Fatal Car Accident Investigation Procedure in TexasDecember 9, 2022
If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, and you’re filing a wrongful death lawsuit or claim, a personal injury lawyer must establish that the death was caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Learning how an attorney conducts a wrongful death fatal auto accident investigation can show you just how much work an investigation entails and why it’s so important to seek legal representation as quickly as possible after you’ve lost your loved one in a preventable accident.
Investigating Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes
After a fatal auto accident, your attorney will conduct an accident investigation that will help prove the other party should be held liable. These investigations can take several weeks or months, depending on many factors. The sooner a person contacts an attorney, the better their chances are of a successful outcome. This is because over time, evidence may be lost, damaged, or destroyed. A wrongful death attorney must also speak to anyone that witnessed the accident as soon as possible since memories can fade.
Criminal Accident Investigation
In many cases, there will be a criminal investigation. At the accident scene, an investigator will look for evidence that a crime occurred. They may find that the evidence they have gathered and analyzed indicates a wrongful death, not a crime. If the investigator does find that a crime occurred, the defendant can be tried in criminal court and civil court. If the defendant is found innocent of the crimes they’re accused of, they can still be held liable in civil proceedings.
Accident Attorney Investigation
If you decide to pursue compensation and file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit a lawyer may perform a preliminary investigation to determine the validity of your case. During the investigation, they will explore the facts of the fatal road accident and identify the negligent party. Every accident case is different. The investigation may involve reviewing surveillance footage, working with a private investigator, reviewing the decedent’s medical records, the accident report, speaking with witnesses, and analyzing the evidence available, such as photos of the accident scene, the coroner’s report, and crime scene forensics.
If an attorney determines you have a valid case they will provide support, advice, and guidance, and protect your legal rights. They will also contact the insurance company and speak with the claims adjuster that is handling the claim, or they will contact the defendant’s defense attorney.
The longest part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit is discovery. During the discovery process, each side will thoroughly investigate the accident and learn as much as they can about the collision.
Your attorney may make requests for documents from all parties involved, such as the defense attorney, insurance company, or another entity.
These documents may include collision reports, police reports, the coroner’s report, medical records, and all other documentation that can help your wrongful death lawyer learn what caused the collision and which party was responsible.
Your accident injury attorney and the party at fault’s defense lawyer can also use written questions, or interrogatories, that have to be answered by the recipient. In some cases, the lawyers on both sides may request depositions, which are recorded interviews where the other attorney will ask questions.
Working With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
To ensure a successful outcome for your case, an attorney must be able to establish that the other driver directly caused the accident, which resulted in the decedent’s fatal injuries.
You must work with a wrongful death attorney that has experience investigating these types of complex accidents and understands the importance of conducting a thorough investigation.
Types of Damages
During the course of the investigation, your attorney must establish the personal injury damages that occurred as the result of the accident. The calculation of these damages is fairly simple since they are tied to economic costs. These damages may include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, property damage costs, and additional damages.
However, in the state of Texas, family members can also pursue compensation for non-economic damages. These damages may include lost support, maintenance, care, love, comfort, loss of consortium, and loss of companionship.
Surviving family members can also pursue compensation for lost inheritance, emotional anguish, and mental pain.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their negligent, careless, or reckless actions, and to deter people from committing the same acts in the future.
Putting a dollar amount on non-economic damages can be a challenge. However, an experienced wrongful death lawyer will know what evidence is needed to prove your request for damages.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney
At the Amaro Law Firm, our wrongful death attorneys provide the type of experienced, compassionate legal guidance and support clients need during this challenging time. If you lost a loved one in a preventable accident that was caused by the negligence of another, our attorneys will diligently investigate your case and help you recover the compensation and justice you deserve for your devastating loss. Contact our Houston law office today to schedule a free consultation.