Car accidents are a growing concern in Amarillo, TX, resulting in property damage, injuries, or fatalities. If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a car accident in Amarillo, you will likely have to deal with significant emotional and financial strain caused by the loss. However, you might be able to seek financial recovery from the person at fault.
You can learn more today about how the injury attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, at how you could benefit from an Amarillo fatal car accident lawyer working on your case. We offer a free initial case evaluation to help you consider your legal options.
Who Can Take Legal Action After a Fatal Car Accident in Amarillo?
Similar to other wrongful death actions in Texas, only a select few have the right to file claims on behalf of the deceased. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.004, you can recover damages if you:
- Are the surviving spouse
- Are the deceased’s surviving child or one of their children
- Are the deceased’s biological or adoptive parent
This means that siblings, grandparents, and other surviving relatives cannot file the fatal car accident claim themselves. The only exception will be if they are the decedent’s executor. According to the same statute, the estate executor or administrator would be able to take legal action for wrongful death damages if none of the qualifying parties file within three months of the loved one’s passing.
Our Amarillo fatal car accident lawyer can work with the qualified parties in complying with their case’s filing requirements.
Possible Liable Parties in a Fatal Car Accident
One of the first matters an Amarillo fatal car accident lawyer can handle is determining who to hold liable for the accident. While you might assume that another car driver is at fault, it is not always the case. For example, a pedestrian can be liable if they were jaywalking at the time, causing your loved one’s car to hit another vehicle while evading the person.
Another scenario would be if the vehicle had a defect the car or auto parts manufacturer failed to disclose. As a result, it suddenly broke down on the road and got into a collision.
Determining liability would involve gathering evidence such as dashcam videos, surveillance footage, and eyewitness testimonies. Our attorney will also help review the compiled evidence to make sure nothing is missing.
What to Do If the Liable Party Also Perished in the Car Accident
If your loved one and the at-fault party both perished in the Amarillo car accident, you still have the chance to file for damages. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.008 states that the at-fault side’s estate executor can represent them as though they were still alive. If the case settles favorably for you, the executor would be responsible for allocating the deceased’s assets to compensate for your losses.
This statute can also apply when the liable party did not die in the accident but passed away while you had not filed the case yet.
Types of Damages in Your Amarillo Fatal Car Accident Settlement
When the court awards damages in your Amarillo fatal car accident case, they will consider the value lost with your loved one, such as:
- Loss of companionship and guidance
- Loss of future financial support
- Loss of inheritance had the loved one survived
To estimate this value, you will want to enumerate factors such as your loved one’s skills, work, and income. In addition, you, other loved ones, and others associated with the decedent can also testify how the loss impacted the family, community, or workplace.
The Amarillo fatal car accident lawyer can also help estimate the expenses accrued due to the accident, such as funeral and burial costs. Furthermore, if your loved one was hospitalized shortly before their passing, you can also get compensated for the medical bills.
Comparative Fault Rules Will Still Come into Play
Texas’ comparative negligence laws still apply to wrongful death actions just as they do to personal injury cases. That means you might recover a reduced settlement if your loved one was partly liable for the accident. Moreover, you cannot recover damages if they share more than half the liability.
For example, let us say the motorist was guilty of drinking while driving. Evidence reveals that your loved one did not observe the yield sign. After deliberating, the jury decides your loved one is 40 percent liable while the driver is 60 percent at fault. The argument is that the driver was more negligent and posed a larger risk on the road.
Filing Your Fatal Car Accident Action on Time
Similar to personal injury and property damage cases, your Amarillo fatal car accident case has the same statute of limitations specified in the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.003. That means you would generally have up to two years to file before the law bars you from recovery.
However, the two-year deadline only applies if no special circumstances could pause the statute timer—also known as tolling exceptions. To determine your time limit, our lawyer can check if there are applicable tolling exceptions in your case.
For instance, suppose that the liable pedestrian or motorist runs away to another state or country to avoid criminal charges. It would be unfair on your end if the timer runs out due to this. The statute of limitations will only resume counting when the at-fault party returns to Texas.
We Can Help You Seek Damages for an Amarillo Fatal Car Accident
Losing a loved one in a deadly traffic accident is a painful and expensive ordeal. Fortunately, you have the right to seek damages from those liable for the accident in Amarillo. To get started, consult with the office of D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®. Our fatal car accident lawyer serving the Amarillo area is ready to counsel and represent you in your case.
Since 2002, our attorneys have helped clients throughout Texas in various practice areas. Besides auto accidents, we also handle cases such as defective drugs, slip and fall injuries, and dog bites. For more inquiries about our services, you can call our team.