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Wrongful Death Auto Accident Lawyers

The sudden loss of a loved one in an auto accident is a heart-wrenching experience no family should ever face, especially alone. Navigating legal challenges on top of devastating news can make an already unbearable situation feel even more overwhelming. Making funeral arrangements and dealing with healthcare providers and insurance companies while trying to uncover the facts surrounding your loved one’s death can add significant stress during a time of mourning.

Wrongful Death Auto Accident Lawyers

Call us today at 832-844-6700 for a free case evaluation with an experienced Houston work injury lawyer.

At Johnson Garcia, our team of wrongful death auto accident lawyers is dedicated to offering support and legal guidance to Houston families grappling with the aftermath of the loss of a loved one in a fatal auto accident. While no action can undo the loss, pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide a measure of accountability and support to those left behind. With over 35 years of experience in handling wrongful death claims, we bring a comprehensive approach to providing families with the resources they need to begin the healing process.

Partnering with Johnson Garcia means gaining allies who are committed to navigating the legal intricacies with you. We are here to walk you through every step of this challenging journey, advocating for your rights and seeking justice for your loved one with dedication and compassion.

What Is a Wrongful Death Auto Accident?

A wrongful death auto accident happens when someone’s life is tragically lost because of another driver or party’s negligence or misconduct on the road. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas experienced 4,481 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2022.

The key difference between wrongful death and other fatalities in auto accidents comes down to fault.

If someone’s careless actions or failure to act — like speeding, driving under the influence, ignoring traffic laws, or a vehicle defect — cause a fatal crash, that’s wrongful death. Unlike accidents where no specific fault is determined, wrongful death claims pinpoint responsibility for the loss. Wrongful death claims serve as a crucial means for families to legally seek justice for their loved ones and potentially receive compensation for their loss.

This compensation can cover a range of impacts, including medical expenses incurred prior to the death, funeral and burial costs, loss of income and support, and even the emotional pain and suffering endured by family members.

However, legally establishing fault in wrongful death cases can be complex and challenging. It requires a detailed investigation, collection of evidence, and, often, expert testimonies to conclusively demonstrate that the negligence or misconduct of another party directly led to the fatal accident. This process can involve navigating through traffic laws, understanding automotive engineering in cases of vehicle defects, dissecting medical reports, and more.

At Johnson Garcia, we are prepared to tackle these legal challenges head-on. We are adept at conducting thorough investigations to build strong, evidence-backed cases on behalf of our clients. Our legal team is committed to guiding families through every step of this daunting process, even if that means taking it to trial.

What Are Causes of Wrongful Death Auto Accidents?

With a population of around 2.3 million and a density of 3,438 people per square mile, Houston’s congested roads are rife with significant risks for drivers. In 2022, Texas saw an alarming 244,092 traffic-related injuries, including 15,299 serious injury crashes that resulted in 18,880 severe injuries. Understanding the underlying causes of these tragic events is the first step in seeking justice and securing compensation.

  • Single Vehicle, Run-Off-The-Road Crashes. In 2022, there were 1,471 deaths from these kinds of incidents, which is about 32.83% of all the traffic deaths that year. They usually happen because someone wasn’t paying attention, was driving too fast, or was under the influence.
  • Intersection-Related Incidents. Intersection crashes took 1,030 lives. With intersections being busy and complicated, they increase the chances of deadly accidents, stressing how crucial it is to stay sharp and follow traffic lights and signs.
  • Head-On Collisions. A particularly devastating type of accident, head-on crashes, resulted in 636 fatalities. These are often caused by wrong-way driving, frequently linked to impaired or distracted driving.
  • Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Fatalities. Last year, 828 pedestrians and 91 cyclists lost their lives, marking a slight uptick from 2021. This rise underscores the increasing risks for those on foot or bike.
  • Impaired Driving. A significant factor in wrongful deaths, 1,163 fatalities occurred in crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol, representing 25.95% of all traffic-related deaths.
  • Distracted Driving. With 484 people killed in crashes involving distracted driving, up 11.01% from 2021. This trend underscores the role of device use in contributing to accidents, which can be a critical point when filing a wrongful death claim.

There are many causes of negligence when someone gets behind the wheel. Seemingly minor decisions can have a devastating and irreversible impact on families affected by fatal auto accidents. At Johnson Garcia, we’re ready to get to the root cause of your wrongful death auto accident claim so you and your family can move forward.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Auto Accident Case?

The ripple effects of a fatal traffic accident touch every part of a family’s life, including emotionally and financially. Damages can be recovered for both tangible and intangible losses. Certain damages can be pursued to help compensate the financial and emotional aftermath of such a tragic event, like:

  • Medical Expenses. This includes hospital stays, emergency room visits, medications, and any medical treatments related to the injuries that led to death.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs. This includes not just the obvious costs like the casket or urn but also less thought-about expenses such as the funeral home services, transportation for the deceased, and the cost of a burial plot or cremation fees.
  • Loss of Income. Compensation for the loss of income includes the earnings the deceased would have contributed to the family had they not passed away. This can cover both immediate lost wages and future earnings potential, taking into account the deceased’s career prospects.
  • Loss of Consortium and Companionship. These damages acknowledge the emotional and relational loss suffered by the surviving family members. They compensate for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, and guidance the deceased would have provided.
  • Pain and Suffering of the Deceased. In a wrongful death auto accident claim, if the person didn’t die immediately but suffered before passing away, you may be able to claim compensation for the pain and suffering they went through.
  • Punitive Damages. In cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages might be pursued. These are intended not just to compensate the family but to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
  • Loss of Inheritance. This reflects the potential savings and inheritance the deceased would have been able to pass on to their heirs had they lived a full life.

All in all, recovering damages in a wrongful death auto accident can help alleviate some of the financial loss and emotional burden of the deceased’s family members. Having an experienced team of Houston wrongful death auto accident lawyers allows you to focus on healing while we gather substantial evidence to create a strong case that will support your claim.

Who Can File a Claim for a Wrongful Death Auto Accident?

In wrongful death auto accident cases, typically, it’s the deceased person’s immediate family members who are eligible to file a claim. This can include spouses, children (including adopted children and sometimes stepchildren), and parents of unmarried children.

In some jurisdictions, extended family members, such as siblings or grandparents, might also have the right to file a claim. In certain cases, individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased, such as a non-spouse partner, may also be eligible to initiate a claim.

The deceased’s spouse is the first eligible person to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased had children under 18, the spouse can also file on their behalf and must receive at least one-third of the damages.

To file, the spouse needs evidence and must establish liability, which may involve collecting accident reports and witness statements. A wrongful death attorney can help build a strong case and protect rights.

If the deceased wasn’t married, or their spouse is deceased, and there are no children, the surviving parents can file a wrongful death suit.

Usually, in Texas, wrongful death claims are filed by the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. But, if none of these people file a claim within three months of the death, the person in charge of handling the deceased person’s belongings and money, like a manager — known as the executor or administrator — can step in and file the claim instead. This can happen unless all eligible family members say they don’t want it to happen.

It’s important to keep in mind most claims need to be filed within a two-year deadline of the deceased’s passing.

How Can the Wrongful Death Auto Accident Lawyers at Johnson Garcia Help?

Navigating the legal aftermath of a fatal auto accident is layered with deep pain and complexity. At Johnson Garcia, we are committed to fiercely advocating for your rights through this difficult time so you can prioritize your emotional well-being.

Proving negligence can be tricky. The claim has to prove how the at-fault party’s mistake led to the accident and calculate how much harm it caused. At Johnson Garcia, our in-depth knowledge of state and local traffic laws allows us to argue cases effectively on behalf of our clients.

This part of the process often involves thoroughly investigating things like vehicle damage reports, traffic camera footage, and collecting eyewitness statements. It may also require collaborating with accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and other specialists to gather detailed reporting that shows how the accident occurred and the negligence involved in the events leading to the wrongful death.

Finally, we will also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Even in the face of something as tragic as a wrongful death accident, insurance companies often strategically find ways to minimize compensation. Our team is here to help guide you through the process of rejecting the initial low offer so you can file a legal claim that holds the at-fault driver liable for their negligent actions.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a wrongful death auto accident, don’t face this challenging time alone. Call us at 832-844-6700 or reach out to us online for a free consultation, and let Johnson Garcia be your fierce advocate and ally in seeking justice and fighting for the compensation you deserve.

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