Where to Turn for Answers & Advocacy After Wrongful Death in Austin, Texas
A wrongful death case can be a powerful way to seek justice when negligence has stolen the life of your loved one. In fact, no matter what type of accident or event was involved, filing a claim can help you call attention to the wrongdoings, hold the at-fault parties liable, and seek justice. So can an Austin wrongful death attorney.
Highlighting how these cases work, the following shares more about different types of wrongful death claims, who can file them, and how an Austin wrongful death lawyer can help you if you’ve lost a loved one to negligence.
Whenever it’s time for claim-specific information and advice, set up a confidential meeting with a wrongful death attorney near you in Austin, TX.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Austin, TX
By definition, wrongful death involves the loss of life due to the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of some party. The negligence that causes wrongful death can involve all sorts of oversights and failures in various settings, including (but not limited to) negligence:
- On the roads: Negligent drivers, motor carriers, automakers, and others can all contribute to deadly wrecks on the roads in and around Austin, causing preventable wrongful deaths. Drunk driving, violating federal trucking regulations, and failing to test the safety of vehicle equipment are a few examples of negligence that can cause wrongful death on the roads.
- On the water: Watercraft owners, operators, manufacturers, and others can play a role in offshore wrongful deaths. That can occur via negligence like recklessly operating a boat or failing to properly maintain watercraft.
- In the air: Aircraft operators, owners, equipment manufacturers, and others can be to blame when fatal aviation accidents occur. The negligence behind these accidents can involve anything from failing to adjust aircraft operations in adverse weather to violating federal aviation regulations.
- At work: Toxic exposures, failures to provide safety training, and violations of federal safety regulations are just a few ways in which negligence can cause work-related wrongful death.
- In other locations: At home, in commercial spaces, at private properties, and elsewhere, any failures to take reasonable precautions to keep people safe can end up causing fatal accidents. For example, equipment malfunctions, dangerous premises, and toxic exposures can arise in various locations, causing life-threatening injuries wherever they’re encountered.
After losing a loved one, you may not know whether negligence was involved in causing the death or what your rights and options are for seeking justice. You can start getting a better handle on those matters by talking to an experienced Austin wrongful death lawyer ‘near me.’
Can an Executor or an Estate File a Wrongful Death Claim in Austin, TX?
No. Texas law only entitles the following parties to file wrongful death cases in Austin and throughout the state:
- Husbands and wives, as long as they had not finalized any pending divorce with the decedent
- Biological and adopted children but not stepchildren who had not been legally adopted by the decedent
- Biological and adoptive parents but not stepparents who had not legally adopted the decedent
While executors and estates cannot pursue Texas wrongful death cases, these parties may be eligible to file a survival action. Distinct from wrongful death cases, which focus on the losses suffered by surviving loved ones, a survival action can yield damages for decedents’ losses.
Keep in mind that there are specific eligibility requirements for filing a survival action in Austin, including a 3-month waiting period after the death. Consequently, whether you’re considering pursuing a wrongful death claim or a survival action, it’s prudent to partner with an Austin wrongful death lawyer who can help you navigate the law and set a claim up for a favorable outcome.
What Happens During an Austin Wrongful Death Case?
No two cases are exactly the same, so there’s no single, set path that all wrongful death claims follow. In fact, some of the factors that can alter the course of a wrongful death case — impacting what happens next, how long a case takes, and how it’s resolved — can include:
- Gaps or delays in medical treatment for the decedent (prior to death)
- Admissions of fault or liability the decedent may have made before passing away
- Interactions with and/or official statements provided to insurance companies
- Delays in consulting an attorney or securing legal representation
With that noted, there are some fundamental steps that comprise most wrongful death claims, including (but not limited to):
- Investigating the incident to figure out who’s at fault and gather important evidence
- Convening with the opposition to complete the discovery process, which may include depositions, court hearings, evidence exchanges, and more
- Meeting with insurance companies and/or the defendants’ attorneys to try to negotiate a settlement outside of court
- Communicating back and forth on the issues of the case and/or the terms of a settlement offer
While most Austin wrongful death cases are settled outside of court, the few that end up going to trial do so because plaintiffs and defendants cannot agree on either:
- Some key elements of the case, like liability
- What is “fair” in terms of a wrongful death settlement
How Can an Austin Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me Help?
An experienced wrongful death attorney in Austin, TX, can take the lead with every aspect of your case, overseeing key matters like (but not limited to):
- Case deadlines
- Court paperwork and filings
- Case investigations and discovery
- Essential communications with all involved parties
- Court hearings and appearances
- Interactions and negotiations with opponents
During all this, a lawyer can take special care to safeguard your rights, protect your interests, and push back against any opponents who try to undermine you or your potential claim. That can give you far better chances of winning a wrongful death case and securing justice.