If you lose a family member in a car accident, it will probably be the most traumatic experience of your life. As you and your family are grieving, the last thing you are thinking about is talking to a personal injury lawyer and filing a claim or lawsuit for wrongful death damages. But you may have the right to receive payment for your losses you are suddenly facing. You may be wondering what to do and how much money you might receive.
We sincerely hope you are not reading this post because this has happened to you. No one ever thinks a fatal car accident will happen to someone they know and love. But they tragically cause over 3,600 deaths each year in Texas. Just in two days this week, for example, six innocent people died in DFW in two crashes:
(1) Tuesday night in south Dallas: a drunk driver speeding the wrong way killed three people; and
(2) early Sunday morning in south Dallas: three people lost their lives when another drunk driver crashed into their vehicle.
Wrongful death damages: what can be recovered in Texas?
Whether your case settles out of court or goes to a trial, wrongful death damages can be paid by the at-fault driver’s or his company’s insurance policy for the following categories:
- Medical bills;
- Funeral expenses;
- Lost income and job benefits;
- Lost lifetime benefits;
- Lost inheritances;
- Physical pain and emotional suffering suffered by the survivors;
- Mental anguish suffered by the decedent;
- Loss of companionship and consortium;
- Property damage; and
- Punitive damages (in very limited cases)
How much money is available to pay the family?
Every fatality crash, whether caused by a car, truck, or 18-wheeler, is completely different. So there is no way to know the final result before all pertinent facts and legal issues are known.
However, there are some general guidelines. The negligent driver may have only has purchased the minimum required insurance, which is limited to a maximum of $30,000.00 for the loss to any one person, $60,000.00 for the damages to all persons, and $25,000.00 for property damage.
No, that is not enough, although many states require less coverage than that.
If this is the case, the family will not need to hire a car accident lawyer, as it will presumably be paid this by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Our firm has assisted surviving families faced with this situation for free.
On the other hand, some drivers purchase higher amounts of liability insurance. If a commercial vehicle, for example a Federal Express 18-wheeler or even a landscaping or plumbing company, is responsible for the death, the amount of its liability policy will be much higher. Federal law requires a minimum of $750,000.00 for tractor-trailers.
We have handled several of these types recently. Here, the services of a Fort Worth injury attorney who has successfully obtained wrongful death damages is strongly recommended.
We can help you
If you are considering filing for wrongful death damages, consult with an injury lawyer. Berenson Injury Law has represented many families and individuals who have lost loved ones over the past 40 years. Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or chat with us.