New Braunfels, TX Wrongful Death Lawyer
Has a loved one has died due to the carelessness, negligence, or actions of another in New Braunfels, TX? You may have a wrongful death claim. The experienced New Braunfels, TX wrongful death lawyers at Lorenz & Lorenz are here to assist you during this devastating time.
At Lorenz & Lorenz, we only represent accident victims, so you can rest assured that you are in capable hands. You may be wondering where to start, so we offer a free consultation to answer your questions and discuss the options that you and your loved ones may have.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for My Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are unique by nature because the person who experienced the injury is not able to fight for justice for themselves. Instead of compensating the victim, wrongful death claims are intended to compensate the family members for the deceased person’s absence. That’s where you and the Lorenz & Lorenz team come in. While we can’t bring your loved one back, the New Braunfels, TX personal injury attorneys at Lorenz & Lorenz will fight for maximum compensation for you during this tragic time.
Additionally, many families are under the impression that if the person responsible for your loved one’s death has been criminally prosecuted, then further civil lawsuits are barred. However, this is not true. Civil actions for wrongful death personal injury cases are entirely separate from criminal cases, and may occur independently of one another – even if the criminal case results in a “not guilty” verdict.
Civil personal injury wrongful death actions require skill and expertise because the laws are very specific. Choosing the most skillful lawyer to represent you in your wrongful death lawsuit is a crucial decision. Call us to arrange a free case evaluation to learn more about how our team can help.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person, or person acting as an agent of another person. The person who committed the wrongful act, or failed to act, is liable for damages that occur as a result of that person’s death.
Additionally, those persons in control of the following are liable for default:
- A public utility plant;
- Transit; or
- Other transport of goods or passengers.
It is appropriate to bring a wrongful death claim only if the deceased person would have had a claim had he or she survived.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Braunfels, TX?
A wrongful death action may be brought by the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents, and if none of the previously listed individuals bring an action within 3 months of the death, the executor of the deceased person’s estate is required to bring an action unless requested not to do so. An action for wrongful death may be brought against any one or all of the individuals or agents contributing to the death of the deceased person.
Causes of Wrongful Death in New Braunfels, Texas
Any person responsible for the injury and subsequent death of a person due to that person’s actions or inactions may be subject to a wrongful death claim.
There are a multitude of scenarios in which a wrongful death claim may be appropriate, so you should consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer if you think you or a loved one may have a case.
The most common causes of wrongful death accidents include:
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Defective products due to design, manufacturing, or inadequate warnings
- Commercial truck accidents
- Airplane crashes
- Animal attacks.
Every wrongful death lawsuit, no matter how the accident happened, requires the person filing the lawsuit to prove four elements. The person filing the claim must prove that the person whose action or inaction caused the accident owed a duty, breached that duty, the injury was the direct result of that breach, and damages. Each of these four elements are discussed in more detail below:
The duty owed depends on the relationship that the person who causes the accident has to the person who was injured and subsequently passed away. There are higher standards of care imposed for certain relationships, such as a doctor-patient relationship, parent-child relationship, or an employer-employee relationship. For most other situations, a person simply has a duty to act reasonably and not to cause harm.
A breach occurs when the person does not live up to the duty he or she owes. For example, a driver who texts and drives is not acting reasonably and therefore breaches the duty owed to drive without distraction as a reasonable person would.
The injury that resulted in the victim’s death must have been directly caused by the person’s action or inaction. For example, if a driver owed a duty not to text and drive and breached that duty by texting and driving, but the accident that resulted in the victim’s death happened because a bird flew into the windshield of the victim’s vehicle, then the breach of duty by the person texting in this example did not cause the victim’s injuries and therefore, lacks causation.
Proving “causation” requires two prongs to be satisfied:
- Proximate cause; and
Proximate cause requires a showing that the injury was a logical result of the breach of duty owed; a reasonably prudent person could have predicted that the person’s action or inaction would cause the injury. Cause-in-fact (also called the “but for” test) means that but for the person’s action or inaction, the injury would not have happened. Causation is generally a question that is decided by a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In order for a wrongful death suit to be successful, damages must be proven. This is typically accomplished by providing evidence of the deceased person’s medical bills, funeral expenses, earning capacity and future lost earnings, age and health, and circumstances regarding the deceased person’s dependents. Additionally, if a person dies due to the gross negligence of another person, there may be additional damages available to his or her family – explained in more detail below.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New Braunfels, Texas
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas is two years from the date of death of the person wrongfully injured. Unfortunately, due to the short period of time for filing wrongful death claims, many claims are filed outside of the statute of limitations and are dismissed as a result.
If you have a question about your claim or whether you are within the statute of limitations period for filing purposes, you should consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer immediately.
Modified Comparative Negligence in Texas
Texas observes a modified comparative negligence doctrine in assessing wrongful death liability. This means that each party involved in an accident is responsible for his or her own contribution to the accident.
A jury apportions fault based on the evidence presented at trial, and a person may recover for his or her injuries even if he or she contributed to the accident, so long as the percentage of fault attributed is less than 50%.
For example, let’s say the distracted driver in the example above is found to be 90% at fault for texting and driving and causing the accident. The victim was responsibly and legally using a bluetooth device to talk on the phone at the time of the accident, but nevertheless is found to have contributed to the accident.
The jury determines that she is 10% at fault. Because the victim’s percentage of fault is only 10%, and the responsible person’s percentage of fault is 90%, the victim may recover 90% of her damages against the driver.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Damages like medical bills, funeral expenses, and earning capacity are typically proven using quantifiable data such as the medical bills themselves and payroll records. However, damages such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship are impossible to reduce to a monetary value and are therefore proven by other means such as the testimony of witnesses.
The experienced attorneys at Lorenz and Lorenz will analyze every aspect of your wrongful death claim and thoroughly prepare the strongest case for you.
Exemplary damages may be awarded in cases of gross negligence or where the victim’s death was caused by a willful act or omission. Gross negligence is more than just carelessness – it occurs when the responsible party recklessly disregards the applicable standard of care and the resulting consequences to another person. Exemplary damages, as the name suggests, intend to make an “example” out of the person responsible for the injuries with the hope of encouraging others to avoid future similar actions.
Our New Braunfels, TX Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here To Help
When a loved one has passed as a result of the action of another person or failure of another person to act, there is simply nothing that will make you whole again. At Lorenz and Lorenz, we recognize that this is most likely the most difficult time of your life, and we offer our sincerest condolences. While we can’t bring your loved one back, we can fight to compensate you for your loss and hold the responsible party accountable for his or her actions.
When you hire the experienced wrongful death lawyers at Lorenz and Lorenz, you can rest assured that our skilled team will:
- Utilize all available resources to build the strongest case for you;
- Treat you with respect and compassion in navigating this difficult time;
- Represent you to the fullest and seek maximum compensation for your loss;
- Communicate with you throughout the process;
- Fight tooth and nail for justice for your loved one.
When it comes to wrongful death actions, there is simply no substitution for an experienced wrongful death lawyer. Don’t delay in scheduling your free, initial consultation to discuss your options.