Motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of death or severe injury in the event of a crash compared to drivers and passengers in cars, trucks and SUV’s. If your loved one passed away due to injuries he or she suffered in a motorcycle collision, nothing can make up for this tragic loss. However, legal action in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit may allow for financial recovery and help you hold all liable parties fully accountable from a civil standpoint. Read on to learn about the elements of Texas wrongful death lawsuits and what you can do if you are interested in seeking civil justice for your loved one through a wrongful death claim.
Is a Motorcycle Accident Fatality Considered a Wrongful Death in Texas?
Any unexpected death feels “wrongful” to the victim’s surviving loved ones. However, a wrongful death is specifically defined by Texas law as a death caused by wrongful act, recklessness, or negligence. You may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on your deceased loved one’s behalf if he or she was killed in a motorcycle crash caused by another party’s negligent or even unlawful behavior. Some examples of negligent or illegal behavior that may lead to a fatal motorcycle crash include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Erratic lane changes
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Truck driver negligence
- Driving while under the influence of drugs
The party liable for a motorcycle fatality is not always another driver. For example, defective design or manufacture of tires, motorcycle parts, or the motorcycle helmet may also cause an avoidable fatality. Ineffective road design or other government negligence may even be to blame.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action in Texas?
Only certain individuals are authorized to bring a wrongful death lawsuit after the loss of a loved one. You can file a wrongful death action if you are the victim’s:
The personal representative of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death action if the victim’s spouse, child, or parent does not file a claim within three months of the death. Financial compensation from a wrongful death claim is paid to the surviving family members in proportion to the injury they suffered due to their loved one’s death. Compensation for lost income, medical bills, funeral costs, and the victim’s pain and suffering may be available. The surviving family may also receive compensation for the intangible losses they suffered including lost companionship and care provided by the victim.
A survival claim allows heirs or the estate representative to seek damages that would have accrued to the decedent because of the incident and prior to his or her death. The Texas Survival Statute (found in Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.021 was enacted to prevent the extinguishing of a personal injury victim’s cause of action upon his or her death. Common law dictated that all personal injury causes of action were “personal” in nature. Consequently, the death of an individual extinguished claims for personal injuries. Thus, to prevent this unfortunate result, Texas and many other states adopted survival statutes. Under the aforementioned Texas Survival Statute, death does not result in the decedent’s personal injury cause of action dying with him or her. Rather, the cause of action passes onto the heirs, legal representatives, and estate of the deceased person.
Contact a McKinney Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a spouse, child, or parent in a motorcycle collision, contact a Collin County motorcycle accident attorney at Burress Personal Injury Law to discuss filing a wrongful death claim. You may be able to hold the at-fault party responsible for your tragic loss and recover monetary damages for your losses. Call 214-726-0016 for a free consultation.
Civil Practice and Remedies Code