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What Compensation Damages are Available after a Fatal Car Accident?
If your loved one has been taken from you because of a fatal car accident, whether they were with you in your auto or someone else’s, you are entitled to seek monetary damage compensation for that horrible loss. We truly understand why no amount of money can compensate a family for the loss of a beloved member in a tragic car wreck. But money is the only remedy the law can provide, especially if no criminal charges are filed against the other driver. Given the high price of funeral expenses and medical bills alone, the civil remedy is a valuable tool to help families get back on their feet after a heartrending fatal car wreck and give their loved one a fitting memorial. Even more: recovering damages from a defendant punishes them for his or her negligence. It also serves as a reminder of the financial and legal consequences to which negligent people expose themselves when they drive irresponsibly, and it can inspire them never to do it again.
In a fatal vehicle accident lawsuit, there are two types of damages. They are wrongful death damages and survivor damages. Below is a general overview of both.
Wrongful death damages are those directly incurred by family members that have lost a loved one due to a fatal accident. These damages can be sought by multiple immediate family members, such as a spouse, parents, or children, either separately or collectively. Wrongful death damages will often, but not always, include compensation for items such as the deceased family member’s medical bills prior to death and funeral expenses, along with a family member’s pain and suffering due to their loss. Also included in wrongful death damages is the loss of financial support provided by the decedent and the loss of consortium (or unique familial love that is lost). Sometimes that consortium can be personal and professional if, for example, a father was in business with his wife or his son or all members were part of a family business. They include:
Compensation for mental and emotional distress caused by the loss of a family member.
Compensation for loss of companionship.
Compensation for loss of the financial support of your deceased family member.
Compensation for funeral and medical expenses your family member incurred due to the accident.
Survivor damages are collected from the defendant by a surviving family member, usually on behalf of the entire family, in the name of the deceased family member. Survivor damages are those that the victim would have been able to sue the defendant for had he or she survived. Those are damages that any personal injury plaintiff may file against a negligent defendant. But in this case, only one family member can seek survival damages since that family member effectively acts as a proxy for their deceased relative in a wrongful death case. In Texas, the family member who seeks survival damages can also seek wrongful death damages, which isn’t the case in many other states.
Survivor damages include:
Compensation for lost wages due to time spent in the hospital after the accident.
Compensation for loss of earning capacity.
Compensation for medical expenses incurred due to the accident.
Compensation for physical pain and suffering.
Compensation for emotional and mental suffering.
Your insurance claim or civil case will most likely demand that you seek damages for wrongful death and survival. The proof required for these two types of damages is discretely different. The wrongful death attorneys at our Law Office are skilled and experienced in developing cases to prove all the damages our clients are entitled to and maximize your opportunity to recover all the damages you and your family rightfully deserve on behalf of your deceased loved one.