Losing loved ones is painful, but it can be even worse when they succumb to fatal car accident injuries. Such a sudden, tragic loss can leave your family in a difficult financial situation, as well.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, the fatal car accident lawyers serving Plano from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® can help. We can discuss your situation and can guide you on what to do next.
Liability in Plano Fatal Auto Accidents
Proving liability in a Plano fatal car accident can be complex. You would have to determine first if the crash happened due to:
- Negligence: Fatal car accidents can result from the negligence of various parties. For instance, motorists must drive responsibly to avoid harming others. This would include following laws such as speed limits, distracted driving restrictions, and DUIs.
- Strict Liability: The liable party may not be directly responsible for the fatal accident. Instead, a defective auto part may have caused or contributed to the accident. One example would be if a brand new car’s brakes had an undisclosed design flaw. The manufacturer would be at fault if the flaw caused the crash.
- Intentional Behavior: This is when the at-fault party deliberately causes the fatal car accident, such as when a motorist acts upon their road rage.
Our car accident attorneys can help you gather proof of the other side’s liability, such as dashcam footage and eyewitness testimonies. They can also check which laws the party might have violated that could prove their fault.
What If the Liable Party Also Perished in the Fatal Car Accident?
Let us suppose that the other party also died in the crash, or perhaps they passed away some time later due to unrelated reasons. According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.008, you would still be able to file your fatal accident action. The other party’s executor or administrator would act as the at-fault party in their stead.
In probate law, the executor is responsible for fulfilling the instructions stipulated in the decedent’s will, such as the estate distribution among heirs and beneficiaries. The court would appoint one themselves if the deceased did not appoint an executor.
Parties Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Fatal Car Accident in Plano
Being related to the deceased does not automatically qualify you to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.004 states that you must be one of the following to be eligible:
- The deceased’s parents
- The surviving spouse
- The child (the state also allows legally adopted children to file for damages)
Other family members and relatives cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit unless the loved one appointed them as executor. Even so, an executor can only bring the case themselves if none of the qualified parties file within three months from the loved one’s death.
Our personal injury lawyers can work with the qualified parties in complying with the case’s filing requirements.
Following Your Filing Deadlines
One time-sensitive filing requirement in your case is the statute of limitations. You typically only have two years to bring your fatal accident case to court as per Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.003. Therefore, you will want to start working while you still have ample time left, as missing the deadline will automatically reject your case.
Our fatal car accident lawyers can help keep track of your progress and see to it that you can submit on time.
Fatal Car Accidents Can Cause Financial Losses
Like a conventional auto collision case, fatal car accidents can result in financial strain. For example, let us say you managed to have your loved one hospitalized before they succumbed to their injuries. If the court finds the other party at fault, the other party must cover the hospital bills.
The court may also award financial recovery for the way your loss affected your family. For instance, if the loved one was a breadwinner, the court would consider their line of work and how much they brought in for the family. They would also factor in lost benefits such as insurance coverages and the potential inheritance amount had the loved one survived.
How Comparative Fault Rules Affect Your Case
Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule. If evidence shows that your loved one shared some fault for the collision, the court will reduce your potential recovery based on the percentage of fault your loved one shared for the accident.
For instance, if the court decides your loved one was 45 percent at fault for the fatal accidents, you can only recover 55 percent. Moreover, you cannot recover anything if they were over 50 percent liable.
Our fatal car accident attorneys serving Plano can review every detail of your case to determine liability. If the opposing side spots any weak points in your statements, they could use it to undermine them and place more liability on your loved one. In this case, we would conduct an independent investigation to gather evidence of the other party’s liability.
Our Fatal Car Accident Team Serving Plano Is Ready to Help
Losing a loved one in a traffic accident can be a distressing event for your whole family. If your loved one died in a crash here in Plano, we can help you take legal action. We have a fatal car accident lawyer serving Plano who can help you comply with filing requirements and represent you in court proceedings.
We are always ready to utilize over 20 years of experience and legal knowledge to assist with your circumstances. To get started with your fatal accident case, call us for a free case evaluation.
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