Losing a close family member is one of life’s hardest moments. When the death was caused by another party’s negligent actions, your pain and sadness may be compounded by anger, confusion and feelings of helplessness. We want you to know you aren’t alone. If a negligent or intentional act contributed to your loved one’s passing, our experienced Abilene wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you.
Call us today to set up a free consultation.
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.
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 432-606-2378 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.
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 432-606-2378 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.
In order for a wrongful death claim to be successful, there are a few elements that must be in place.
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 432-606-2378. 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.
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.
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.
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:
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 432-606-2378.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
At the Hanna Law 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 432-606-2378 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.