Wrongful death is a legal term for a death which was directly caused through the negligence or carelessness of another person or entity. Some examples of wrongful death include: a person who is killed by a drunk driver, death on a construction site due to a defective or unsound building or piece of heavy equipment, death due to nursing home negligence, death due to a defective or dangerous product or even death due to a dangerous roadway. Anytime a family member has died in an accident or questionable circumstance in the Dallas, Austin or Fort Worth area, it is always beneficial to contact a law firm to investigate the matter further.
Although most all wrongful death suits are filed by family members of the deceased, you may need a Texas wrongful death attorney to determine who has standing to bring the wrongful death action. Wrongful death suits are usually filed in order to recover expenses associated with the death, including medical expenses and funeral bills, loss of wages the decedent would have earned, loss of companionship, care, protection and even loss of inheritance. Wrongful death suits may also be filed in order to recover punitive damages which are meant to punish those who have exhibited negligence and prevent them from harming others in the future. In short, persons, companies and governmental agencies can be found legally at fault when they fail to act in a reasonable manner or act negligently or intentionally in a manner which leads to the death of a person.
How Could a Poorly Maintained Roadway Cause a Death?
Generally, governmental agencies are responsible for a poorly designed or maintained roadway which leads to a wrongful death; however, in some cases, the actual private company designing the roadway may share some of the fault as well. Also, in some states governmental agencies can be deemed immune from a wrongful death suit; for example, recent federal laws have granted immunity to governmental agencies from wrongful death claims resulting from a railroad crash. In most cases, however, the government has a legal obligation to ensure all roadways are both properly designed and properly maintained in order to prevent harm to others.
When the state neglects to live up to these obligations and then a motorist, who expects to drive on a safe roadway, dies as a direct result of this negligence, family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Such issues as uneven pavement, inadequate traffic signals or signs, lack of warning signs which warn drivers of construction zones or other road hazards, potholes, brush which has not been cut and obstructs motorist’s view and inadequate drainage. Even a small pothole, left unattended, can cause a vehicle to swerve out of control, hitting another vehicle or a fixed object such as a tree and causing death.
When You Need a Dallas, Austin or Fort Worth Law Firm for a Wrongful Death
There are very strict guidelines which govern wrongful death claims. Therefore, it is highly advisable that injured auto accident victims speak with an attorney in the Dallas, Austin or Fort Worth area who has experience in wrongful death claims. The family of the deceased is then able to turn the details of the wrongful death claim over to a lawyer, giving the family time to grieve and put their lives back together.