Drunk driving affects the lives of millions of individuals each year. In 2019, there were over 24,000 alcohol-related collisions on Texas roadways. That works out to one drunk driving crash every 20 minutes. Drunk driving causes nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the Lone Star State. If your loved one died in a wreck caused by a drunk driver, you should know that you may be able to hold the driver accountable through a civil lawsuit.
Drunk Driving Wrongful Death Cases in Texas
Driving while intoxicated by alcohol is against the law in Texas. Consequently, the driver who caused your loved one’s fatal accident may face significant criminal penalties. While criminal consequences can provide a sense of justice, jail time and other punitive measures do not provide restitution to the victim’s surviving loved ones. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit brought by a deceased person’s family member for a death caused by wrongdoing or negligence. A criminal conviction is not needed for a successful wrongful death claim.
Damages in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Money could never make up for the loss of human life. Nevertheless, the unexpected death of a spouse, parent, or another close family member can represent a significant financial burden on the surviving loved ones. A wrongful death claim may allow you to recover compensation for the damages or losses that you suffered as a result of your family member’s death.
Who can assert a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
If you want to file a wrongful death claim, you must meet at least one of these criteria:
- You are the surviving spouse;
- You are a surviving child;
- You are a surviving parent;
- You are a legally adopted child of the deceased;
- You are a surviving adoptive parent; or
- You are the personal representative of the estate of the deceased.
Under the Texas Wrongful Death Statute, you can receive financial compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death
- Loss of earning capacity of the decedent
- The loss of services your loved one provided such as home maintenance, domestic responsibilities, or taking care of your children
- Lost inheritance suffered by family members
You may also recover compensation for the intangible losses you suffered because of your family member’s tragic death. Recoverable non-economic damages may include:
- Loss of the companionship, comfort, and support your loved one provided
- Mental anguish and emotional suffering
In some cases, punitive damages are also available. These are damages above and beyond the damages that compensate the victim’s family for these losses. Punitive damages are intended to act as punishment for wrongdoing and a deterrent against similar behavior in the future.
Contact the Highest Rated McKinney, Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer
If your loved one was killed in a drunk driving crash, contact the highest rated Collin County wrongful death attorney to discuss your legal options. You could be entitled to monetary damages for your financial losses and the non-financial harm caused by the accident. Call Burress Personal Injury Law at 214-726-0016 for a free consultation today.