What Am I Entitled To If My Father Is Killed By An 18-Wheeler in Texas?
Written By: Attorney Audrey Guthrie
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18 Wheeler tractor-trailers are heavier, larger, and more dangerous than passenger cars. They take longer to stop, have large blind spots, and cause far more damage in a collision. As a result, trucking companies have a duty to the public to keep their trucks in working order and train their drivers to operate them safely. When trucking companies fail in that duty, the result is catastrophic and can result in severe injury or death.
If your father or parent was killed by a tractor-trailer, you are likely left wondering what to do next. You already have a lot on your plate dealing with insurance companies and funeral arrangements. To top it all off, the out-of-pocket cost of a funeral can be unmanageable, especially if your father did not have life insurance. Many people who have lost parents to tractor-trailer collisions are left looking for help dealing with the aftermath and loss.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO IF MY FATHER IS KILLED IN AN 18 WHEELER WRECK?
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 71, otherwise known as the Texas Wrongful Death Statute, provides that you can recover against a trucking company for the death of a father. The damages you may seek change depending on how dependent you were on your father, but under Texas law, you have a right to hold that company responsible, regardless of your age.
A trucking company does not have to intentionally cause a collision to be held responsible for their actions. The Texas Wrongful Death Statute entitles you to seek compensation if any wrongful act by the trucking company or driver caused your father’s death. That wrongful act is often in the form of negligence, such as neglect, carelessness, or a lack of skill to operate such a large and dangerous vehicle.
The types of damages that can be recovered for the death of a father fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages replace actual money that you spent as a result of your father’s injury and death, such as funeral expenses that you paid. Economic damages also cover the money that you would have received had your father not died and lost financial support that your father would have provided, such as the support of minor children and financial contributions to adult children.
Non-economic damages compensate for the emotional loss. They can include loss of the companionship and affection of your father and your mental anguish.
If it turns out that it was more than negligence, and was instead willful conduct, or gross negligence, on the part of the trucking company or driver that caused the collision, you may also be entitled to exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are also called punitive damages. They are an amount of money that a jury awards to you, not to compensate you for your loss, but to punish the company for their actions.
COMPENSATION FOR PAIN & SUFFERING
Recovery for someone’s death is divided into two categories: one, the recovery by the children, spouse, or parent for the loss of their loved one. Two, recovery by the estate for certain costs, and the pain and suffering that the person experienced before they died.
As the child of a father that died in a tractor-trailer collision, you are not personally entitled to recover money for your father’s pain and suffering before he died. However, if you are your father’s heir, that money may go to you after the estate receives it. The estate can also receive compensation for debts paid by the estate due to the collision, such as medical and funeral expenses.
Under most circumstances, the attorneys at Zinda Law Group handle both the estate’s survival action and your wrongful death action simultaneously, thereby making everything easier for your family during such a difficult time.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM AFTER A FATAL TRUCK ACCIDENT?
Texas law puts a time limit on how long after the death of your father you will have to initiate action against the trucking company. This time limit is called the Statute of Limitations. According to the Texas Wrongful Death Statute, actions for wrongful death must be brought within two years, or the statute of limitations may bar you from ever making your claim.
ZINDA LAW GROUP MAY HELP YOU SEEK COMPENSATION
Due to the statute of limitations, it is important to reach out to an experienced trucking accident attorney quickly. As our client, our attorneys may keep track of the statute of limitations for you, help you collect the information you need, and ensure that everything is taken care of. It is one more thing that you won’t have to worry about.
If you have lost your father in an 18-wheeler accident, contact Zinda Law Group today to schedule a free consultation where we may help you determine the best course of action. As our client, you will never owe us anything unless we win your case. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 to speak to an attorney.
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