This is the next post in my series on the common issues which arise during wrongful death cases in Laredo, Texas. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to immediately contact an attorney if you or a family member are seeking to bring a wrongful death action. Such cases are incredibly sensitive and difficult to deal with especially when you are grieving. In this article I will discuss how comparative fault impacts wrongful death cases in our state. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer.
In Texas, the family of a wrongful death victim can recover damages even if the victim was partially responsible for the incident
Texas is a “modified” comparative fault state. Under this standard, plaintiffs can sue for damages even if they are partially at fault for an accident. However, if they are found to be more than fifty percent (50%) responsible for the accident, they cannot recover any damages. In other words, if the plaintiff is found to be more at fault for the incident, then they will not be able to recover from the defendant. The determination of how much fault each party should be assigned is up to the jury.
In the context of wrongful death cases, the family of the victim of the incident can recover the percentage of damages that the victim was not responsible for. This is best explained by way of example. Suppose a man is driving a car and speeding. A woman runs a red light and hits the man’s car and the man dies on impact. The jury finds that the total amount of damages owed to the family is $1,000,000. The jury also determines that the man was responsible for thirty percent (30%) of the accident. This means that his family can only recover seventy percent (70%) of damages, or $700,000. However, if the jury had found that the man was sixty percent (60%) responsible for the accident, his family would not have been able to recover any damages. This would be the case despite the man’s death since he would have been found more than fifty percent (50%) responsible for the accident.
Laredo families of wrongful death victims should retain an attorney with sufficient experience handling such cases
If you have lost your loved one to a tragic accident, then it is important that you retain an attorney who is experienced in presenting complex matters at trial. Comparative fault issues can raise highly complicated factual arguments. Your case must be presented to the jury in a way that is clear, concise, and understandable, in order to be successful. You will also need to conduct a thorough investigation and acquire all necessary evidence to support your arguments. This includes evidence showing that the victim was not more than fifty percent (50%) responsible for the incident. It is important to remember that you only get one chance to present your case and it must be handled correctly.
A knowledgeable attorney will understand all pre-trial and trial procedures that must be followed. Further, lawyers are experienced in following the rules of evidence to ensure that the expert testimony and other types of evidence may be admitted properly in support of your case. I am a Laredo wrongful death lawyer and I take pride in the level of service I provide to my clients. If you need assistance with a wrongful death case, contact my office to speak with an attorney. I also serve other areas of south Texas.