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 needs can lead to needless deaths, which can lead to lawsuits.
A Dallas wrongful death lawyer from our firm can help you consider your options after a loved one’s sudden passing. For instance, you may have the right to sue the at-fault party and secure compensation for outstanding bills, physical and emotional suffering, and more.
What do Wrongful Death Damages Include in Texas?
You already know how the wrongful death has affected your life, though you may have trouble putting those losses into words or listing them discreetly. A wrongful death lawyer from our Dallas office can speak with you about what happened and draft a list that we can show to the liable party’s insurance company.
However, it is important to realize that you cannot sue for any damages your loved one already sought on their own behalf. For example, if they completed a personal injury action before passing away, tell us about it, including how much compensation they sought and won. We can exclude this amount from the settlement we seek for you, which could include some or all of the following:
Not all wrongful deaths are instantaneous. Sometimes, the victim survives for even extended amounts of 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
The cost of these and other treatments could qualify you for compensation.
Even after someone passes away, there are tasks you need to complete and services you need to pay for as their living family. These expenses may include items or services such as:
- Having a funeral service
- Arranging for burial, including cremation or a coffin
- Settling your loved one’s estate
- Hiring a lawyer to help you deal with any of your loved one’s outstanding legal matters
You would not have incurred these expenses were it not for the wrongful death, so we can include reimbursement for these items in your legal action.
Loss of Income and Financial Support
In the time between your loved one’s injury or 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 great deal 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 lawyer from Domingo Garcia can calculate both the money your loved one lost and the money 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.
Physical and Mental Suffering
Fatal accidents can be 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 scar tissue
- Loss of consortium
Your own 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.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Dallas, call (214) 941-8300
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 our clients receive can therefore vary widely, depending on:
- What evidence is available
- How compelling the evidence is
- How much money you and your loved one lost or spent
- How much you and your loved one suffered physically and emotionally
- If there are any limits on the liable party’s insurance policy
After a boom on a concrete pump collapsed and caused an unnecessary death, Domingo Garcia was able to secure a $3.83 million settlement for the victim’s family. Our wrongful death lawyers worked hard to come up with that amount and ensure it met the client’s needs. Now we can do the same for you.
Dallas Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me (214) 941-8300
What Can a Dallas Wrongful Death Lawyer Do for My Family?
The job of a wrongful death lawyer is varied and may differ slightly depending on the needs of the case they are currently working. In past cases, the wrongful death lawyers at Domingo Garcia have performed some or all the following tasks:
Collecting Evidence to Support the Wrongful Death Claim
The only way you can get compensation is by proving 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 money they cost your family. Medical records, bills, receipts, paystubs, tax filings, and doctor’s statements could all serve this goal.
Negotiating a Settlement for Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death
Once we know as much as possible about the accident, it is time to 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 feel you deserve.
If the insurance company offers a fair settlement right away, your case can end 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 any of their attempts to lower their own payout
If necessary, we can 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.
Going to Trial to Represent Your Family
We can represent you and your family in the courtroom by:
- Submitting all the evidence we have found 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 their loss
- Disproving the defense’s arguments
The courtroom is an unfamiliar environment for most people. 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 can take care of it all for you, so you have one less thing to worry about as you try to rebuild your life following a wrongful death.
Protecting 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 your loved one, who is no longer here to defend themselves. For example, they may claim:
- Your loved one was just as reckless as their client, if not more reckless
- Your loved one did not seek medical treatment quickly enough, and this is what really 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, if the insurance company is successful in claiming that your loved one is more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries, you cannot recover any damages. However, to protect yourself against such tactics, you can allow Domingo Garcia to build a strong case supporting your lawsuit.
Reducing Your Expenses
We know how expensive wrongful deaths can be. The last thing we want you to worry about right now is whether you can afford legal representation.
Domingo Garcia 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—an outcome we do not want you to face.
Who Is Liable for a Wrongful Death 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 can result in fatal injuries. If your loved one’s cause of death is not listed below, you may still be able to recover compensation. Our firm can tell you more through a free case evaluation.
Every job has its own 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.
Page 3 of a report issued by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) states that there were 469 fatal workplace injuries in the state in 2020. The deadliest industries were:
- Construction, with 127 fatalities
- Transportation and warehousing, with 96 fatalities
- Natural resources and mining, with 54 fatalities
Page 7 of the same report explores the specific types of workplace injuries that are 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) each accounted for 15% of workplace fatalities.
- Intentional 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.
The liable party in a work accident will be whoever disregarded the worker’s safety. So, the liable party can be an employer who did not provide safety equipment, a coworker who ignored the rules, or a manufacturer or supplier who provided shoddy materials or tools.
Page 16 of 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:
- 352 people died in 324 traffic accidents.
- About 40% of these accidents (131) occurred on city streets.
- Another 33% (106) of fatal accidents occurred on the interstate.
Fatal traffic accidents can happen to both 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 (358)
- Driving at an unsafe speed (312)
- Speeding out of control (210)
- Driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol (180)
- Pedestrians who do not yield the right of way to a driver (170)
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.
Medical and other products are supposed to be safe, even helpful. However, their integrity could be compromised if the company manufacturing them does not follow safety procedures at one of these three levels:
- Design: The way the product is put together is fundamentally flawed.
- Manufacturing: The product is made from inherently dangerous materials or materials that cannot hold up under strain put upon them.
- Marketing: The product is advertised for uses it should not be, or the manufacturer failed to include a warning about potential hazards the product poses.
These faults could make just about any product deadly, including medications, medical devices, tools and appliances, chemicals, toys, furniture, and motor vehicle parts.
The manufacturer of any faulty product has a responsibility to recall the product as soon as they realize it could be dangerous. If they do not, the product could cause fatalities 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 can help you prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the hazards of their product. We can then pursue them for the compensation that is rightfully yours.
You may visit another person’s property for any number of reasons: you could be visiting a friend, going to work, or doing your shopping. In all these scenarios, you expect:
- Walkways to be kept clear and in reasonably good repair.
- 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 in appropriate ways (e.g., with a sturdy fence)
- Any grass, bushes, or trees on the property to be trimmed and pruned enough so as 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 types of 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 your doctor to address any concerns with your vision, balance, or feet
- Eliminate trip hazards, like clutter, in your own home
Sadly, these steps may not be enough if you encounter an unexpected hazard in an environment you do not control. If your loved one passed away after suffering an injury on another person’s property, the property owner should be held liable.
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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 your loved one was hit by a drunk driver, the driver’s car insurance would pay damages.
- If your loved one was killed at work, their employer’s insurance would pay damages.
- If your loved one developed cancer from a faulty medical product, the manufacturer’s insurance would pay damages.
The only 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 loved one’s injuries. Usually, uninsured liable parties are breaking the law by not carrying sufficient insurance. For instance, the TDI states that all Texas drivers must purchase at least:
- $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 could have a more difficult time getting the money your loved one’s passing entitles you to collect. You could then try to sue the driver personally for the remainder of what you need, but without a wrongful death lawyer from our Dallas office, you could encounter problems like:
- The liable party claims, honestly or otherwise, that they do not have the money
- The liable party’s lawyer’s attempts to slow or stonewall your lawsuit
- The liable party declares bankruptcy to get out of paying anything
How Trucking Company Insurance Limits Can Affect Your Claim
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to have adequate coverage according to Texas and federal law. The minimum coverage allowed by law is determined by the type of cargo the truck is being used to transport. If your loved one was killed in a truck accident in Dallas, the following coverage limits will apply:
- Texas law requires trucks that carry household goods to carry $300,000 in liability coverage.
- Texas law requires trucks carrying 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. You may be able to get more compensation if you file a claim against the trucking company rather than the truck’s driver.
Speaking 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. This person—likely an insurance adjuster—may have told you things like how they:
- Wanted to arrange a time to talk with you about the accident and to collect any relevant documentation you have pertaining to the accident
- Would like to take a recorded statement from you about the accident
- May be able to offer you a fast settlement for your loved one’s injuries or their wrongful death
If and when an insurance adjuster contacts you, remember that 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 be thinking clearly.
- You may 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 far less than you deserve.
Instead of responding directly to the insurance company, tell them that you would prefer to communicate through your lawyer. A wrongful death attorney with Domingo Garcia can then handle all communications with the insurance company and protect your rights every step of the way.
After Your Loved One Passes, Call Domingo Garcia’s Wrongful Death Lawyers
On behalf of everyone at Domingo Garcia, we are sorry for your loss. We make it our mission to help those seeking justice and compensation after a wrongful death. You can count on us to help you through these challenging times ahead.
Call us today to get a free case review and to find out how our Dallas lawyers can champion your rights after your loved one’s wrongful death. We are here for you.