Waco Wrongful Death Attorney
When you have lost a loved one because of the reckless actions or misconduct of another person, you want them to take responsibility for their actions. The law recognizes this and allows for you to be compensated for your loss. You deserve justice for your loved one. A Waco wrongful death attorney at Craft Law Firm can help you navigate the law as you deal with the devastating impact of losing a loved one.
At Craft Law Firm:
- We have over 20 years experience handling cases involving wrongful death in transportation and workplace incidents.
- We take a limited number of cases, and that allows our team of lawyers to be selective and pay detailed attention to each case.
- We believe each case is the most important event in each of our client’s lives. We understand that. We live it with the client, and we treat it accordingly.
If you have lost a family member, call us at 254-212-4107 for a free and confidential case evaluation. When you call, you will be speaking with an experienced attorney, not a paralegal or intake specialist.
Circumstances that Give Rise to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Many types of accidents can give rise to a wrongful death claim. Some of the most common that occur in Waco include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths. Most fatal collisions are preventable and a result of driver negligence, such as texting while driving, driving while impaired, speeding, aggressive behaviors (e.g., weaving, running red lights, driving while fatigued, etc.)
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. When a healthcare provider makes a significant error resulting in a patient’s death, they may be legally liable. Common examples of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis or failure to identify an illness, incorrect treatment, surgical errors, birth injuries, medication errors, and more.
Workers in high-risk occupations, such as construction, have an increased chance of being severely or fatally injured. If their employer failed to provide a reasonably safe work environment or another third contributed to the accident, the family may have a wrongful death claim against those responsible.
If a defective product results in the death of a consumer, the manufacturer, distributor, seller, or any other party involved in the distribution of the product may be liable in a wrongful death claim. A common defective product that results in fatal accidents are flawed vehicles or parts.
Grounds for a wrongful death claim also commonly arise from bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, truck accidents, and criminal acts of violence.
When someone causes the death of another person, even though they may face criminal charges related to the death, they can still be taken to court for wrongful death, which is a civil action. A wrongful death lawsuit, if successful, allows the survivors of the deceased person to recover financial compensation from the person or entity responsible for the death of their loved one. To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, it must be proved that the person or entity that caused the death acted negligently or intentionally took wrongful actions that caused the death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?
When a person dies because of the wrongful actions of another person, their survivors bear the responsibility of seeking justice for them. The deceased has to be represented by someone else in a wrongful death lawsuit. Every state has different rules about who can represent a deceased person in a wrongful death case, but generally, spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can represent a deceased person in a wrongful death case. In some states, siblings, grandparents, and financial dependents of the deceased are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action against the person or entity responsible for the death of another person. This means that it is a lawsuit involving private parties, unlike in a criminal case where the government is involved in the prosecution of a person or entity, and the action is based on the violation of written laws. In a wrongful death case, the standard of proof is lower than it is in a criminal case for murder or manslaughter. You only have to prove your case on the balance of probabilities because it is a civil action.
This means that based on the evidence about the circumstances leading to the death, the occurrence of death was more likely than not. Like personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims examine whether or not the accused party was negligent.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is based on the premise that everyone in society owes a duty of care to others and should refrain from acting in a manner that can cause foreseeable harm or injury to another person. The law recognizes categories of people who owe a duty of care to other people. For instance, every road user owes a duty of care to other road users and must take care not to cause them harm; doctors owe a duty of care to their patients; employers owe a duty of care to employees; property owners owe a duty of care to other people on their property; and product manufacturers owe a duty of care to their consumers. When that duty of care is breached, and the breach causes injury to another person, and the injured person suffers actual loss or harm, the injured person can sue on the basis of negligence.
Professionals like doctors, lawyers, and accountants, and people with a particular skill like construction workers, must act as any reasonably prudent person with similar skill and expertise would act. For example, where a doctor’s actions cause the death of a patient, his actions will be measured against other doctors of the same training and experience, not the ordinary person with no medical training.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Whether a wrongful death victim was partially responsible for their accident can also significantly impact on how much compensation a surviving family recovers. Under Texas’s modified comparative negligence law, the deceased victim’s percentage of fault in causing their accident will reduce the case’s settlement or award. For example, if a surviving spouse is awarded $500,000, but their loved one was found 20 percent to blame for their accident, the spouse will only receive 80% of the award, or $400,000. However, if the deceased victim was 51% or more at fault, their surviving family cannot recover any compensation.
Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death Case
Every state has their own rules about prosecuting a wrongful death. In some states, government entities are excluded from wrongful death lawsuits. In addition, some state laws limit how much compensation survivors of the deceased can get in a wrongful death case. Compensation from wrongful death lawsuits can cover economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses are tangible losses that include medical and funeral expenses, loss of support and income, and other such quantifiable losses. Non-economic losses, on the other hand, are those losses that cannot be quantified like loss of consortium, pain and suffering. Your Waco injury lawyer will have access to expert economists who have experience in evaluating factors like life expectancy to estimate lost earnings and other losses that you will be claiming compensation for.
Losing a loved one is always distressing and unbearable, but for some families, it also means the loss of the breadwinner, which could have a direct impact on the future of the family lifestyle.
How Much is a Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
Many variables can determine how much compensation a family can be awarded in a wrongful death claim. The most common factors considered by an insurance company or the court include:
- The type and severity of the accident.
- The deceased’s age, habits, and occupation.
- The deceased’s health at the time of death.
- The deceased’s life expectancy had they survived.
- The past and potential future earnings of the decedent.
- The percentage of financial support the spouse relied on.
- Whether the deceased had minor children and how many.
- Whether the deceased was actively involved in their community.
These elements can increase or decrease a family’s potential settlement. For example, a wrongful death case may have a lower value if the victim was elderly and has no surviving spouse or children and was nearly 50% at fault for their accident. In comparison, a case will have a higher value if the victim had no responsibility for their accident and was young with a surviving spouse and multiple minor children.
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney
A lawyer can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against a person or entity whose reckless behavior or misconduct caused the death of your loved one. Having the support of a lawyer will give you access to professionals who can help determine an objective compensation value for the survivors of the deceased. While no amount of money can bring the deceased back to life, financial compensation helps to support the survivors of the deceased, through their difficult time, and into the future. At Craft Law Firm, we prepare each case for trial and are always courtroom-ready. We have access to lawyers, investigators, and economics experts to prepare each case for the best possible outcome for our clients.
Contact a Waco Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one was killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, call Craft Law Firm and speak to a compassionate Waco wrongful death attorney. We represent victims. We deliver. Contact us at 254-212-4107 for your free consultation.