Fatal car accidents continue to be one of the top 10 causes of death in Texas and across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Car accidents are among leading causes of death for those 34 years old and younger.
Various factors contribute to traffic fatalities in Texas. The following are among the most common:
- Distracted driving – Sending a text, taking a sip of coffee or changing the radio station are all examples of common distractions that can cause a fatal car accident. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that collisions involving distracted drivers are on rise. In a single recent year collisions associated with distracted drivers rose 6 percent. Texting while driving proves to be one of the major factors contributing to the increase in deaths from distracted driving.
- Drunk Driving – Drunk driving on average ends three lives every two hours, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Texas recently ranked the highest with 1,338 alcohol-related traffic fatalities, and 175 of the reported fatalities were individuals under the age of 21, according to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
- Aggressive Driving – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving happens when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Speeding, tailgating, erratic lane changes, ignoring traffic signs and signals, unsafe passing and reckless driving are just a few examples. Aggressive driving can escalate to road rage, a criminal offense.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Suits
The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Title 4, Chapter 71 outlines the various categories of damages that can be awarded in wrongful death suits. These damages are based on the manner and cause of the death and those directly affected by the death.
Damages that may be available in a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Medical costs.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of expected income.
- Loss of care and companionship.
- Pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
Texas law permits certain surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim when a death directly results from negligence in a car accident.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Title 4, Chapter 71, subchapter A sets out who may be entitled to recover compensation through a wrongful death claim. According to Section 71.004, the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased are the only ones eligible to bring a wrongful death suit. If within three months after the death, none of the eligible surviving family members have filed suit, the victim’s executor or administrator may bring a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
How Our Lawyers Can Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim
Losing a family member can extremely difficult – even more so when the death is caused by someone else’s negligence in a car accident. Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas? The lawyers of The Bob Richardson Law Firm help families navigate the wrongful death claim process. While filing a wrongful death claim may not ease the pain of having lost a loved one, a successful lawsuit may provide the compensation needed to ease the financial burden of an untimely death.
Our attorneys have the resources necessary to fully investigate a fatal car accident in order to determine who was really at fault. We work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to demonstrate how an accident happened. We also work with medical, financial and other experts to calculate the total extent of losses related to a deadly crash.
If you need legal assistance with a wrongful death claim related to after a fatal car accident, contact The Bob Richardson Law Firm today by phone or use our online contact form. We are ready to provide you with a free case evaluation.
- CDC: Leading Causes of Death
- Texas Department of Transportation: Senseless Deaths on the Rise Due to Distracted Driving
- U.S. DOT: Drunk Driving by the Numbers
- Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: Texas – 2013 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data
- NHTSA: Stop Aggressive Driving
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code: Title 4. Liability in Tort, Chapter 71. Wrongful Death; Survival; Injuries Occurring Out of State, Subchapter A. Wrongful Death