The sudden passing of a loved one due to negligence leaves families scrambling to pay bills, trying to understand the next steps, and asking for answers. If this is your situation, you could ask for help on all fronts.
Our Houston wrongful death lawyers can determine your eligibility for compensation, walk you through filing a claim or lawsuit, and investigate what happened to your loved one.
Compensation Options for Families After a Wrongful Death
To alleviate some of your burdens after a wrongful death, our team at Domingo Garcia can pursue compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- End-of-life care expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost income from the deceased
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
We know your loved one’s life cannot just be distilled into a list of bills, lost wages, and compensation. They were so much more than that. We work to make the responsible parties recognize your emotional fallout through pain and suffering damages. These can compensate you for what you and your lost loved one experienced. Your feelings about your loved one matter.
We Pursue Personalized Damages for Families of Deceased Accident Victims
It’s natural to be overwhelmed after a tragedy like this. Because of that, we can help you work through your losses to make sure nothing is left out of your claim or lawsuit. We focus on specifics.
If your family member suffered catastrophic injuries from a truck orcar accident or even a construction accident, hospitalizations, surgeries, and other costs could be included. Even though medical intervention for your loved one was sadly ineffective, the resulting bills still should not be your responsibility.
Our specificity extends to other damages. We consider income your loved ones couldn’t provide in their final days and projected future revenue losses. We also want your loved ones to receive the send-off they deserve. TheFederal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a funeral and burial pricing checklist. Our team can fight for damages that cover the unique final wishes of your family member.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Houston, call (713) 349-1500
Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages in Texas?
In Texas, there is no cap on punitive damages in certain types of personal injury claims. This includes cars and truck accidents and construction or other on-the-job injuries. These damages aren’t about compensating you for specific losses. Instead, they are a form of punishment for the negligent party. Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases of gross negligence or deliberate harm.
Economic damages are for specific expenses, such as hospital bills or funeral costs. Non-economic damages refer to personal losses, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium.
Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me (713) 349-1500
How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Support Surviving Loved Ones
Many people equate lawyers with lawsuits, but our team can help with insurance claims, evidence gathering, and even just understanding your rights and options. Think of us as a source of information and assistance. We encourage you to come to us with your questions by offering a free consultation.
To make you even more at ease, we also work on a contingency-fee basis. That means you don’t pay anything out of pocket—no court fees, investigative costs, or expenses for expert help. Only once we have won or settled your case do we talk about our own payment. Consider it an additional assurance that we will stay dedicated to your case.
We Will Handle the Insurance Companies
Insurance companies factor in many wrongful death cases. Domingo Garcia can deal with them directly on your behalf. During this difficult time, you should not have to haggle over the details of your loved one’s claim. We can:
- Handle phone calls and emails with adjusters
- Review paperwork or settlement offers
- Ensure your claim isn’t being lowballed
- Take the lead on discussions and negotiations
- Work to keep the claims process from dragging
- Hold adjusters and companies accountable
- Fight back against bad faith practices
We Evaluate Your Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit
Making sure an insurance company or negligent party isn’t offering you less than you deserve requires knowing what you do deserve. Our attorneys conduct an independent investigation and review your losses to ensure we fight for the appropriate amount.
We Negotiate and Review Paperwork
Knowing your case’s value allows us to negotiate fair settlement terms with insurance companies or negligent parties. We translate complicated legal language, let you know your rights, represent you in negotiations, and give you time to review your options.
We Prepare for Court
Many cases settle out of court, but we are committed to taking your case as far as necessary. Much of the evidence and work we do to settle can also be put toward building a court case if all parties can’t agree. Although we work to resolve your case quickly, we won’t back down from a fight.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
Wrongful death is a blanket category for several types of fatal accidents caused by negligence. Below are some common cases we can tackle for families.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Unfortunately, we often handle fatal motor vehicle accident cases. A wrongful death roadway accident could involve:
In any of these cases, negligent behaviors like impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, failing to yield, or making improper turns could cause a fatal accident. Drunk driving accidents alone cost over 13,000 lives in Texas from 2009 to 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Truck accidents are also particularly devastating, thanks to the difference in size between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. In fact, when it comes to commercial vehicles, these types of accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States.
Motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents are also at a greater risk of causing catastrophic and fatal injuries on the road due to their lack of protection compared to other vehicles. This can lead to severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI), internal bleeding, and spinal cord injuries that are more likely to prove fatal.
Everyone is expected to avoid causing harm to others. More than just violating traffic laws, these accidents violate that duty of care. If you lost a loved one to a fatal crash, you could have grounds for a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Construction Accidents and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
While Texas does not require employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance, per the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), those who opt out of coverage can be subject to personal injury claims. For wrongful death victims who suffered a fatal injury in the “course and scope” of employment, their surviving loved ones may pursue monetary compensation with a wrongful death construction accident claim.
The most common type of construction workplace accidents include…
- Falls caused by a lack of proper safety equipment, guardrails, scaffolding, uncovered manholes, and other fall protection equipment.
- Flying or falling objects that strike construction workers or construction site bystanders.
- Cave-ins or heavy machinery errors which cause the victim to be compressed or crushed.
- Electrocutions caused by unsafe machinery, defective equipment, or exposed wiring.
Oil Field Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims
If your loved one was killed in an accident while working in an oil field, your wrongful death claim may involve the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), which could affect your deceased loved one’s rights. OSHA regulations also apply to these accidents. If we can prove that OSHA’s rules were violated, it can affect your compensation.
This can seem overwhelming when you’re coping with your loss, but we will make sure you understand your rights and options. Let us take the weight off of you so you can focus on healing. We will fight to get you the fair and adequate compensation you need to move forward.
Trucking Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims after fatal trucking accidents can be especially complex due to state and federal trucking regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees commercial license regulations, requires all truck drivers and trucking companies to comply with regulations as per 49 CFR Part 395. This includes setting limits on driver schedules and requiring drivers to keep logs of their driving time. It also includes:
- Limits on how long truck drivers can drive without taking breaks
- The size of the load a truck can carry
- Vehicle maintenance schedules
- Rules for drug and alcohol intake
In addition to these federal guidelines, the The Texas Department of Public Safety also regulates intrastate truck drivers. This state agency regulates load and weight limitations, licensing and registration, equipment restrictions, and seatbelt use. This agency also regulates how many hours drivers can drive each day and week and the size of loads that can be safely carried.
Our wrongful death lawyers will examine the evidence in your case and determine which parties violated these regulations and can be held accountable for your loss.
Other Wrongful Death Liability
Anytime someone’s careless action or inaction causes harm, including death, victims can pursue legal action to obtain damages. That could include scenarios like:
- Slip and fall cases causing traumatic brain injuries
- Dog attacks causing fatal injuries, infections, or sepsis
- Swimming pool accidents that lead to accidental drowning
- Trampoline accidents that cause fatal head or spine injuries
- Maintenance failures causing carbon monoxide poisoning
- Lack of security could lead to the loss of a life from a crime
- Defective products like ones that lead to cancer or other illnesses
The CDC reports that drowning is the leading cause of death for children, and falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Not all those cases may lead to a claim or lawsuit, but some could result from negligence.
Following a fatal accident, you may not realize how fault works in your case. By consulting our wrongful death team, you can learn more about what happened, if it could have been prevented, and how to hold the correct parties accountable.
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Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Houston Get Results
Oursettlements speak for themselves. Some of our notable wrongful death cases include:
- $3.5 million settlement for a wrongful death from a commercial motor vehicle accident involving a company van
- $$8.5 million for a truck accident involving the death of two family members
- $1 million for a gas tank explosion due to over-pressurization
- $ 4 million for the loss of a son on a job site due to a general contractor’s negligence
Each case will be different, but our past cases illustrate our wrongful death and personal injury lawyers’ commitment to getting results for our Houston clients.
How Our Lawyers Build a Wrongful Death Case
In all the above examples of wrongful death cases, we highlight the importance of negligence. This is what sets preventable events apart from unpreventable accidents. Negligence involves:
- Duty of care: Someone had an obligation to warn about a hazard, take steps to prevent injury, or behave in a way that avoided causing a death.
- Violation of duty: That party failed in their duty, such as a property owner who didn’t put up signs about a puddle, a doctor who didn’t check a patient’s allergies before prescribing medication, or a driver who got behind the wheel while drunk.
- Consequences caused: Due to that violation of duty of care, your family member suffered a fatal accident, such as from a fall, malpractice, roadway crash, or other preventable situation.
- Damages warranted: Because of that violation of the duty of care and your loss of a loved one, you and your family are entitled to economic and non-economic damages.
We aim to provide evidence of those four points, connecting negligent actions with a responsible party and your losses.
Negligent Parties in Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you lost your family member to an accident on a Houston roadway, our wrongful death attorneys could pursue:
- Other drivers who were negligent by speeding, driving drunk, etc.
- Automakers and designers who made errors in design or manufacturing
- Maintenance shops and dealerships that failed to notice or fix a problem
- Rideshare, trucking, and other companies that are responsible for employee actions
- Government entities that fail to maintain public spaces or vehicles
Fault can even be shared. A trucking company employee might not have loaded an 18-wheeler correctly, leading cargo to spill on a freeway, causing a fatal accident. In this case, both that employee and the company itself might be responsible. Likewise, your family member’s accident may have involved both a speeding driver and a poorly maintained road. This would make the driver and the government responsible.
Negligent Parties in a Construction Accident That Leads to Wrongful Death
If you lost your loved one due to a construction accident that resulted in a wrongful death, there may be one or more negligent parties you can file a claim against. These can include:
- General contractors
- Other trade contractors
- Equipment manufacturers
- Equipment rental companies
Since fault can be split between several parties, and those parties may try to blame each other to avoid being held responsible, our attorneys can step in to determine how to recover damages from everyone involved.
Other Possible Negligent Parties in Your Family’s Wrongful Death Case
Other cases of wrongful death could point to negligence on the part of:
- Property owners
- Product manufacturers
- Construction companies
- Government entities
- Independent contractors
- Safety inspectors
Property owners are responsible for issues like cleaning up spills, installing adequate lighting, posting about hazards, restraining animals, and providing security. Failures in those and other premises maintenance areas are grounds for a case. Government entities are bound to similar obligations.
Companies and contractors also have a duty of care to customers and clients to offer safe products, services, and sites. Construction or remodeling accidents, improperly installed equipment, product defects or designs, and marketing failures can all be the basis for a wrongful death claim or suit if they caused a fatality. Safety inspectors and other regulators are also expected to do their job to notice mistakes and prevent accidents.
Evidence Used in Wrongful Death Cases to Support the Claim
Underpinning a claim or lawsuit against a negligent party is evidence. In fatal accidents, we will explore evidence like:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Receipts and bills
- Photographs of the accident site
- Photographs of injuries
- Eyewitness accounts
- Accident reconstruction
- Analysis by experts
- History of liable parties
At Domingo Garcia, we utilize experts to add legitimacy to your case. For medical care malpractice cases, that could mean shedding light on the nuances of a surgical procedure. For motor vehicle accidents, professional expertise could demonstrate the mechanics of the crash.
Not only does evidence bolster a claim of negligence, but it also illustrates what you, your family, and the deceased suffered. Thus, on top of identifying the negligent party and highlighting their carelessness, evidence can help us demonstrate the damages you need.
Specialized Evidence Could Benefit Your Wrongful Death Case
Just as we personalize damages to each case, our wrongful death lawyers will personalize evidence depending on the type of accident. Some additional support we might use includes:
- Blood alcohol content (BAC) tests
- Drug testing
- Text messages
- Social media postings
- Traffic camera footage
- Timeline of events
- App usage
- Truck transportation logs
- Previous complaints
- Inspection reports
BAC and drug tests can point to a driver or employee being impaired at the time of an accident. Texts, social media, and app usage can show a record of distracted driving or catch people in a lie. Timelines are especially useful in premises liability cases, as they can show when a property owner was or should have been aware of the hazard that claimed your family member’s life.
Your case may involve even more specific evidence, including testimony from unique specialists. When we investigate your case, we track down any lead and use any possible data to help your family receive justice.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Houston?
Texas law only allows certain family members to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit:
- Children, adopted or biological
- Parents, adopted or biological
If no family members bring an action of wrongful death against a liable party within three months of the deceased’s passing, executors or administrators can then pursue a claim or suit under Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 71.004.
However, siblings or unmarried partners cannot file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in Houston. If this describes your situation, our personal injury lawyers could review your case and determine what options you have.
Texas Statute of Limitations
Eligible family members or executors typically have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit under Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003. The statute of limitations is dated from the decedent’s passing. Thus, if your loved one suffered a truck accident and spent several weeks in the hospital prior to their passing, the deadline for filing a lawsuit would be two years from the death, not the accident.
Those two years can be used to investigate and build your case, so don’t delay reaching out for help. Even if you are pursuing a wrongful death insurance claim, we could still prepare for a lawsuit in case negotiations break down.
Moreover, the statute of limitations helps us preserve evidence. Witnesses may forget what happened, or records may be lost if too much time has passed since an accident. Working within this deadline can therefore be to our advantage.
Some scenarios can cause the statute of limitations to be delayed. For instance, if your loved one was killed in a hit-and-run accident, the deadline may be extended until the guilty party is found.
Surviving children can also potentially have longer to file a lawsuit if they were minors when the accident occurred. Similarly, suppose surviving family members were incapacitated at the time of the death, such as in the same accident. In that case, the statute of limitations might not begin until they can file a lawsuit.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases of Wrongful Death
Some wrongful death cases also involve criminal charges against the responsible party. Charges can range from violating traffic laws to manslaughter or homicide. If convicted, the guilty party could face consequences like jail time, fines, community service, counseling, and sex offender registration.
However, criminal cases don’t award damages to victims. Criminal and civil cases are completely independent of each other. The former holds someone accountable for violating the law while the latter holds them accountable for the personal damage they caused to the surviving family members. Moreover, even if someone is not convicted in a criminal court, they might still be held accountable in a civil case.
In some cases, if a party could have deterred or prevented the criminal conduct they can be held responsible in civil court. This is a common occurrence if a property owner or manager, like an apartment complex, fails to take reasonable precautions to protect its residents or guests from foreseeable criminal behavior.
Consequently, pursuing a civil lawsuit can provide closure and financial compensation for families that may not be found in a criminal case. Pursuing civil action is not about quantifying your lost loved one’s life but recognizing their loss and how that loss has affected you.
Get Your Free Wrongful Death Case Consultation Today
The team at Domingo Garcia is ready to take on your case so you can focus on processing, grieving, and healing. Our wrongful death lawyers can review your Houston case today to go over the grounds of your case, talk about damages, and start strategizing, all at no cost to you. Reach out now to hire our team.