If a close family member died because of a pedestrian accident, your legal options include negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party out of court or filing a lawsuit and taking your case to trial.
Your ability to recover damages for your loss will depend on the circumstances of the accident, how it occurred, who was at fault, and the extent of your expenses and other damages.
What Can I Expect if I Negotiate a Settlement With the At-Fault Party?
If another party is liable for the death of a family member, you have the legal option of negotiating a wrongful death settlement with the responsible party. You would start by contacting their insurance company.
When you file a claim with the insurance company, you will submit evidence and documents to establish fault and liability, as well as the value of your damages. This evidence might include:
- Police accident reports
- Bills for funeral expenses and other costs
- Hospital and medical records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Photographic or video evidence of the accident or scene
- Expert witnesses, such as medical experts or accident reconstruction experts
What Can I Expect if I Take My Case to Court?
If you are unable to reach an appropriate settlement with the insurance company, you will have the option to file a lawsuit to pursue recovery in court.
In court, you will need to provide evidence of liability and fault, as well as your case value. A judge or jury will render a judgment of the value of your case and what damages you will recover.
What if a Local Municipality Is at Fault for the Accident?
If a family member was killed as a result of city, state, or county negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the government entity responsible.
Some examples of city liability may include:
- Broken traffic light
- Poor road conditions
- Poor municipal street planning or design
- No sidewalks or crosswalks available
- Obstructions that limit the driver’s or pedestrian’s view
A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if a local municipality can be held liable.
What if a Pedestrian is Partially to Blame for the Accident?
If a loved one is partially to blame for a pedestrian accident, you may still be eligible to file a claim against the driver. In a shared fault case, you must prove how much the deceased and the driver each contributed to the accident. You will not be able to recover damages if you are found 51% at fault.
According to Texas law, you may receive compensation from any other at-fault party, but your loved one’s fault will reduce your damages, usually by a percentage equal to their share of the fault.
What Damages May I Be Able to Recover?
Some of the losses you may account for when pursuing a wrongful death claim include:
- Medical and Funeral Expenses: ER visit, prescriptions, surgical procedures, and doctor visits prior to death, as well as funeral costs may be recovered.
- Lost Income and Potential Income: Lost wages, loss of benefits, and loss of potential income may be recoverable.
- Pain and Suffering Prior to Death: Noneconomic damages you or your family experience including mental and emotional distress can be claimed.
- Loss of Companionship and Consortium: Loss of parenting or support of your loved one may be considered when determining your damages.
Can I Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Help My Case?
You may want to hire a pedestrian accident attorney to help you negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit in court.
A personal injury lawyer may:
- Communicate with the insurance company
- Retrieve documents and other evidence
- Manage the wrongful death process
- Compile evidence of liability and case value
- Secure expert testimony
- Fight for a fair settlement
- File a lawsuit
A pedestrian accident attorney can also answer your questions and discuss your legal options.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in a Wrongful Death Accident?
Texas law places a two-year statute of limitations on injury cases, including pedestrian accident and wrongful death cases, under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Title 2 § 16.033.
Failure to file a lawsuit within this period may mean you are unable to hold the driver responsible for your loved one’s death. Do not wait to act.
Seek Legal Help From an Accident Lawyer in Texas
If your loved one died in a pedestrian accident, D. Miller & Associates, PLLC may be able to help you file a claim and seek recovery. While nothing can replace your loved one, a settlement may allow you to focus on grieving instead of worrying about your financial situation.