When a person dies as a result of negligence or malice, the grief, mental anguish, and anger felt by their loved ones is incomparable. Wrongful deaths leave an unfillable hole in families when a loved one is taken too soon and under preventable circumstances. The emotional toll and the financial burdens – such as medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages – make grieving and healing even more difficult and painful for families. While there is no amount of money that could ever replace the loss of someone you cared about, a Texas wrongful death lawyer can help families pursue a lawsuit that would give justice for victims while also lessening stressful financial burdens families have been forced to incur.
What is Wrongful Death?
In legal terms, wrongful death is defined as “the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person.” When one party, through malice or negligence, causes the death of another party, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against the party or parties who caused the death on behalf of the qualifying family members who lost their loved one. Family members of wrongful death victims are entitled to pursue a civil lawsuit due to the negligent actions or accident that caused the fatal injury to their loved one. The family essentially stands in shoes of the deceased, pursuing the death case as the deceased could have pursued a personal injury claim had they not succumbed to their injuries.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?
With regard to motor vehicle accident fatalities, while incapacitated drivers cause an unfortunate amount of wrongful deaths, a variety of causes exist. Beyond the roadways, wrongful death lawsuits can involve defective products, work accidents, and medical errors.
Car and Truck Accidents
Motorists have a responsibility to operate their vehicles in a safe manner according to Texas traffic laws. When a driver gets behind the wheel of car or truck while intoxicated, their unsafe and erratic driving can kill those on or near the roads. In addition, advancements in technology have caused many preventable deaths due to distracted drivers. Distracted drivers turn their attention from their road and surrounding vehicles when they engage in distracting activities such as using their cellphone for texting, talking, and checking, as well as changing the radio station, eating, using navigation, and any other activity inside the cabin that detracts focus from driving. Any one of these reckless behaviors can lead to a fatal car accident. A negligent driver can be held accountable for their actions, including any resulting fatalities from a vehicle collision. This can include passengers in the driver’s vehicle, drivers and passengers in other vehicles, as well as pedestrians or cyclists who may have been killed in the accident.
Unsafe Working Conditions
Employers have a duty to ensure workers are free from danger when performing their jobs. Unsafe working conditions put workers at a greater risk of suffering a fatal accident. Many occupations are inherently hazardous in nature, and workers in these fields rely on and trust that their employers are following federal guidelines regarding workplace safety. Employers are required by federal law to take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe workplace, including but not limited to:
- Safeguarding all machinery and tools
- Safeguarding platforms and areas around objects workers could fall into
- Inspection of electrical circuits
- Providing slip-free walking areas
- Providing safe, non-slip stairs and adequate barriers/railways
- Posting proper safety signage in languages workers can read in areas of high visibility
- Removing toxic substances and waste
- Providing personal protective equipment to workers
- Regularly performing routine maintenance on machines, equipment, and vehicles
An accident involving any of the above risks can quickly turn fatal for workers who were simply trying to do their jobs. Employers that favor profits over workers’ safety should be held responsible for the wrongdoing and negligence that claims the lives of so many each year.
When a safety, medical, or other device fails to function as intended and causes a death, it is considered a wrongful death. Companies and manufacturers have a responsibility to consumers to ensure all products are safe, follow federal regulations regarding the use of toxic materials, function as intended safely, and that a product will not seriously injure or kill a consumer. Sadly, every year defective products are recalled due to manufacturers failing to perform sufficient product safety testing and/or failing to routinely inspect the product before it enters consumers’ hands. Defective products that have resulted in wrongful deaths include but are not limited to:
- Defective airbags
- Defective car seats
- Defective seat belts
- Medical products
- Defective vaping devices such as Juuls
Why Wrongful Death?
The sad reality of a loved one’s passing is that in addition to the emotional pain of loss, there will likely be a hefty financial burden. Families of wrongful death victims endure enough stress and pain without worrying about the financial burdens resulting from their loved one’s passing. A wrongful death lawsuit seeks financial compensation to cover numerous expenses and other damages, including:
- Loss of financial support for surviving dependents if the death occurred to the sole or partial supporter of the family
- Loss of emotional support, companionship, and intimacy for spouses
- Costs associated with medical care that preceded the wrongful death
- Costs associated with funeral expenses
- Compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering
Wrongful Death Lawyers Helping Houston Families
The Houston lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. are committed to helping the wrongful death victims and their families across the state. We are patient and compassionate as we advocate on your behalf. No family should feel they are alone in their fight for justice for their loved one. If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death, contact our wrongful death lawyers today for a free consultation to see how we can help.