Corpus Christi Wrongful Death Attorney
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Corpus Christi Wrongful Death Law Firm
When an accident in Corpus Christi causes your loved one’s wrongful death, grief and anger can paralyze you. It’s not easy to contemplate a future without a family member’s love and support. As you move forward, you must meet challenging personal and financial responsibilities, often alone. If your loved one’s death leaves you as the sole breadwinner for your family, you may now have to stretch a single income to cover dual-income obligations. To minimize your personal and financial challenges, you should take immediate action to protect your family’s legal rights.
Whether your loved one’s wrongful death occurred due to an auto accident on a Texas highway, a workplace accident, or some other unfortunate event, the responsible parties should pay for the damages. Our experienced Corpus Christi Wrongful Death Lawyers can provide the insight and guidance that you need. Contact The Patel Firm PLLC today.
We Believe Responsible Parties Should Pay
At the Patel Firm PLLC, we’ve worked hard to secure the financial compensation that our clients needed to meet some of life’s most critical challenges. Our attorneys have a strong working knowledge of Texas wrongful death statutes and complex liability issues. We’ve used our experience and firm resources to help our clients win lawsuits against individuals, corporate defendants, and insurance companies. We do our best to make responsible parties pay.
Our firm focuses on personal injury law and handles cases for injured clients only. We’ve fought for their rights to recover damages from car and truck accidents, on-the-job injuries, slip-and-fall incidents, and other accidents. We’ve worked closely with grieving families, and we understand how losing a loved one changes those families’ lives. We approach each case with compassion for our clients and the determination to provide the best possible outcomes.
Our Firm’s Results
Our law firm believes in resolving cases quickly and aggressively. Whether we’re dealing with commercial defendants, insurance companies, or defense attorneys, we always seek outcomes that are in our clients’ best interests. We have successfully negotiated, mediated, and tried cases on behalf of our injured clients.
Attorney Minesh J. Patel founded the Patel Firm PLLC to provide professional legal services for injured victims in Corpus Christi. Before establishing his own practice, he gained extensive experience through his work with several South Texas injury law firms. Mr. Patel and Senior Litigation Attorney Justin P. Green have secured favorable results for both commercial truck accidents and private passenger vehicle accidents, workplace incidents, premises slip/fall injuries, product liability issues, and other personal injury and wrongful death cases.
We believe it’s important to support our clients, both legally and emotionally. That’s why we are available 24/7. Our commitment to our clients has earned Mr. Patel a lifetime membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, as well as other professional honors. As each injury case is different, we can’t guarantee a specific result; however, we promise to strive to secure the best possible result for every client given the specific circumstances.
A wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligent act. When a person is engaged in business-related activities or driving a company vehicle, his actions may render his employer legally responsible. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code describes a legal right to recover damages when a death occurs due to “a person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
The incidents that cause wrongful deaths are often sudden and unexpected. A family’s life can be changed forever in the blink of an eye due to someone else’s carelessness.
They may occur during everyday events and in every possible venue.
- Private passenger vehicle accidents: Texas Department of Transportation’s statistics show that 3,639 accident-related fatalities occurred on Texas roads during 2018.
- Pedestrian accidents: Over 600 people lose their lives in Texas every year when they are simply trying to cross the street and walk on the sidewalk when drivers fail to follow traffic laws such as yielding for a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
- Bicycle accidents: Approximately 60 bicyclists are killed in Texas each year. Drivers can be responsible for these deaths when they fail to yield the right-of-way to the biker.
- Motorcycle accidents: Drivers may carelessly collide with a motorcycle when they do not properly check their blind spots when changing lanes and making turns. Speeding or inattentive drivers might cut across traffic and collide with a motorcyclist, causing catastrophic injuries when the biker falls from the motorcycle and hits the pavements.
- Commercial vehicle accidents: Of all accident-related fatalities in Texas, The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 664 fatalities involved a large truck, such as a tractor-trailer rig.
- Premises Liability injuries: Texans sometimes sustain fatal injuries while on someone else’s property. Individuals may die from defective property conditions, unguarded swimming pools, unsafe construction operations, and many other hazards.
- Defective product mishaps: Fatalities occur due to fires, work-related vehicle crashes, on-the-job accidents, and events caused by defective industrial products and machinery.
- Workplace accidents: Workers sustain fatal injuries on construction sites, in factories, and during vehicle accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 534 work-related fatalities in Texas during 2017.
Oil rig and refinery accidents: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tracks oil industry-related deaths in its Fatalities in the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry (FOG) database. The most recent statistics show that 45 Texas workers sustained fatal injuries from 2015 to 2016. When a wrongful death occurs on an oil rig, federal law allows the employee’s family to file a lawsuit directly against the employer instead of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The Texas Wrongful Death statute specifically identifies parties entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim or suit. One or more survivors may file a lawsuit on behalf of all survivors. Those with a legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Surviving spouse: A spouse recovers damages as long as he or she and the decedent were legally married when the wrongful death occurred. A surviving spouse recovers damages even if the couple was separated or if a divorce was pending but not final.
- Decedent’s children
- Decedent’s parents
- Decedent’s executor or administrator: If the survivors don’t file a lawsuit within three months after a death occurs, the decedent’s legal representative may file, unless all of the survivors request otherwise.
Wrongful deaths occur under such varied circumstances that proving causation and negligence requires a strong commitment. That’s where our personal injury experience has become a critical asset. For each of our clients’ cases, we analyze evidence, review legal issues, and determine the potentially responsible parties.
- Private passenger vehicle accidents: When a vehicle crash causes a fatal injury, it’s usually the negligent driver’s fault. If someone else owns the vehicle, he or she shares liability as an owner and for negligently entrusting the vehicle to a driver with a poor driving history. When repair, maintenance, or defect issues contribute to an accident, other entities may also share liability.
- Commercial vehicle accident: When a commercial vehicle driver causes an accident, his trucking company and employer may share liability for any fatal injuries. Whether the responsible driver is operating a tractor-trailer rig, a dump truck, or some other large commercial vehicle, the cases often involve complex contractual relationships and a variety of defendants. These often include a truck owner, loading contractor, or maintenance contractor.
- Premises accidents: A property owner is responsible when a fatal injury occurs due to a dangerous condition or a negligent operation on the property. Fatal injuries sometimes occur because of poorly maintained common areas and stairways, negligently operated and maintained swimming pools and many other dangerous premises conditions. The property owners and their maintenance, security, and construction subcontractors share responsibility for the damages.
- Product liability accidents: When a product causes an injury, the manufacturer and seller are strictly liable for the damages under Texas law. The designer, manufacturer, distributor or anyone in the chain of distribution is legally responsible for damages due to a defective product.
- Workplace accidents: As Texas law doesn’t require employers to carry Workers’ Compensation coverage, survivors may file for wrongful death damages. An employer that chooses not to provide WC coverage loses the right to plead critical defenses if an employee or his or her family files a lawsuit to recover damages.
- Oil rig and refinery accidents: Offshore oil employers have no Worker’s Compensation coverage requirement. Regardless of the circumstances, when a worker sustains fatal injuries on the job, the survivors have a legal right to sue and recover damages under the Jones Act, a provision under Maritime Law.
A wrongful death judgment pays damages to survivors for losses sustained because of a family member’s death. A jury awards damages on the emotional, social, and financial contributions that a decedent would have made to his family members. These potential damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of services
- Loss of financial support
- Family grief and emotional losses
The Texas Wrongful Death Statute also allows survivors to recover exemplary or punitive damages when they prove that a defendant’s “willful act or omission or gross negligence” caused the decedent’s fatal injuries.
Compensable Damages for a Survival Action
The Wrongful Death Statute allows a decedent’s personal injury claim to proceed after death. According to the law, heirs, legal representatives, and the estate of the injured person may recover damages for losses the injured person endured before death. The lawsuit prevents a negligent party from avoiding responsibility for negligent actions. Recoverable damages include the economic and non-economic costs typical to a personal injury claim.
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Surgical expenses
- Prosthetic devices and structures
- Scar revision
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of bodily functions
- Emotional distress
- Diminishment of family and spousal relationships
The Fight to Win Your Corpus Christi Wrongful Death Suit
As with any personal injury lawsuit, winning a wrongful death case requires legal knowledge, attention to detail, and a dedication to producing the best possible outcome. The fight to win your loved one’s wrongful death case begins immediately after a fatal injury occurs and only ends once you have executed the settlement documents. Much of the information we’ve gathered during the early stages of a case has become critical evidence during negotiations, mediations, or trials.
Once our client decides to pursue a wrongful death action, our firm begins a comprehensive investigation. We use all available information to pinpoint the pertinent legal issues and all involved parties. We also work to document and preserve evidence and build a strong legal argument. Listed Below are some of the things that will be explored in the investigation process:
- Accident scene: We use photographs and diagrams to identify and document landmarks, locations, and environmental information at indoor and outdoor accident locations.
- Witness statements: We review available witness testimony and seek additional witnesses. Testimony is more believable when presented by an unbiased third party.
- Official reports: We gather police, EMT, and other official reports that search for key post-accident details and police officers’ opinions on negligence and fault.
- Medical records: We obtain deceased victims’ hospitalization, injury, and treatment details to establish the damage aspect of our clients’ survival actions.
- Product testing: When a case involves a potential product defect, we push to obtain the product for testing before the manufacturers can take control.
- Formal discovery: When a defendant’s evidence proves difficult to retrieve, we seek to obtain it through interrogatories, depositions, and formal document requests.
We use the evidence gained in our informal and formal investigations to solidify our liability theories and pinpoint other negligent parties. When a corporate defendant is involved, additional negligent parties often include employers or subcontractors who are statutorily or contractually responsible.
Our case evaluations often involve a damage assessment. Each wrongful death case’s value is based on the decedent’s life and personal circumstances. To complete our case evaluations, we attempt to learn as much as we possibly can about a decedent’s family, career, income, activities, lifestyle, and future.
Insurance companies: After we file a wrongful death lawsuit on our clients’ behalf, an insurance company often controls the defense and settlement. By the time a lawsuit works its way through the legal process, the involved parties have enough information to assess liability and damages. Even in instances where liability and damages are clear, minimizing claim payouts is often an insurance company’s primary goal.
Insurance companies also realize that litigating a lawsuit can be costly for a plaintiff’s law firm. Thus, the companies sometimes push a case through discovery, hoping that the plaintiff will settle for a low figure rather than go to trial. In some cases, an insured’s policy limits aren’t high enough to pay the damages, so the insurance company offers few reasonable settlement options.
Self-insured entities: Some major corporate defendants, such as large trucking companies and industrial operations, self-insure their liability interests. As any paid damages come from their own funds, they are often overly conservative during settlement negotiations.
Before a trial, plaintiffs and defendants have opportunities to resolve cases through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation is an ADR negotiation process facilitated by an expert third party. Plaintiffs and defendants present some of their case information in a neutral environment. The process doesn’t always end with a settlement. However, it often brings the parties closer, makes them more cooperative, and eventually makes settlement possible.
Attorneys resolve many cases outside of a courtroom, but sometimes a trial is the only solution. Defendants and insurance companies sometimes choose to present their evidence before a judge and jury for several reasons.
- Defendants and their insurers believe that they have legitimate defenses to the wrongful death allegations.
- They feel a jury will render a lower verdict than the plaintiff’s settlement demand.
- They believe that they can defend a case based on damages, as their evidence indicates the alleged fatal injuries didn’t occur during the incident.
We Prepare Our Cases to Win
At the Patel Firm PLLC, our attorneys rely on their personal injury and litigation experience to deliver results. Our team conducts comprehensive investigations to recognize each case’s legal and damage issues. We prepare our clients’ cases from day one to withstand conservative negotiation strategies, legal challenges, and creative defenses. We always prepare our cases to win.
Experiencing the death of a loved one can be a painful and traumatic process, made all the worse when the loved one’s death was premature and potentially preventable. Such is often the case when a loved one passes away in an accident that results from another person or entity’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that someone else caused, you may be in a position to bring a claim or file a lawsuit for wrongful death damages. The experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death attorneys at The Patel Firm PLLC can first review your circumstances and determine if you are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. If so, we can assist you with pursuing your claim or filing your lawsuit for damages, and zealously advocating for your legal right to recover damages.
What accidents can lead to a Corpus Christi wrongful death claim?
Many types of accidents result from someone else’s negligence and may lead to an accident victim’s untimely death.Accidents and wrongful acts in Corpus Christi that can result in a fatality include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – When one motor vehicle collides with another, especially in a head-on collision, the result can be deadly. This danger is especially true when the collision occurs at a high rate of speed, when one of the vehicles involved in the collision is much smaller than the other (such as when a motorcycle is involved), or when the driver who causes the collision is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
- Bicycle accidents – When a motor vehicle strikes a bicycle, the collision may result in the bicyclist’s death. A bicycle accident collision may knock the rider from the bike and onto the ground. If the accident victim’s head, neck, or back strikes the ground directly, a fatality may occur.
- Construction site and workplace accidents – Construction sites are dangerous places. There are usually large and potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery present at construction sites, vehicles, and equipment, causing severe injuries and deaths. Moreover, construction workers often have to work on ladders and on top of scaffolds, creating a fall risk and increasing the chances of a fatal accident.
- Boating accidents – An individual involved in a boating accident may fall out of the boat and strike their head on an object in the water, resulting in a potentially fatal injury.
- Sports accidents -When players take part in sporting events, including contact sports, like football, they increase their chances of suffering serious and potentially fatal injuries.
- Medical negligence – In some cases, a person’s untimely death occurs because of negligence or malpractice on the part of a healthcare provider. The healthcare provider may negligently perform a procedure or may fail to diagnose (or misdiagnose) a patient’s medical condition, leading to the patient’s untimely death.
If someone you love has suffered a fatal injury in one of these types of accidents or occurrences that result from another person’s negligence, the skilled legal team of Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC can help. Let us review the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determine if you are in a position to file a claim for wrongful death. If you are, we can assist you with every aspect of filing your claim or lawsuit for damages in an efficient and timely manner.
What is considered a “wrongful death” in Corpus Christi? What is the purpose of filing a Corpus Christi wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death has a very specific meaning under state law. A wrongful death occurs as a direct result of a wrongful act, carelessness, negligence, or unskillfulness of another person or entity. The purpose of a wrongful death claim in Texas is to right a wrong.Although no amount of money can ever fully compensate for a loved one’s absence, filing a wrongful death claim often brings a sense of finality and closure to the deceased individual’s loved ones and holds the responsible persons or entities accountable.
The experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death attorneys at The Patel Firm PLLC can determine if your loved one’s death falls within the statutory definition of wrongful death. If so, we can help you file your claim for damages.
Who is eligible to file a Corpus Christi wrongful death claim or lawsuit?
Several individuals are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim or file a lawsuit for wrongful death damages in Texas.Individuals who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased individual include the surviving spouse of the decedent, as well as the surviving child or children. Moreover, the surviving parents of the decedent may be eligible to file a claim.
In some instances, the adopted child of a decedent may bring a claim or file a lawsuit for wrongful death. However, for this to occur, the adoption must have been completed when the individual actually filed the claim.
In Texas, the surviving sibling or siblings of the deceased individual may not file a claim for wrongful death benefits. It does not matter whether the siblings are natural siblings of the deceased loved one or adopted siblings. In either instance, these individuals are not eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit within the state.
If you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one, the experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death attorneys at The Patel Firm PLLC can help you throughout each step of the process.
What are the elements of proof in a Corpus Christi wrongful death claim or lawsuit?
In Texas wrongful death cases, the burden of proof rests with the claimant. The elements of proof in a wrongful death case are very similar to the elements of proof in a standard personal injury case.First, the claimant must demonstrate that the at-fault person or entity acted unreasonably under the circumstances. Unreasonable action typically means that the at-fault party did something that a reasonable and ordinary person would not have done under the same or similar circumstances, or that the at-fault party failed to do something that an ordinary person would have done under those same circumstances.
If the wrongful death claimant can demonstrate that someone else was at fault for the fatal accident, then they must then prove that the accident was a cause of the loved one’s untimely death. When it comes to satisfying this burden of proof, it may become necessary to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist, to help demonstrate causation (the accident caused the loved one’s death).
An experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death attorney at The Patel Firm PLLC can assist you with satisfying and proving all of the legal elements of your wrongful death claim. If necessary, we can also retain an expert on your behalf to assist with satisfying the elements of proof in your wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Will my Corpus Christi wrongful death case go to trial?
Although many wrongful death cases settle out of court long before the trial date, other cases do proceed all the way to trial. The question of whether a wrongful death claim will settle outside of court or whether it will face litigation is often a complex one.Moreover, there are a variety of factors that may be involved, including the at-fault party’s insurance company, the at-fault party’s insurance policy liability limits, and the willingness of the insurance company to offer fair and reasonable compensation to settle the case.
In a wrongful death claim (and in any personal injury claim, for that matter), the insurance company’s primary goal is to pay out as little money as possible in the satisfaction of a claim. Limiting payment allows the insurance company to keep premium money in-house for the benefit of its shareholders. Put simply, insurance companies do not make money by paying out large personal injury and wrongful death claims.
An experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyer at The Patel Firm PLLC will be your advocate, both during settlement negotiations and, if necessary, in the courtroom. We will zealously advocate for your legal rights (including your right to be compensated for the loss of your loved one) at the negotiation table. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the compensation that you deserve, we welcome the opportunity to litigate your wrongful death case in the Texas state court system to a conclusion.
What types of monetary compensation and damages are recoverable in Corpus Christi wrongful death claims and lawsuits?
The primary purpose of filing a claim or lawsuit for wrongful death is to recover monetary compensation for the premature death of your loved one. Although money can never take the place of a human life, it can help to bring justice and closure in the wake of your loved one’s passing.Some types of compensation that a wrongful death claimant may be eligible to pursue and recover in a Corpus Christi wrongful death action include:
- Compensation for mental distress – Losing a loved one is difficult enough. When a loved one dies in an accident that resulted from someone else’s carelessness or negligence, however, this can significantly compound the grief that loved ones feel following the death. These loved ones may even experience severe mental distress and emotional anguish, all of which are compensable as part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
- Loss of inheritance – In some instances, the surviving family members of a deceased loved one may lose all or part of their inheritance as a result of the deceased individual’s shortened life. This loss of inheritance is compensable as part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit filed later.
- Loss of earning capacity – In many cases, surviving family members who were dependent upon their deceased loved one’s income may quickly find they cannot pay bills and financially support themselves. Therefore, as part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the surviving family members can make a claim for loss of earning capacity, representing the decedent’s lost future income that the family members were relying on for financial support.
- Loss of the decedent’s emotional support, guidance, and companionship – Losing a loved one can create significant emptiness in the lives of surviving family members. Family members are often grief-stricken and have difficulty coping with their loved one’s untimely death. That lost support, guidance, and companionship is compensable in the form of wrongful death damages.
In some cases, when extreme recklessness, carelessness, or egregiousness lead to the decedent’s death, the surviving family members can bring a claim for punitive damages as part of the wrongful death claim. A court may award punitive damages as part of a wrongful death claim arising from a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver, for example.
Punitive damages punish wrongdoers for the harm that they cause and discourage other individuals and entities from committing similar wrongful acts in the future.
You should never have to deal with painful insurance issues during suck a grief-stricken time. The experienced Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC can assist you with pursuing the monetary recovery and compensation that you deserve for the loss of your loved one. If the at-fault party’s insurance company is unwilling to settle your case favorably, our experienced and dedicated legal team can assist you with pursuing compensation by filing aCorpus Christi wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf in the state court system.
If you believe someone else’s negligent act caused your loved one’s death, you must take immediate action. From the moment we accept our clients’ cases, the Patel Firm PLLC works to protect their rights. We’d like the opportunity to recover wrongful death damages to which your family is legally entitled. We realize that a settlement can’t replace your loved one; however, it can help you endure the financial changes that occur when you lose his or her love and support.
The Patel Firm Injury Accident Lawyers
1129 Airline Road
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
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