“In my experience as an attorney, the most common causes for wrongful death involve auto accidents, especially with 18-wheelers,” Brad Parker says.
“Just recently I had a case where a young woman and her boyfriend were traveling home for Thanksgiving. Their car broke down in the middle of the night, and as they were waiting for the tow truck an 18-wheeler approached them on the side of the road. The driver of the truck had fallen asleep and ran over them and killed them both. I was successful in getting compensation for one of the grieving parents.”
Legally, a wrongful death is a result of a fatality caused by the reckless, careless or negligent actions of another person. Most wrongful death claims involve tragic accidents. They may, however, be the result of other circumstances such as defective car parts, faulty brakes, wrong prescriptions or a misdiagnosis.
These are the most common causes of wrongful death:
A high percentage of wrongful death claims involve fatalities from automobile accidents. Statistics maintained by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) indicate that more than 40,000 people die of automobile accidents every year in the United States.
Commercial Truck Accidents
The size and weight of a large commercial truck involved in a serious accident usually results in a fatality. In many cases, truckers and trucking companies are at fault of the accident and can be held legally liable for their failure to follow crucial regulations, maintain proper driving hours or properly load the truck.
Because of dangerous work environments around chemicals and machinery that expose employees to serious injuries and death, accidents on the job are a common cause of wrongful death. A workplace accident ending in a fatality can include an explosion, burn, fall, or long-term exposure to harmful chemicals, asbestos and other dangerous substances. Several deaths occur annually in dangerous environments such as manufacturing plants, mining operations and construction sites.
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals and facilities have the obligation to provide every patient quality care. Medical malpractice occurs when doctors and other staff breach their duties of providing acceptable standards of care to the patient, causing injuries or death. Types of medical malpractice might include:
- Birth injuries
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Defective medical equipment
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Nursing home neglect and/or abuse
In Texas, the deceased individual’s spouse, children and parents are the only ones who can pursue wrongful death suits.
“It’s a shame,” Brad says, “Even if there is a case where a sibling lost their twin and they couldn’t have been closer, they have no legal right to pursue a wrongful death suit. No siblings, no stepchildren, no grandparents.”
Family members are entitled to receive financial recompense from a wrongful death suit, but they must prove to the insurance company that they have been financially and/or emotionally impacted by the death of their loved one.
“Each story is different. It is often based on the relationship you’ve had with the loved one. Were they an integral part of your life, were you estranged from the deceased, or did you only see them once a year? A jury will look at the day-to-day relationship with that person,” Brad says.
The compensation obtained through an out-of-court settlement or an award at trial can be used for a variety of expenses including: Past hospital bills and medical expenses of the deceased; loss of companionship; ongoing financial expenses; recovery of lost past and future earnings; mental anguish; grief, pain and suffering; and loss of inheritance.
If you need help protecting your legal rights, contact Parker Law Firm at 817.440.3888. We can walk you through the entire process and ensure you receive adequate compensation for your loss and grief.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.