Is there any form of legal recourse a surviving family dealing with similar circumstances can take?
It was around 7:20 p.m. on September 3, 2019, when a 55-year-old man pulled his Ford Taurus off to the shoulder of the South Loop just before Highway 288 to change a flat tire [Source: ABC 13 News]. While changing his tire, the man’s vehicle was struck from the rear by a pickup truck being driven by a 60-year-old man. Both the victim and the driver of the truck had to be transported to Ben Taub Hospital, however, it was the victim who did not survive the accident.
Authorities later determined that the driver of the pick-up had been intoxicated at the time of the wreck and that he had previous encounters with the law. According to the news source, the driver of the truck had at least three DWI convictions on his record already. Because of his past criminal history and the fatal accident he caused, the Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Division for the district attorney’s office said that they were asking that the driver be held without bond.
Can the surviving family of a drunk driving accident victim sue a driver for the wrongful death of their loved one?
Alcohol-related accidents are occurring at an alarming rate. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), “every day in America, another 30 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.” That is equivalent to one person being killed every 48 minutes.
If a loved one of yours was killed in an accident in Houston, TX that was caused by a drunk driver, your likely looking for ways to obtain justice for their death. Although the drunk driver will likely face harsh penalties if convicted of the crimes he/she has been charged with, this might not be enough closure for you and your family. If you are looking for additional ways to hold the driver responsible for the loss of your family member, you might be entitled to sue him/her for their careless behavior.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in the State of Texas
When an individual is killed in a drunk driving accident, their surviving family (i.e. their spouse, parents, children, etc.) are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver responsible for the wreck. According to Texas law, “An action for actual damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death may be brought” if the following conditions exist:
- “A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s failure to act as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.”
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one, you are going to be required to prove negligence, which is often easier to do once a drunk driver has been convicted of DWI along with other charges that have been filed against him/her. You are also going to need to determine which damages you are entitled to recover that should be included in your lawsuit. Because most individuals who choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit aren’t familiar with how to value damages, it is recommended that you contact a Houston TX accident attorney for help with this.
What are some of the damages a family might be entitled to recover if they sue and win their case?
- Loss of companionship. After losing someone close to you such as a parent or spouse, you might find it difficult to carry on with your life without their companionship. Because the drunk driver caused you to experience this loss, you can recover compensation for this.
- Burial expenses. You may be entitled to recover compensation to cover the costs of the burial expenses you incurred as a result of your loved one’s death.
- Medical expenses incurred if the victim passed away after the incident. If your relative survived the crash and had medical treatment rendered before they succumbed to their injuries, you may be able to sue the driver for compensation that will help cover some, if not all, of the medical expenses you incurred.
- Mental anguish you experienced as a result of your loss. Getting over the untimely death of a loved one isn’t easy to do. You might be experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental issues that impact your ability to live and work the way you once were able to.
- Loss of income if you were financially dependent on the decedent. If the decedent was responsible for supporting you financially, you might be eligible to recover compensation to make up for the loss of income.
Would you like to speak with a Houston, TX accident lawyer who can assess your case and determine if you have the grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a drunk driver?
If so, you can contact Blizzard Law, PLLC to speak with one of our skilled Houston, TX attorneys. Our lawyers understand how difficult things may be for you and your family and are here to lend a legal hand in helping you obtain the compensation and closure you are seeking.
You can reach Blizzard Law, PLLC at:
5020 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006