Everyone must do their part to keep Dallas safe, whether following traffic laws while driving, creating a secure work environment, or warning others of potential hazards on property they own. Failure to consider other people’s safety can lead to needless deaths and lawsuits.
A Dallas wrongful death lawyer from our law firm will help you consider your options after a loved one’s sudden passing. You may have the right to sue the responsible party and secure compensation for outstanding bills, emotional suffering, and more. Discuss your case with our legal experts in a free consultation.
Texas Wrongful Death Damages
You already know how the untimely death has changed your life, though you may have trouble putting your experience and loss into words. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer from our Dallas office will speak with you about what happened and draft a list for the at-fault party’s insurance company.
It is important to note that you cannot sue for any damages your loved one already sought before their death. For example, if they completed a personal injury action before passing away, tell us about it, including how much compensation they pursued and won. We can exclude this amount from the wrongful death settlement we seek for you.
Not all wrongful deaths are instantaneous; sometimes, the victim survives for an extended time. A wrongful death victim may have lived long enough to:
- Go to the hospital
- Undergo surgery
- Require medication, physical therapy, or assistive devices
- See a psychiatrist or psychologist
- Hire a home nurse
Medical expenses refer to the costs associated with the medical care and treatment the deceased person received due to the injury or illness that led to their death. The compensation sought will depend on the specific medical treatments and other factors, such as the length of time your loved one received medical care before their death.
Even after someone passes away, there are tasks you need to complete and services you need to pay for as their living family. These include items or services, such as:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Settling your loved one’s estate
- Hiring a lawyer to help you deal with any of your loved one’s outstanding legal matters
The damages you access depend on the specific costs incurred and the customs of your family and community. By working with a skilled attorney, you can move forward with the necessary financial resources to honor your loved one’s memory.
Loss of Income and Financial Support
In the time between your loved one’s accident and their passing, they had to deal with catastrophic injuries that forced them to:
- Take time off work to receive treatment and allow their injuries to heal
- Work fewer hours
- Accept light-duty assignments that did not pay as much as they previously received
- Quit working completely
- Train for and find a new job that could accommodate their injuries
Any of those scenarios in your loved one’s life cost them and your family a lot of money. In addition, their premature death means that the future wages you planned on using to support your family are no longer forthcoming, and the resulting financial strain requires you to:
- Go back to work
- Find a job that pays more
- Go into debt
- Apply for government benefits
A Dallas wrongful death attorney from our law firm will calculate the money your loved one lost and how much they likely would have earned over their lifetime. Receiving this compensation would make it easier to support your family as you grieve and give you more time to think of a long-term plan.
Fatal accidents are devastating for both the victim and their family. Whether your loved one passed away immediately or after a prolonged period, you could be eligible for additional money based on their:
- Physical pain and distress
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of quality of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating and impacts your life in many ways. Your suffering could also entitle you to damages. The grief you went through after their death, including the fact that they are no longer here to give advice and show affection, is compensable through damages for loss of companionship.
Furthermore, damages for loss of consortium address the loss of the intimate relationship between the plaintiff and their deceased spouse or partner. These damages seek to compensate the plaintiff for relationship losses, including companionship, sexual intimacy, and emotional support.
If the defendant’s actions are found to be particularly egregious or intentional, punitive damages may be awarded. Unlike compensatory damages intended to compensate the plaintiff for their losses, punitive damages punish the defendant for their behavior and deter similar behavior in the future.
In a wrongful death case, punitive damages may be sought in addition to compensatory damages to send a message that the defendant’s conduct will not be tolerated. In Dallas, the amount of punitive damages awarded is typically limited by state law. Consult our lawyers to learn if you qualify for punitive damages.
How Much does Texas Award for Wrongful Death Damages?
Your wrongful death damages should cover all the monetary, physical, and psychological harm you and your deceased loved one experienced. The amount you receive can therefore vary widely, depending on the following:
- What evidence is available
- How compelling the evidence is
- How much money you and your loved one spent
- How much you and your loved one suffered physically and emotionally
- If there are any limits on the liable party’s insurance policy
At our law firm, we will always fight for maximum compensation. We have 35 years of experience fighting for justice, during which time we built a successful record of million-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients.
For example, after a boom on a concrete pump collapsed and caused an unnecessary death, Domingo Garcia secured a $3.83 million settlement for the victim’s family. Our wrongful death lawyers worked hard to determine that amount and ensure it met the client’s needs. Now we can do the same for you.
Who Pays Damages for a Wrongful Death in Texas?
You may instinctively think that whoever is liable for the wrongful death must also pay damages, but this is not strictly true. Usually, the liable party’s insurance company will pay victims based on their client’s negligence. For example:
- If a drunk driver hits your loved one, the driver’s car insurance could pay for damages.
- If your loved one was killed at work, damages should be covered under workers’ compensation.
- The manufacturer’s insurance could pay damages if your loved one developed cancer from a faulty medical product.
An exception would be if the liable party does not have insurance or carries a policy with limits that do not cover the full extent of your financial loss. For instance, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) states that all Texas drivers must purchase at least the following:
- $30,000 of coverage for each person they injure in an accident
- $60,000 of total coverage for each accident they cause
- $25,000 of coverage for property damage they cause in an accident
If a Texas driver does not carry the legally mandated amount of insurance, you will have a more difficult time recovering. You could try to sue the driver personally for the remainder of what you need, but without legal representation, you could encounter problems like:
- The liable party claims that they do not have the money
- The liable party’s lawyer’s attempts to slow down or stonewall your lawsuit
- The liable party declares bankruptcy to get out of paying anything
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases in Dallas
Many parties can cause a wrongful death in Dallas, particularly if they hold power over someone else. Below are a few common scenarios that might result in fatal injuries. However, if your loved one’s cause of death is not listed below, you may still recover compensation. Our legal team will tell you more through a free case evaluation.
Every job has unique hazards, but some are more likely to cause fatal accidents than others. The risk of an accident increases if the employer does not take proper steps to ensure employee safety.
The report issued by the TDI states that there were 469 fatal workplace injuries in the state in 2020. The deadliest industries were:
- Construction Accidents, with 127 fatalities
- Transportation and warehousing, with 96 fatalities
- Natural resources and mining, with 54 fatalities
The same report explores the types of workplace injuries most likely to result in fatalities. These numbers reveal the following:
- Transportation accidents accounted for 46% of all fatal work accidents.
- Falls and deadly contact with machinery (e.g., being caught beneath something heavy) accounted for 15% of workplace fatalities.
- Violence inflicted by a person or animal accounted for 12% of 2020 fatalities.
- Toxic, hazardous, or otherwise harmful objects or substances (e.g., chemicals or very hot temperatures) caused 10% of fatal work accidents.
Dependents or beneficiaries of a worker who dies due to a work-related injury or illness can access benefits through workers’ compensation. These benefits may include funeral expenses, a lump-sum payment to the surviving spouse or children, and ongoing financial support for the dependents.
A report compiled by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shows how many fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred in Dallas County in 2021. The numbers reveal the following:
- More than 352 people died in 324 traffic accidents.
- About 40% or 131 cases of these accidents 4 occurred on city streets.
- Another 106 accidents, or 33% fatal, occurred on the interstate.
Fatal traffic accidents can involve drivers and passengers of cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. Another TxDOT report revealed that the most common causes of fatal accidents throughout Texas are:
- Failing to stay in one lane caused 516 accidents
- Driving under the influence of alcohol led to 358 accidents
- Driving at an unsafe speed caused 312 wrecks
- Speeding out of control led to 210 crashes
- Driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, 180 accidents
- Pedestrians who do not yield the right of way to a driver led to 170 traffic accidents
These figures show that the liable party in a fatal traffic accident case will likely be a careless driver. However, there are cases where we could pursue the driver’s employer, a car part manufacturer, a mechanic, or someone else.
Types Of Traffic Accidents Which May Include Wrongful Death Cases
Any product available on the market is supposed to be safe for users. However, products can pose potentially fatal safety hazards if the company manufacturing them does not follow safety procedures at one of these three levels:
- Design: The product concept is fundamentally flawed.
- Manufacturing: The product is made from inherently dangerous or inappropriate materials.
- Marketing: The product is advertised for uses it should not be, or the manufacturer failed to include a warning about potential hazards.
These faults could make any product dangerous, including medications, medical devices, tools and appliances, chemicals, toys, furniture, and motor vehicle parts.
The manufacturer of a faulty product is responsible for recalling it as soon as they realize it could be dangerous. If they do not, the defective product could cause injuries by:
- Directly causing a severe injury
- Malfunctioning and causing a fatal accident
- Exposing your loved one to dangerous chemicals or toxins
Our wrongful death lawyers in Dallas want to help you prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the hazards of their product. We will then pursue the compensation that is rightfully yours.
When visiting another person’s property, you expect:
- Walkways to be kept clear and in reasonably good condition.
- To see warning signs if there are any potential hazards from, for instance, slick spots or falling objects.
- Hazards like swimming pools or vicious dogs to be separated from the public.
- Any grass, bushes, or trees on the property to be trimmed and pruned enough not to make walking difficult or dangerous.
As already discussed, slips and falls accounted for 15% of all workplace fatalities in Texas in 2020. However, such accidents and other premises liability cases can happen to anyone, not just workers. They are especially dangerous to those over 65. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 32,000 adults in the U.S. die after a fall each year.
Also, according to the CDC, the best way for older adults to protect themselves against deadly falls is to:
- Exercise regularly
- Ask their doctor to address any concerns with their vision, balance, or feet
- Eliminate trip hazards, like clutter, in your own home
Sadly, these steps may not be enough when encountering an unexpected hazard. For example, the owner should be held liable if someone dies after an injury on their property.
How Trucking Company Insurance Limits Can Affect Your Claim
According to Texas and federal law, truck drivers and trucking companies must have adequate coverage. The type of cargo determines the minimum coverage allowed by law. For example, if your loved one were killed in a truck accident in Dallas, the following coverage limits would apply:
- Texas law requires trucks with household goods to carry $300,000 in liability coverage.
- Texas law requires trucks with general freight to carry a minimum of $500,000.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucks that carry general freight to have a minimum of $750,000 in coverage.
Under federal law, the maximum liability for commercial trucks is $5 million. However, you may get more compensation if you file a wrongful death claim against the trucking company rather than the truck’s driver.
At our law firm, we always pursue the path that leads to the highest award for our clients. For example, we secured an $8.75 million settlement for an 18-wheeler truck accident victim. Our attorneys will showcase the full economical impact of your loss and help you recover.
Our Dallas Wrongful Death Lawyers Will Help Your Family
The job of a wrongful death lawyer is varied and may differ slightly depending on the needs of the case they are currently representing. We offer a wide range of legal services, including:
Collect Evidence to Support the Wrongful Death Claim
We will help prove to the liable party’s insurance company that their client is responsible for your loved one’s wrongful death. Depending on what type of accident your loved one was involved in, evidence could come from:
- The official police report (if the police were called to the accident scene)
- Surveillance footage (if a camera caught the accident or its aftermath)
- Witness statements (if anyone saw the accident or its aftermath)
- Expert statements (if we think getting a third-party opinion may be helpful)
You would also need to prove the extent of your loved one’s injuries and how much the treatment cost your family. Medical records, bills, receipts, paystubs, tax filings, and doctor’s statements could all serve this goal.
Speak to Insurance Companies After a Wrongful Death
After the accident, you or your loved one (if they were still alive) probably received a call from the liable party’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster may have told you things like how they:
- Wanted to arrange a time to talk with you about the accident and collect any relevant documentation you have about the accident
- Would like to take a recorded statement from you about the accident
- Might offer you a fast settlement for your loved one’s injuries or wrongful death
Remember Not to Speak With Insurance Representatives Without Representation
If and when an insurance adjuster contacts you, remember you do not have to speak with them alone. In fact, doing so could jeopardize your payout because:
- You are emotionally compromised by the wrongful death and may not think clearly.
- You might end up saying something that sounds incriminating, even if you did not mean it that way.
- You have not had a chance to evaluate your case’s worth, which gives the insurance company an opening to pay you less than you deserve.
Instead of responding directly to the insurance company, tell them you would prefer to communicate through your lawyer. A wrongful death attorney in Dallas will handle all communications with the insurance company and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Negotiate a Settlement for Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death
After familiarizing ourselves with the fatal accident that claimed your loved one’s life, we contact the liable party or their insurance company. Our firm can send a demand letter on your behalf, explaining that you want compensation and how much you need.
If the insurance company offers a fair settlement immediately, your case ends quickly. Unfortunately, they are not always willing to do this. One of our wrongful death attorneys may have to:
- Follow up with them to get a response to the demand letter
- Meet their representatives in person
- Take them through all our evidence showing their client is at fault and the extent of your family’s losses
- Fight back against attempts to lower the payout
If necessary, we will take your case to trial and seek a jury award instead of a settlement. However, it is often more convenient for all parties to settle out of court.
Go to Trial to Represent Your Family
We will represent you and your family in the courtroom by:
- Submitting all the evidence as trial exhibits, as well as any other paperwork the judge requests
- Setting trial dates
- Selecting jury members
- Appearing in court on your behalf (you would not have to appear yourself)
- Preparing witnesses to appear on the stand
- Questioning our witnesses as well as the defense’s witnesses
- Arguing that your loved one should not have died that day and that you deserve fair compensation for the loss
- Disproving the defense’s arguments
The courtroom is an unfamiliar environment for most people. As a result, you may be unaware of the many different procedures, regulations, and deadlines involved in fighting a case in court. One of our Dallas wrongful death lawyers will take care of everything for you, so you have one less thing to worry about as you try to rebuild your life following a wrongful death.
Protect Your Loved One’s Reputation
In their efforts to reduce how much they must pay, the insurance company may blame the accident and resulting injuries on the deceased victim, who is no longer here to defend themselves. For example, they might claim:
- Your loved one was reckless
- Your loved one did not seek medical treatment quickly enough, and this is what made their injuries fatal
- Your loved one’s fatal injuries or illness were caused by something other than their client’s actions
Under TX Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 33, you cannot recover any damages if the insurance company successfully claims that your loved one is more than 50% responsible for their injuries. However, our legal team will protect you against such tactics by building a strong case supporting your wrongful death lawsuit.
Reduce Your Expenses
We know how expensive wrongful deaths are. The last thing we want you to worry about is whether you can afford legal representation.
Our law firm makes our services more affordable by:
- Evaluating every caller’s case at no charge and no obligation
- Charging no attorney’s fees upfront
- Only charging attorney’s fees after we have secured compensation for the client and waiving those fees if we win nothing
We also save you money by making sure you ask for the correct amount of damages the first time. You are only allowed to sue someone for a particular accident once, so miscalculating your damages could mean you end up with less money than you need and no way to get more.
Call Domingo Garcia’s Wrongful Death Lawyers
On behalf of everyone at Domingo Garcia, we are sorry for your loss. We aim to help those seeking justice and compensation after a wrongful death. You can count on us to help you through these challenging times ahead.
Contact us today for a free case review. Our Dallas lawyers will champion your rights after your loved one’s wrongful death. If you decide to take legal action, we are here for you.