a case. You want to give your case all the advantages possible and you don’t want to be racing against the clock. You should get in touch with our office as soon as possible.
We’ll schedule a free consultation and evaluate your case. From there, we can discuss your options and the best way for you to proceed.