Wrongful Death Lawyers & Fatal Accident Attorneys
There are no words to describe the pain caused by the fatality of an immediate family member. Nothing can replace seeing their smile again. Wrongful death lawyers from Dunnam & Dunnam pursue damages to provide your family with financial security after a tragedy. People must be held accountable for their actions. You don’t deserve to pay for someone else’s mistake that caused the death of your loved one. If you have lost someone that you love, you should contact a Waco wrongful death lawyer.
When someone else is responsible for the death of another person, they can be held accountable in civil court. The surviving members of the victim’s family may sue for “wrongful death.” A family can seek justice for the death of their family member, even if the state is pursuing the wrongdoer in criminal court. Many wrongful death lawsuits follow in the wake of criminal trials, using similar evidence but with a lower standard of proof. In civil court, the family needs to show by a preponderance of the evidence (is it more likely than not) that the person caused the death of a loved one. This is not the higher standard required by criminal courts, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. Someone found liable for the wrongful death may or may not be convicted of a crime associated with that death. Waco wrongful death attorneys seek compensation to cover damages caused by another person or company.
When the spouse, parent, children, sibling, or another relative of a fatal accident victim contacts our office, they often have questions about why the accident happened and are worried about how they will pay bills and expenses.
- Why wasn’t something done to prevent our family member’s death?
- How can we survive emotionally and financially after a tragedy?
- How will we pay the medical bills and funeral costs?
- How will our family manage daily living expenses now that we have lost income that had been provided by a deceased family member?
- Is there anything we can do to protect the reputation of our departed loved one?
- How can we make sure that this kind of accident never happens again?
Do you have a Waco Wrongful Death Claim?
If you’ve lost a loved one due to another individual’s negligent or reckless behavior, you may have a wrongful death suit. To win this type of case, our Waco wrongful death lawyers will prove that the individual at fault had a duty of care to the victim, that their actions breached this duty, and that the fatality was the direct result of their actions. The most common types of Waco wrongful death claims include:
Car accidents. Common examples of negligent behavior that may result in a fatal car crash include driving while distracted, driving while under the influence, car manufacturing defects, road design defects, and reckless driving.
Injuries at birth. If you lost your baby at birth due to the actions, omissions, or mistakes of a medical professional, you might have a wrongful death claim.
Workplace accidents. Workplace accidents that result in death may occur as the result of construction, driving, aviation, industrial, or maritime accident, among others.
Truck accidents. Because truck accidents are usually severe, it’s common for them to result in a fatality. When this occurs, you may be entitled to financial and punitive damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Texas wrongful death causes. Other causes of fatalities that are the responsibility of another person include:
- Contaminated food or other sanitation issues in commercial establishments.
- Criminal actions, including murder or manslaughter.
- Defective products. Wrongful deaths caused by dangerous or defective consumer products such as appliances, drugs, medical devices, electronics, or vehicles may lead to product liability claims citing wrongful death.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.
- Faulty construction and engineering malpractice.
- Illegal or improper alcohol service, such as a bartender continuing to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron.
- Medical malpractice, such as surgical errors, medication errors, misdiagnosis, or medical injury.
- Nursing home abuse or neglect.
- Pedestrian accident fatalities.
How to start a wrongful death case in Waco
After the traumatic death of a loved one, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. With Dunnam & Dunnam, our Waco fatal accident lawyers take cases with unwavering focus and attention to detail. When you come to us with a potential wrongful death claim, we’ll first help you set up an estate. Unlike many personal injury law firms, we have a board-certified estate planning attorney on staff. Your loved one may or may not have a will that names someone to be the representative of the estate.
If you choose to retain our Waco personal injury attorneys for the job, we’ll file the correct documents to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. Legal processes take time. We can help you expedite the process so your family can receive compensation for losses and expenses without unnecessary delay. Our team works on a contingency fee arrangement for wrongful death and estate claims, meaning we don’t charge for our services unless we recover money.
To build a strong wrongful death and survival case, our experienced Waco wrongful death lawyers will:
- Rapidly secure the evidence.
- Get witness affidavits.
- Take photographs.
- Transfer black box data.
- Have an accident reconstruction engineer to reconstruct the accident
- Send letters to safeguard against the destruction or modification of any of the vehicles or other evidence.
- Hire an economist after the initial evidence is obtained to calculate the financial loss the family will incur due to the death.
- Assist with setting up the estate of the deceased to bring the estate’s claims and transfer the estate’s assets to the heirs of the estate.
What damages can you recover from a wrongful death lawsuit in Waco?
While no amount of financial payment can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one, being financially secure in your future and the comfort of responsible parties being brought to justice can provide a sense of closure and security to survivors. The types of damages recovered depend upon the relationship between the deceased person and the survivors. In general, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the dead person may recover damages in a wrongful death case. If you’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligent or reckless behavior, you and your family may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are intended to cover the loss of financial support for the surviving family members. Economic damages include things such as funeral and medical expenses related to the death, loss of the deceased’s future earnings, and loss of the deceased’s future benefits.
Non-economic damages are intended to cover the intangible losses the surviving family members experience. Non-economic damages are things that have less tangible value. This includes pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of inheritance, loss of past and future household services, and loss of consortium.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages as a way of punishing the responsible party for willful or grossly negligent acts.
Evidence for a Waco wrongful death lawsuit
To bring a suit forward, you must have substantial evidence. In Waco wrongful death cases, there are some critical elements involved that can help you prove the validity of your claim. This includes the fact that the responsible party owed your loved one a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and as a result, caused their death. In cases involving criminal actions, the intent will likely need to be proven or demonstrated. This can require extensive evidence, witness testimony, expert opinions, and a thorough legal investigation. This is where having experienced Waco wrongful death attorneys makes a difference.
Is a survival claim the same as a wrongful death claim?
The purpose of a wrongful death action is to compensate the surviving family members for their emotional and financial losses.
A survival action, on the other hand, is a personal injury claim filed by the decedent’s estate that allows the surviving family members to recover damages for any pain and suffering the decedent suffered in the minutes, hours, or days leading up to their death.
The damages that are recovered through a survival action belong to the decedent’s estate and will be divided up among family members according to the decedent’s will or if they didn’t have a will, by state statute.
When there is evidence that the decedent consciously experienced pain before they passed away, our lawyers will always file a wrongful death AND a survival claim to ensure that the surviving family members can receive the maximum recovery available to them.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death or survival claim?
During your grieving period, consideration of a wrongful death lawsuit may not seem urgent. But these cases must be filed within a specific time, or you risk losing your rights.
History of wrongful death litigation
Before wrongful death laws were passed in each state, wrongful death claims did not exist. These claims were not allowed under common law, the legal principles that had been passed down from England to the United State over many centuries. Under common law, negligence claims died with the victims of the negligence, and so survivors did not have the right to recover for the losses they suffered as a result of the death of their loved one. Now, of course, all states have wrongful death statutes, and even though they are not identically drafted, there are some common elements at their core. When filing a wrongful death claim, survivors must typically show:
- The person(s) being sued caused the death (completely or in part) of the victim.
- The person(s) being sued were either negligent when they caused the death, or are responsible for the death as a matter of law (strict liability).
- The victim’s spouse, dependents and/or beneficiaries are alive.
- The victim’s death has caused monetary losses, compensation for which is being sought.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against a wide variety of people, such as the driver at fault in an automobile accident, a negligent employer, the manufacturer of a faulty or dangerous product, or a violent criminal.
A member of a family, however, can’t be sued by another family member for wrongful death. So if a battering husband inflicts a beating on his wife that results in her death, he is subject to criminal penalties, but the couple’s children can’t sue their father for wrongful death to recover damages for the loss of their mother’s care, nurturing, and support.
Our Results in Personal Injury Matters
- $27 million settlement in matter involving the close head injury of a two-week-old child. Read about this case as reported by the Waco Tribune Herald, KCEN-TV, Meat & Poultry Magazine and Topverdict.com.
- $15 million settlement reported in matter involving the injuries of an ATF agent in the Branch Davidian raid. Read about this case on Justia.com.
- $1.5 million settlement reported for the injuries caused by a straw purchase of a gun at a pawn shop. Read about this case as reported by the Waco Tribune Herald, and MoreLaw.com.
- $800 thousand verdict for motorcycle driver with broken femur involved in collision with a car.
We are proud of our results reported above, but please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Each matter depends on the facts of the case.
Contact a Waco fatal accident attorney
We are experienced, aggressive trial lawyers who are committed to our clients’ success. Dunnam & Dunnam attorneys are here to answer your questions about personal injury matters. Our family is here to help you and your family. Our Waco wrongful death attorneys have decades of experience in these complicated matters. If a family member has been killed in a Waco accident, then call our attorneys at 254-753-6437 to schedule a free consultation. These wrongful death attorneys are routinely involved in Central Texas wrongful death lawsuits:
Eleeza's practice areas include: Personal Injury Law, Civil Trial Law, Commercial Law, Family Law and Pharmaceutical Law.Read More
Gerald R. Villarrial has practiced family law, criminal law and civil litigation for over 20 years.Read More
Grace Strange is a US Army veteran who puts her determination and passion to work for clients.Read More
Jim Dunnam is a Board Certified Specialist in both Civil Trial Law and Family Law.Read More
Mason Dunnam is the fourth generation of Dunnam attorneys at the firm since 1925Read More
Thomas C. West is a Criminal Law specialist, Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.Read More