This is the next post in our series on issues which arise in Fort Worth, Texas wrongful death cases. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with a personal injury attorney immediately if you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another. It is important that you speak with counsel sooner, rather than later, as you only have a limited amount of time in which you may file a case with the Court. Retaining a lawyer immediately helps to ensure that your rights remain fully protected. In this article we will discuss an important topic – how Texas’ comparative negligence statute applies to such cases. If you need assistance the contact counsel immediately.
We have previously discussed how a Fort Worth accident victim can recover damages even if they were partially at fault. These same concepts apply to the surviving heirs in a wrongful death, or “survival,” case. Under our state’s laws, a victim can recover damages as long as they are not more responsible for the accident than was the defendant. A victim’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their share of the fault. For example, if a car accident victim suffered $100,000 in damages, and was found to be forty percent responsible for the accident, then they would be awarded $60,000 ($100k – 40 percent). If the victim is found to have been more responsible for the accident than the defendant, then they will be prohibited from receiving compensation. These concepts also apply to instances where the victim of the accident, unfortunately, is deceased.
In a survival case, the heirs of a deceased victim can recover damages as if they were “in the shoes” of the victim. This means that the heirs can receive wages which the deceased would have earned as well as compensation for pain and suffering which the deceased endured. If, at trial, it is shown that the deceased was partially at fault for the incident, then any compensation received by the heirs will be reduced pursuant to the formula above.
If your family is filing a wrongful death or survival action in Fort Worth, or elsewhere in Texas, then it is crucial that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you. Such matters are often highly contested and it is common for defense counsel to claim that the deceased was actually to blame for the accident. Issues of comparative fault are highly complex and your lawyer will need to be able to make a case to the jury, that the defendant should bear the bulk of the blame. This need for experienced counsel is why we suggest that you retain a firm which employs multiple attorneys, which employs an on-staff investigator, and in which the lawyers are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.