Who Can File a Claim After a Fatal Car Accident

grieving family getting support from Houston accident attorney
After a fatal car accident, a Houston accident attorney can help your family get justice for your loved one.

The sudden loss of a beloved family member in a fatal car accident can be completely devastating. Not only are you dealing with the immense grief and emotional turmoil, but there are also financial burdens that come with such a tragic event.

During this difficult time, it is important to understand your legal rights and options for seeking justice and compensation. In Texas, there are specific laws governing who can file a claim after a fatal car accident. It’s crucial to have this information so that you can make informed decisions during this challenging time.

If you or someone you know is facing such circumstances, contact Maida Law Firm today for a free case evaluation from our legal professionals.

What Type of Claim Do You File?

The aftermath of a fatal accident can be overwhelming, especially when considering the legal implications. Pursuing a wrongful death suit is one way to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and seek the compensation your family deserves.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action typically initiated by close relatives of the deceased person. This type of legal action aims to seek financial compensation for damages resulting from the death.

In order to establish a wrongful death claim, it is necessary to prove that the fatality directly resulted from the defendant’s negligent or reckless behavior. This could involve a failure to adhere to traffic laws, driving under the influence, or any other act of negligence that directly contributed to the unfortunate incident.

Navigating the legal process alone can be a daunting task. Seeking the advice of an experienced Houston accident attorney can help you understand your options and provide you with critical support in this difficult time.

Who Can Legally File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In Texas, the state recognizes certain individuals who are eligible to file a claim for a loved one’s wrongful death. These include immediate family members such as parents, spouse, or children. Additionally, legal representatives, who are authorized and entrusted to act on behalf of their clients, may also submit a claim.

The process for filing a claim can be complex, with various legal requirements and deadlines to meet. This includes:

  1. Retain Legal Representation: Engage the services of a qualified and experienced wrongful death attorney. Their expertise is crucial in ensuring all legal processes are correctly adhered to.
  2. Investigation and Fact-Finding: The attorney will conduct a comprehensive investigation to gather all necessary evidence supporting the claim. This could involve analyzing accident reports, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts.
  3. Filing the Initial Complaint: The attorney will draft a legal document known as a complaint, outlining the details of the wrongful death claim. This document, once filed in a court of law, officially initiates the lawsuit.
  4. Discovery Phase: Both sides gather information about the case. This can include depositions, interrogatories, and document requests.
  5. Negotiation and Settlement: Many wrongful death cases are settled outside of court through negotiations between the plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys. If both parties reach an agreement, the case ends here.
  6. Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case goes to trial, where a jury or judge will determine the outcome.
  7. Awarding of Damages: If the claim is successful, the court will award damages. These can include compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional distress.

Make Sure to File Your Claim Within the Allowed Time Period

It is crucial to adhere to the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. If you do not file your claim within the designated time frame, you may lose the right to seek compensation and your case can be dismissed.

In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the decedent’s death. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the responsible party is not identified until a later date. It’s always best to consult with a Houston accident attorney who can work with you to ensure all critical deadlines are met.

Types of Damages Houston Accident Attorney Can Claim

In car accidents where a death was caused by the negligence of another party, there a number of potential damages that can be claimed. These can include:

  • Funeral Costs: The sudden loss of a loved one often incurs substantial funeral costs. A wrongful death claim can seek to recover these expenses, ensuring the family can provide a fitting farewell without the added financial stress.
  • Medical Costs: If the deceased received any medical care between the time of the accident and their passing, these costs can also be claimed. This includes hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and any other related medical expenses.
  • Lost Future Income: This claim represents the earnings that the deceased family member would have provided had they lived. The calculation of lost future income often considers the decedent’s age, health, life expectancy, occupation, skills, and other factors.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for pain and suffering addresses the physical pain experienced by the deceased from the time of the accident until their death.
  • Mental Anguish: Mental anguish compensates for the emotional distress experienced by family members. This can include grief, anxiety, depression, and the emotional pain of losing a loved one. The nature and duration of a family member’s relationship with the deceased may play a significant role in assessing damages for mental anguish.

Seek Justice with a Houston Accident Attorney

Seeking legal help and understanding your rights is crucial to ensure that you receive the justice your family deserves after the tragedy of a fatal car accident. As your Houston accident attorney, Maida Law Firm can work to secure financial compensation for damages such as medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of income. No one should have to face the aftermath of a fatal car accident alone, so don’t hesitate to seek legal help in this difficult time. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation today.