The Texas Wrongful Death Act allows certain family members of a truck accident victim to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit and collect a financial recovery for their losses. If you have questions about your right to recovery after a loved one was killed in a truck accident with a negligent driver, D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ is here to help.
Financial recovery cannot replace your loved one, but it can help you address the burdens you experience in their absence. You deserve to mourn your family member in peace. Let us handle the legal battle.
What Damages Can I Recover if I Sue After Losing a Loved One to a Truck Accident?
Texas limits the types of damages family members can recover through a wrongful death lawsuit after a truck accident. Through this type of claim, you can only recover your personal financial expenses and losses, as well as your own emotional losses. \
Some of the most common types of damages we recover for our clients include:
- Funeral expenses, medical bills, or other financial costs
- Lost earning capacity, which pays for the loss of your loved one’s future income
- Cost of your emotional support services, such as grief counseling
- Loss of services, including parental or spousal services
- Loss of support at home, including maintenance, chores, and child care
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of inheritance
Which Family Members Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
Only certain family members can file a wrongful death action under Texas law. Unless you fall into one of these categories, the state’s Wrongful Death Act bars you from filing this type of suit against the liable trucking company. Those who can pursue financial recovery through a wrongful death suit include:
- A spouse
- The administrator of the estate, after three months and with the family’s permission
Sometimes, a will names a representative of the estate, and this person can take legal action. If there is no representative, the court will usually appoint one of the previously mentioned family members as a representative.
If the case succeeds, the representative distributes the financial recovery among the surviving family members. Our firm can help you determine who has the right to take legal action after your loved one’s passing.
How do I File a Claim or Lawsuit After my Loved One Passes From a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are much more complex than passenger vehicle accidents. Because of a legal doctrine called vicarious liability, the truck driver who acted carelessly or recklessly and caused the accident may not be the only liable party.
Instead, their employer may also be responsible for their employee’s negligent actions and the damages they caused, including those payable through a wrongful death lawsuit. That means you can file a claim or lawsuit against the trucking company. In some cases, you may be able to pursue recovery from both the driver and their employer.
We Can Investigate Your Accident and Gather Evidence of Negligence
An 18-wheeler accident lawyer serving Houston can take on a trucking corporation and its legal team, filing a claim with its business liability insurance provider to recover what you deserve. There are also additional considerations in these cases, including the vast amount of supporting evidence that lies in the hands of the trucking company.
To ensure we have access to this evidence, your Houston truck accident lawyers can take immediate action by sending a spoliation letter to ask the trucking company to preserve any documentation illustrating the driver’s negligence. Evidence may include:
- Driver rest logs
- The truck’s black box, which records data from the time of the accident
- Video from traffic cameras
- Post-accident drug and alcohol tests
- Driver personnel records, including training and a record of any other incidents
- Maintenance records for the truck
- Truck permit information
- Images of the truck before and after the crash
We can complete an investigation into what caused the crash. We may collect police reports, interview witnesses, and even enlist the help of an accident reconstruction team when necessary.
Such evidence may prove the truck driver acted negligently, making them liable for your losses. As long as we can prove they were working at the time of the crash, we can pursue financial recovery from their employer.
How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You have two years after your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable trucking company. However, if you are an eligible family member and decide not to file a claim during the first three months after their death, the administrator of the estate can act on your behalf. This is only allowed if you do not object to their suit.
We can help you abide by any deadlines that apply to your case as long as you call us soon enough. Keep in mind that we need time to investigate your case, gather evidence of liability, and negotiate with insurers. The clock starts ticking from the date of your loved one’s passing, though, so act quickly to protect your rights.
Do I Have Other Options to Recover Damages?
In addition to a wrongful death action, there may be another way to seek financial recovery through a civil suit. This is a survival claim. We can pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Through this, you could recover what your loved one would have received through a personal injury action had they survived the crash.
Unlike a wrongful death suit, a survival claim provides benefits to the estate instead of directly to family members. This covers the losses the victim suffered, including:
- Medical bills from your loved one’s injuries
- Loss of inheritance for the income your loved one provided
- The pain and suffering that occurred between the time of the accident and their passing
- Funeral and burial expenses
Work with Our Injury Attorneys
The accident attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ can help you recover what you deserve after losing a loved one because of a negligent trucker. We understand that you need time to properly grieve your family member. Instead of hassling with the legal process, you can leave the work to us.
We can investigate your case, file an insurance claim, and take legal action on your behalf if necessary. If your case goes to trial, we will argue before a judge or jury for fair financial recovery. Call us today at (713) 850-8600 for your complimentary case evaluation.