Fatal Truck Accidents Under Texas Law
Every year in Texas, we lose far too many of our loved ones to truck accidents. Men, women, and even children die from negligent truck drivers, truck companies, and any number of other third parties. At this terrible time, we know that you and your family need to grieve. But we also know, from representing numerous wrongful death victims' families for 25 years, that you also are wondering what can be done to bring some kind of justice to this nightmare.
We are sure that you are likely getting phone calls from insurers, friends, family, and associates who all have ideas about what you should do now. We want you to know that the Texas wrongful death attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have represented families who lost loved ones to truck accidents, and we are here to help.
Questions answered on this page:
- What should I do if I love dies in a truck accident?
- What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
- What kind of compensation can I get if the person I am dependent on dies in a truck accident?
- Why should I hire a lawyer for my truck accident claims?
- How soon should I get an attorney after a truck accident?
Wrongful Death Law 101 for truck accident victims.
No lawyer, lawsuit, or amount of money can bring your loved one back. But when someone dies as the result of the recklessness or negligence of another, the law does not require you to suffer alone. You can give your lost loved one a voice by filing a wrongful death claim against the parties responsible for your loved one's death. This will allow us to use the legal process to fully investigate what actually happened. But it also allows us to pursue serious compensation for your losses by way of a lawsuit.
It may seem crass that a court would put a dollar value on a lost life. Courts do not measure loss of life based on how "good" or "worthwhile" a human being was. Instead, the law tries to get at least as close as possible to correctly determining the financial losses you have endured. Wrongful death claims allow for monetary damages of an amount equal to the costs that parents, spouses, and children of the deceased are determined to have endured. These recoverable losses include:
- Funeral expenses: Funerals cost thousands of dollars and are something we rarely plan for.
- Medical bills: Truck accidents can instantly kill motorists, but they don't always. Sometimes, individuals wind up spending time in the hospital before they pass away. The medical costs of this hospitalization can be staggering after catastrophic truck accidents.
- Loss of income: This is often the most substantial compensation. The law understands that you were likely depending on your lost loved one's income to pay your bills and living expenses, and allows you to be compensated accordingly. For example, if your wife was an accountant and died at age 35 from a truck accident, we would work to prove what she would have made over the remainder of her working life, and argue that you should be awarded that amount in damages. In this calculation, the possibility of remarriage or other possible changes that may occur in the future do not need to be factored in.
- Loss of Companionship: Losing a loved one is obviously difficult, and the law provides for individuals to be compensated for the loss of a deceased family member's love and support.
- Pain and suffering: In our decades of representing the families of those who have lost loved ones in trucking accidents, we have seen the emotional damage and devastation left. We can fight to secure you money not only to pay for the costs of professional treatment, but also obtain damages based on your emotional injuries themselves.
In addition to wrongful death claims to recover for your individual losses, you can recover damages based on the pain your spouse, parent, or child suffered before passing away. Under what are known as survival claims, we can bring a claim on behalf of your loved one for her or his pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income during the time between the actual accident and his or her death. In survival claims, we represent your loved one's estate, meaning any recovery we secure will be distributed to whomever was designated in the will. If your loved one didn't have a will, the law prescribes who receives the funds under what are known as intestacy laws. Depending on your circumstances, this recovery could be substantial.
Compensation isn't automatic in truck accident cases. Your lawyer needs to fight for it.
Alleging damages is one thing, but proving them is quite another. Courts require mountains of evidence regarding your injuries, not just accusations. For example, they will need medical records or records of the funeral bills. Your testimony will be very important, of course, but a thorough lawyer will very likely also retain testifying experts to attest to various matters. These court-qualified individuals have the background, training, and experience to explain to a jury the ins-and-outs of why the trucking company is responsible for your accident, how its failure caused your loss, and the fullest extent of your suffering. For example, there is no simple formula for calculating the income you've lost and will lose in the future. We will likely need to draw from our network of financial experts and economists to secure accurate, courtroom-admissible evidence of your losses.
This is one of the many reasons why you need to be able to rely on an experienced Texas truck accident fatality lawyer. Our attorneys don't simply hope to be able to prove up your losses in court; we've done it, time and time again.
If you have recently been involved in a truck accident, check out this article on 5 Ways to Not Ruin Your Case.
The statute of limitations in a fatal truck accident case.
We know that no matter how much time passes, you will still be grieving. We know that there is no easy time to come talk to an attorney about potentially filing a lawsuit for your loved one's death, but the law does not wait forever. Under Texas's wrongful death statute of limitations, you have 2 years from your loved one's death to file a lawsuit. After that, sadly, you cannot file a lawsuit, except under extremely limited circumstances.
It's also important to not wait too long for at least two other reasons. First, valuable evidence may be lost or destroyed in the interim. Too many cases fail because the evidence plaintiffs needed was lost with the passage of time. Defendants, also, cannot always be trusted to faithfully preserve key items such as the truck or driver records. We need to go get that information as quickly as possible. Second, your lawyer needs some time to adequately research your case and draw up a complaint. We want to be sure we are filing suit against the correct parties in the correct court within the allotted time frame.
You need the right 18-wheeler accident attorney on your side.
We know this is a difficult time. We have been honored to represent numerous individuals in your exact position over the last 25 years, and we know you are looking for competent legal advice. Regardless of whether you choose to hire us, we are here to answer any questions you might have about the process, your case, and what needs to happen next. Give us a call at (855)326-0000 for a completely free and confidential discussion about your case.
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