How Much Can I Recover If My Spouse Was Killed in an 18-Wheeler Accident?
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Wrongful death lawsuits are not only legally complicated, but also emotionally challenging. The right lawyer may help you and your family navigate this difficult time and help you seek compensation for your loss of a loved one.
Under the Texas Wrongful Death Act, certain surviving family members are permitted to bring a wrongful death claim when their loved ones are killed due to the wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default of another person. The purpose of wrongful death actions is to compensate family members for what they have lost due to the death of their loved one.
These claims are typically raised when death results from auto and trucking collisions, slip and fall incidents, or injuries inflicted by defective products. If your spouse was killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
As noted, only certain individuals are permitted to recover after the death of a loved one. Fortunately, the Act permits surviving spouses to file a claim on behalf of their deceased spouse.
CAN I FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM ON BEHALF OF MY DECEASED SPOUSE?
Yes. Texas law permits individuals to bring wrongful death claims on behalf of their deceased spouses. Texas also permits parents and children to bring claims on behalf of their deceased loved ones. If your spouse was killed and has surviving parents or children, you may file your own separate claim, or you may file a joint claim with them.
WHEN CAN I FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM ON BEHALF OF MY DECEASED SPOUSE?
In Texas, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of your spouse’s death due to a truck or 18-wheeler accident. There is a narrow set of exceptions to this rule, but in most cases, if you attempt to file your claim later than two years after death, it will be barred by the statute of limitations.
To understand the specific exceptions that would permit a claim to be brought outside of this two-year period, schedule a free consultation with Zinda Law Group truck accident attorneys.
WHAT KIND OF DAMAGES AM I ENTITLED TO?
Texas law permits a claimant to recover several types of damages, including economic damages, noneconomic damages, and in some cases, exemplary (or punitive) damages.
Economic damages include medical and funeral expenses incurred by the deceased’s family. These damages also include wages and other compensation that the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived, as well as loss of inheritance.
Noneconomic damages attempt to compensate a loved one for the grief and emotional pain they suffer due to the loss of their deceased family member. Typically, this comes in the form of love, companionship, care, and comfort the surviving family member would have received from their deceased love one. Noneconomic damages can also include loss of guidance, advice, nurturing, assistance, affection, and protection from the deceased person.
Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are damages granted for the purpose of punishing the defendant for egregious conduct. Under Texas law, a beneficiary can recover exemplary damages when the death of his or her loved one is caused by the willful act or omission, or gross negligence of another. In addition to punishment, punitive damages are used to reform the defendant’s behavior and to deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct.
Each type of damages presents its own complications and an attorney at Zinda Law Group may help you learn more about the specific damages to which you are entitled.
ARE THERE LIMITS ON THE COMPENSATION I CAN RECEIVE?
Texas law does not limit the amount of economic damages to which a claimant is entitled. However, Texas limits the amount of noneconomic damages a claimant can receive.
In most trucking cases, the cap for noneconomic damages in Texas is $500,000.00 per decedent. This means that regardless of the number of wrongful death beneficiaries for one deceased loved one, the cap for noneconomic damages cannot be stacked for multiple claimants. This amount is adjusted for inflation and currently exceeds $1.5 million.
Further, Texas law limits the amount of money claimants may receive for exemplary damages. These damages are limited to $200,000.00, or, double the amount of economic damages plus non-economic damages, whichever is greater, but only up to $750,000.00.
Zinda Law Group attorneys may be able to give you more information about what these caps mean for your case.
There are additional factors that may limit a claimant’s wrongful death award. One factor is comparative negligence. In Texas, if the deceased was greater than 50 percent at fault for his or her death, then the decedent’s family will not have a successful wrongful death claim. Alternatively, the family of a decedent may be able to recover on a wrongful death claim if the decedent was 50 percent or less at fault for his or her death, but the amount the family can recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault a jury attributes to the decedent.
Your spouse’s age, earning potential, and profession, if applicable, will all be factors in the amount of the award.
TRUST THE TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
Our accident lawyers are on hand to help you navigate the legal process. We know that it can be daunting to file a claim for the first time. That is why we have everything covered, allowing you to focus on your recovery while we focus on settling your claim. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and seek maximum injury compensation for all the ways your injury has cost you.
The attorneys at Zinda Law Group may meet with you and determine whether you have a legal claim for the loss of your deceased spouse. Once we get to work on your case, we dispatch our investigations team to help ensure that all relevant evidence is discovered and preserved in your case, develop a strategy to be successful in your individual case, and keep you informed throughout every stage.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we secure a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury case. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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