Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney in Abilene
We Pursue Justice for Grieving Families
If you’ve lost a spouse, child, or parent, your grief has likely left you reeling emotionally. Your family member’s death may have also thrown your finances into chaos. If the deceased was a financial provider you may wonder how you will get along without their income. You may also have medical, burial and other bills to pay due to your loved one’s injuries and subsequent loss. It is a profoundly unfair situation to have to bear financial worries in addition to the heartache you’re experiencing.
Let Us Help Ease Your Financial Burden
We can’t take away your pain. But what we can do is listen to your story, assess the facts, and, if appropriate, help you bring a wrongful death suit against the parties responsible for your family member’s injuries and death. When we take your case, we’ll work hard to get you compensation to help ease your financial burden as you navigate life going forward — and bring you some sense of justice.
To schedule a free consultation with one of the wrongful death lawsuit lawyers at the Hanna Law Firm, call 432-606-8048 or reach out to us via our online form. We’ll arrange a time to speak with you at one of our West Texas offices. We have offices in Abilene, Midland, Sweetwater and Odessa.
WHY DO I NEED AN ABILENE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER?
We Will Fight to Get You the Compensation You Deserve
We understand that there’s not enough money in the world to pay for what you’ve lost. However, our wrongful death lawyer will fight to get you every penny you deserve from the at-fault party or their insurance company. We will work on your behalf to calculate the true value of your claim so that you understand the amount of compensation you and other survivors are entitled to and you don’t settle for anything less.
In some wrongful death cases, the responsible party’s insurance company may approach survivors and attempt to give them a settlement. With bills piling up, you may be tempted to take this money if an insurer approaches you. But the goal of insurers is to pay survivors a minimal amount so they will go away. Once you take this money, you can’t get anything else. For this reason, before you speak with the at-fault party’s insurer or accept any offer from them, it’s a wise idea to meet with an attorney who is skilled in handling wrongful death cases.
The knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers at the Hanna Law Firm will thoroughly research the circumstances of your loved one’s death, identify every party responsible, and make sure they are brought to justice. Call our wrongful death lawyers in Texas at 432-606-8048 to arrange a free consultation. We will examine all the elements involved to determine whether you may have a successful claim. If we believe you do, our hardworking attorneys won’t back down in standing up for you.
Essential Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In order for a wrongful death claim to be successful, there are a few elements that must be in place.
- There must be surviving relatives (a spouse, child, or parent) who are suffering financially and otherwise due to the death.
- It must be proven that the plaintiff in the case owed a “duty of care” to the deceased person.
- It must be proven that the plaintiff failed in their duty of care to the deceased.
- It must be proven that the plaintiff’s failure to uphold their duty of care directly led to the person’s death.
For example, every driver has an obligation — or “duty of care” — to drive safely and follow all traffic laws. If your loved one was hit and killed by a person driving while impaired, speeding, or otherwise breaking the rules of the road, you may have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Or maybe your relative was an oilfield worker who was killed in an explosion on the job. A subsequent investigation then revealed that the equipment was not properly maintained or workers were not properly trained, which led to the incident. There was a duty of care that was breached by the responsible parties, and you may have a case for a wrongful death suit.
If you are unsure whether you can file a wrongful death claim for your loved one who passed away, call us at 432-606-8048. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys are ready to help. We provide free, no-obligation consultations, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with us.
LIABILITY IN WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS IN TEXAS
A Variety of Accidents and Incidents Can Lead To Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases take many forms, and every one of them differs in its circumstances and details. But here are a few of the more common causes of wrongful death claims and who may be held liable in them:
- Car accidents. Distracted driving is nothing new, but cell phones and texting in particular have made our roads more dangerous than ever before. In a recent single year in Texas, according to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, one in five accidents in the state were due to distracted driving of motor vehicles. These accidents caused 2,200 injuries and over 360 deaths. Distracted driving is a leading cause of death to motor vehicle occupants, bicyclists and pedestrians, but there are other dangerous behaviors that also kill innocent people. Deaths caused by drunk and drugged driving and drowsy driving are also frighteningly common, as are car accidents caused by drivers who speed, weave in and out of traffic, tailgate and otherwise drive aggressively.
- Commercial truck crashes. Texas roadways are filled with large commercial trucks moving oil, gas and other products from place to place. While most commercial truckers work hard to maintain safety and be diligent drivers, when they are overworked and tired, deadly accidents can result. Because of the sheer size and weight of these mammoth vehicles, a wrong maneuver by a commercial truck can cause severe injuries leading to deaths. In some cases, trucks can be cut off by unsafe drivers of other vehicles on the road, leading to crashes. In commercial truck accidents, trucking companies who push drivers too hard, other dangerous drivers, and truck drivers who are negligent behind the wheel may be held liable.
- Workplace deaths. While a death can occur in any sort of work environment, some workplaces are more dangerous than others. Here in West Texas, deaths caused by oilfield accidents are of particular concern. Our oilfields are inherently treacherous places to work, with their heavy equipment, toxic chemicals, and other perils. And the companies that are supposed to ensure their workers’ safety often fail to do so. When workplace deaths happen, whether in an oilfield or another workplace, survivors may be able to get workers’ comp death benefits along with filing a wrongful death claim, depending upon all the circumstances and whether the company is a subscriber to workers’ comp. If your loved one died on the job, we’ll investigate and advise you about your options for compensation.
- Medical malpractice. If your loved one died due to the negligence of a medical provider, you may have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit. For a wrongful death claim to apply, the death must be due to a serious medical error or breach in judgment. Not every medical error is a case of medical malpractice. To rise to the level of malpractice, it must be proven that the doctor or other healthcare provider behaved negligently. In medical malpractice cases, negligence means that the doctor or other healthcare practitioner acted outside the accepted standard of care for medical providers. Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, pharmacists, hospitals, and other providers and facilities may be named in wrongful death claims, depending on the situation.
- Nursing home neglect and abuse. Nursing home neglect and abuse is not uncommon. Falls and untreated bed sores that lead to infections and death are two common reasons for nursing home wrongful death claims. Additionally, if a nursing home resident dies due to violence by a worker or another resident, the nursing home and its staff may be sued.
- Defective product deaths. If your relative died because of a defect in a product, you may be eligible for a wrongful death case. Defective car components, power tools, medical equipment, children’s products, heavy machinery and a whole host of other products that malfunction can cause injuries and death. If your family member trustingly used a product that failed and caused their death, the manufacturer of that product may be held accountable.
- Premises liability deaths. When unsafe conditions exist in stores, parking lots, office buildings, homes and other premises that lead to slips, trips, falls or other accidents, the person or entity responsible for maintaining the property may be at fault. Proving premises liability involves showing that the property owner invited others to the property and knew dangerous conditions existed but didn’t fix them.
- Intentional acts. When someone is killed through an act of violence, they can be held accountable in a wrongful death claim. Even if the person is being criminally prosecuted, they can still be sued in the civil court.
Whatever type of accident or other incident caused your relative’s death, we will work to establish who may be liable. Sometimes more than one party may be held accountable, depending on the circumstances. Once our wrongful death attorney in Abilene discovers who to hold liable, they will file the claim and work to prove it and get you compensation.
Statute Of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Filing a lawsuit probably isn’t a top priority when you are just trying to get through each day after losing a loved one. But the sooner you file, the sooner you may be able to get legal satisfaction. Also, if you file as soon as possible, you won’t risk running up against the Texas statute of limitations. Generally, survivors have two years from the date of their family member’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, every case is different, and there are many exceptions to this statute. When you meet with one of our Abilene wrongful death lawyers, they will review your circumstances and advise you about specific deadlines in your case.
Call the Wrongful Death Lawyers in Abilene at Hanna Law Firm
We Provide Free Consultations to Help Put Survivors on the Path to Justice
At the Hanna Allen firm, we understand that you are grieving. We want to ease a bit of your burden by getting you compensation that can help relieve financial stress. And for the sake of your beloved relative, we want the at-fault party held to account for their actions, as you do, too.
Our job is to handle every detail of your case and fight to win you justice ― so you can focus on yourself, your family and moving forward with your life.
To meet with one of our compassionate and skilled Texas wrongful death lawyers, call (432) 220-2649 or fill out our online form for a free consultation and we will get back to you quickly. For the convenience of clients, in addition to Abilene, we also have offices in Odessa, Sweetwater and Midland.
What is wrongful death?
Texas law says that a party is “liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury lawsuit, except that the injured person died and so can’t file suit for himself. The surviving family members essentially file on their behalf. Like a personal injury claim, wrongful death cases can arise from a wide variety of accidents and situations.
Am I eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Only specific family members can file wrongful death lawsuits. Texas law states that in order to file one, you must be the victim’s child (minor or adult), parent, or spouse. Legally adopted children may file a wrongful death lawsuit after the death of their adoptive parent (and vice versa), but not after the death of their biological parent. If there are multiple eligible survivors, they may file a claim together. If eligible family members choose not to file, the personal representative of the deceased may file on behalf of the estate, if there are no objections from eligible survivors. Siblings, grandparents, and other relatives of the person who died are not eligible to file wrongful death suits.
How much money can my wrongful death lawyer help me collect?
There’s no single answer to the question of how much money you may end up receiving in a wrongful death case. There are many factors that must be weighed in determining the “worth” of a suit. This doesn’t mean that one person’s life is more valuable than someone else’s life. Rather, it’s simply a calculation based on the actual monetary losses suffered by the survivors as a result of their loved one’s death. Some of the considerations that go into determining value in a wrongful death lawsuit include: The age of the deceased person The income and earning capacity of the deceased person while they were alive The deceased person’s education The deceased person’s state of health The age and need of the survivors Value of benefits (such as health insurance) lost due to the death Expenses incurred due to the deceased person’s death — medical bills, funeral expenses, etc. At the Hanna Law Firm, one of our compassionate wrongful death lawyers can review your situation and advise you about how much money your suit may be worth. Call our office to schedule a free consultation at (432) 220-2649.
What types of damages can my Abilene wrongful death lawyer help me recover?
Damages is a legal term for the compensation you may receive in a wrongful death case. In a wrongful death case, damages are designed to compensate survivors for the losses they’ve suffered due to the death of their close family member. Specifically, damages may fall into the following categories: Medical expenses incurred due to the accident Funeral and burial costs Lost wages if they missed time at work due to injury before passing away Lost earning capacity for the future – the money they would have expected to earn throughout their lives Lost care, services, support, and counsel that the deceased can no longer provide to their loved ones Anguish, pain, and suffering endured by survivors Lost companionship and love Lost inheritance: what the deceased likely would have earned over the course of an expected lifespan and eventually left to family members. In some wrongful death cases, survivors may receive punitive, or exemplary, damages. These are awarded only in cases of gross negligence or if the death was due to a willful act or omission. These damages are designed to punish the guilty party and deter future similar behavior.
How is money divided if there is more than one eligible survivor?
If there is more than one eligible survivor, damages will be awarded by the court based on the proportion they have each suffered due to the death, as determined by the court. If a settlement is reached before the case goes to trial and all parties are in agreement, they can divide the money as they wish, unless minor children are among the survivors. If minor children are among the survivors, the court will appoint a representative to look out for the children’s interests in dividing settlements.
How does the wrongful death lawsuit process work?
Typically, your wrongful death attorney in Abilene will first try to negotiate a fair settlement with the responsible party and their insurer. To help get a fair settlement offer, our Texas wrongful death lawyers always prepare cases as if they are going to trial. By preparing as if we are going to trial, it signals to insurers that we know we have a strong case and that we are willing and ready to take it all the way to a judge or jury. Often insurers will settle fairly because they don’t want the expense of a trial. But if they won’t make a fair offer or if the party who caused your loved one’s death denies responsibility, we may have no choice but to go to trial. Our attorneys are both effective negotiators and aggressive litigators. If your case goes to trial, we have the depth of skills needed to successfully fight for your interests in the courtroom.
How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take?
It depends upon how the case resolves. When insurers settle claims, it may take just a few months to get payment. When cases go to trial, it often takes much longer. Sometimes it can take a year or more. There are several steps involved in going to trial, including getting on the court’s calendar, going through the discovery phase, which is when both sides exchange evidence and information and interview parties involved, and the actual trial itself. Additionally, if a jury decision goes against the party you are suing, that party has the right to appeal the decision, which further delays the process. And if the decision isn’t in your favor, you can also appeal. However, it’s important to note that a case can settle at any time, even after the trial has already started. Sometimes if powerful evidence is presented, at-fault parties may change their minds and decide to settle.
How much does hiring a wrongful death attorney in Abilene cost?
Our wrongful death attorneys only get paid when we get you money through a settlement or award. When we get you compensation, you pay us a previously agreed-upon percentage of your settlement or your award. When we take on cases, we do so because we believe the evidence is strong and we will win. But if we don’t get you compensation, you don’t owe us anything. Additionally, we provide free consultations so we can advise people of whether or not we believe they have a wrongful death case. If it turns out that we don’t think the evidence in your case will get you the desired outcome, we’ll tell you, and it won’t cost you anything.
Our Texas Wrongful Death Lawyers Provide Skilled Legal Support
Wrongful death lawsuits involve a lot of complexities. It takes in-depth understanding of the law and careful investigation of all the evidence to successfully prove fault in them. Depending on the circumstances, the type of evidence we will investigate includes:
- Police and other accident reports
- Medical records
- Death certificates
- Witness statements
- The accident scene itself
- Photos and video of the accident scene
- Any other evidence that may be relevant to the case.
We also engage the services of expert witnesses. For example, if the death occurred as a result of a car accident, we may bring in accident reconstruction experts or highway safety professionals. If medical malpractice is alleged, we would get help from medical professionals with knowledge of the particular surgery or other procedure that caused your loved one’s death.
Texas is a comparative negligence state. This means that if it can be determined that your family member shared any fault for their own accident and injuries, your compensation will be reduced by that amount. For example, if it can be proven that the deceased person was 25% responsible for their own accident, your award would be reduced by this amount. If the other side is successful in proving your loved one was more than 50% to blame for their own accident, you won’t get anything. Insurers will also typically consider comparative negligence in negotiating settlement awards.
Unfortunately, in wrongful death cases, opposing sides and their attorneys often try to blame the victim for their own injuries and death. That way, they can reduce the amount of money they’re liable for or potentially not pay anything at all. For example, the driver that was responsible for your family member’s death may try to claim that your loved one was speeding or doing something else that contributed to the accident. Or, in the case of a manufacturer, the company may try to claim that your loved one was using a product in a way it wasn’t intended to be used, which caused it to malfunction and injure them.
For these reasons, it’s very important to get the assistance of an experienced law firm with a track record of success in beneficially resolving wrongful death cases for clients. Hanna Law is that law firm. Our committed wrongful death lawyers in Abilene fight hard toward proving fault on behalf of clients who have experienced the traumatic deaths of beloved family members. You can count on us to stand up for you.