How A San Antonio Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You With Your Claim
The San Antonio wrongful death attorneys at The Patel Firm have diligently represented numerous families coping with the loss of a loved one due to others’ carelessness. These devoted lawyers fight tirelessly to ensure these families receive the justice and compensation they are owed.
Have you suffered a loss in San Antonio due to an accident?
Connect with our San Antonio wrongful death attorneys at The Patel Firm today at 210-325-9990. We’re here to listen to your story. There are no upfront fees, and our initial consultation is free. If we decide we can assist you and choose to take your case, we’ll immediately start working to secure the compensation you deserve.Need Help? Let’s Connect.
Table of Contents
- San Antonio Wrongful Death Attorney
- What is a Wrongful Death Action?
- What Causes Wrongful Death Claims?
- Who Can Recover Compensation in a Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
- Why Hire a San Antonio Wrongful Death Attorney for Your Case?
- Get the Justice and Compensation You Deserve with a San Antonio Wrongful Death Attorney
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that San Antonio had 38,461 total motor vehicle crashes in 2021 that included 171 fatal crashes causing 182 fatalities, and San Antonio Police Department Sergeant Anthony Dimmick told KSAT-TV that the 205 deadly crashes the department responded to in 2021 was the highest number recorded. The 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Division of Workers’ Compensation states that there were 469 fatal occupational injuries in Texas in 2020, meaning an incident rate of fatalities that was 3.9 per 100,000 full-time employees in 2020.
Every single kind of accident in Texas has the potential to cause serious and possibly even fatal injuries, and it can be extremely complicated for the family that is left behind to know what steps should be taken to obtain financial compensation for their loved one’s death. All people should be quick to seek the help of an experienced San Antonio wrongful death lawyer in these cases because legal representation will be incredibly important for families so they can know that they are attempting to pursue compensation from the right parties and that their claims are being properly handled.
The first thing people need to understand about wrongful death claims is that they are civil actions, and civil cases are much different from criminal cases that may also be filed in conjunction with a person’s death. Whereas a prosecutor must prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, one of the highest legal standards, a civil case only needs to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which essentially translates to “more likely than not.”
A good example of this difference is the case of football star O.J. Simpson, who was found not guilty of murdering both his wife, Nicole Brown, and her companion, Ronald Goldman. A civil jury later found him liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman and battery against Brown, ordering him to pay $33.5 million in damages.
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.002, an action for damages arising from an injury causing a person’s death can be brought when liability exists. A person is liable for damages arising from an injury causing a person’s death when an injury was caused by the person’s or their agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.
People can be liable for damages arising from an injury that causes a person’s death if a person is the owner, charterer, proprietor, or hirer of an industrial or public utility plant or street railway, railroad, steamboat, stagecoach, or other vehicle for transportation of goods or passengers, and an injury was caused by the person’s or their agent’s or servant’s neglect, wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default. A person is also liable for damages arising from an injury causing a person’s death if the person is a trustee, receiver, or other person in charge of or in control of a street railway, railroad, stagecoach, steamboat, or other vehicle for transportation of goods or passengers, of an industrial or public utility plant, or other machinery, and an injury was caused by a person’s neglect, wrongful act, unskillfulness, carelessness, or default, a person’s servant’s or agent’s neglect, wrongful act, carelessness, unfitness, unskillfulness, or default, or a bad or unsafe condition of a street railway, railroad, or other machinery under a person’s control or operation.
A person is also liable for damages arising from an injury causing another person’s death if the person was a trustee, receiver, or other person in charge of or in control of a street railway, railroad, stagecoach, steamboat, or other vehicle for transportation of either goods or passengers, of an industrial or public utility plant, or of other machinery, and an action could have been brought against the owner of the street railway, railroad, or other machinery if they had been acting as operator.
Senate Bill 319 (SB 319) amended both the Civil Practice and Remedies Code and the Penal Code such that the term death now includes for an individual who is an unborn child and the failure to be born alive while individual now includes an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.
People should also be aware that Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.021 further establishes the survival statute, under which a cause of action for personal injury to the health, reputation, or person of an injured person will not abate because of the death of the injured person or because of the death of a person liable for the injury. A personal injury action will survive to and in favor of the heirs, legal representatives, and estate of the injured person so the action survives against the liable person and the person’s legal representatives and a suit can be instituted and prosecuted as if the liable person were alive.
As it relates to possible causes of wrongful death, people could have a wide variety of different possible accident claims. Different kinds of accidents in Texas can easily cause fatal results.
Common causes of wrongful death actions in San Antonio often include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Boating accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Work-related accidents
- Construction accidents
- Criminal acts such as assault and battery
- Watercraft accidents
- Premises liability accidents such as slip and fall accidents
- Product liability incidents
- Accidental poisonings
- Nursing home negligence
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004 establishes that an action to recover damages in a wrongful death claim will be for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased person. A surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased can bring an action individually or all of the parties can bring an action for the benefit of all.
When none of the individuals entitled to bring an action begin an action within three months after the death of the person, their executor or administrator can bring and prosecute an action unless they are requested not to do so by the surviving spouse, children, and parents. Families can be entitled to various damages in a wrongful death case, including funeral and burial expenses, lost earning capacity, lost care, maintenance, services, support, advice, and counsel a deceased person would have provided, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost love, companionship, comfort, and society, and lost inheritance.
Certain cases could also involve punitive damages or exemplary damages, and Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.009 establishes that these awards are only provided in cases in which a death is caused by the wilful act or omission or gross negligence of the negligent party. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.008(b), punitive damages cannot be more than two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is greater.
Several wrongful death cases are based on the negligence of another person, which means a person did not do something they were supposed to do or they did something that placed other people in jeopardy. Proving negligence will require you to prove in court that all of the following existed:
- Duty of care — Another party had a legal duty to exercise a reasonable standard of care in performing any acts that might harm other people.
- Breach of duty — The party breached their duty of care by taking an inappropriate action.
- Causation — The party’s action caused the victim’s death.
- Damages — The death is causing financial problems for the family.
Assault or other wrongful acts will be intentional conduct, meaning that a person’s wrongful death claim will be based on intentional tort laws. In many death cases, an insurance company will quickly reach out to family members and attempt to offer them lump-sum settlements to resolve their case, but people need to be aware that anything they are being offered is probably a lowball amount that is nowhere near what people are actually entitled to.
You should reject any settlement offer and get an attorney involved in your case, because they will be able to step in and effectively negotiate with an insurer for a far more fair and full settlement. The first thing that a lawyer can do is immediately commence an independent investigation into your loved one’s death so they can determine the specific cause and also secure all important evidence in the case.
Was your loved one recently killed in any kind of accident in the greater San Antonio area? You will want to be sure that you are getting the legal help you need so you can have the best chance of getting justice in your case and holding a negligent party accountable, and The Patel Firm PLLC will be able to assist you with every aspect of your case.
Our firm has handled scores of wrongful death cases and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients, and we handle every case on a contingency fee basis, so you will never have to worry about paying us anything unless we win or settle your case. You can call 210-325-9990 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our San Antonio wrongful death attorney.
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