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Vehicle Accident Wrongful Death Lawyers

Vehicle accident victims have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit when someone’s negligence, action, or inaction causes their injuries. But what is your recourse if a loved one dies in a car accident? In such a tragic situation, a wrongful death claim can help you recover compensation from the responsible party.

If you lost your loved one in a car accident, you should speak to our vehicle accident wrongful death lawyers at Nix Patterson today. Our wrongful death attorneys are experienced with holding negligent parties accountable for actions that caused or contributed to someone’s death.

When the negligent party pays damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, you receive compensation to ensure your financial future. You also may feel a sense of closure when the case is resolved and those responsible have paid for their actions.

What is a Wrongful Death Auto Accident?

A wrongful death car accident occurs when a person or entity fails in their legal duty of care and causes a fatal vehicle accident. When this happens, certain family members or a personal representative from the estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for their financial losses and other damages. Every state has different laws about who can file a wrongful death claim. For instance, in Texas, only legal surviving spouses, children, and parents of the deceased can file suit.

In a wrongful death car accident, the plaintiff must prove specific facts to recover compensation in a settlement or verdict. You must prove:

  • A person or entity was negligent or engaged in a purposeful wrongful act
  • Those actions were a direct cause of your loved one’s death
  • You suffered damages as a result of the death

If you and your wrongful death attorney prove these elements, you and other family members could receive compensation for mental anguish, burial expenses, lost future income, your loved one’s pain and suffering, and more.

Causes of Wrongful Death Auto Accidents

Any crash between two or more vehicles can have enough force to cause deadly injuries. The following are some of the most common auto accidents that cause deaths in these accidents:

  • Head-on crashes. This type of accident is relatively rare but usually the most likely to result in death. Head-on collisions double the impact force and typically cause one or more fatalities.
  • Rear-end crashes. A high-speed rear-end crash can cause lethal injuries, particularly for rear passengers. A tractor-trailer rear-ending a car can sometimes kill everyone in the vehicle.
  • T-bone crashes. These collisions can cause death because the sides of cars do not provide as much protection in accidents.
  • Rollover accidents. A rollover accident can throw occupants from the vehicle, frequently causing fatal injuries.
  • Sideswipe accidents. A car coming in the opposite direction sideswiping you can lead to a lethal loss of control accident.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents. The more vehicles involved, the higher the chances of severe injury or death.

Situations That Cause Wrongful Death Auto Accidents

Many situations can cause a fatal car accident, including:

  • Driving under the influence. Even drinking one or two beverages can impair one’s judgment and reflexes enough to cause a fatal car accident.
  • Distracted driving. Looking away from the road for three seconds to check a cell phone can cause a deadly crash.
  • Fatigued driving. Driving when fatigued can be just as hazardous as drunk driving.
  • Reckless driving. Whether speeding or blowing through a stop light, reckless driving can have serious consequences.
  • Road defects. Sometimes improper road design or maintenance can contribute to fatal auto accidents.
  • Vehicle manufacturer defect. If a vehicle or part is defective, the manufacturer could be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, parts manufacturer Takata has been successfully sued in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits for making dangerous airbags that didn’t deploy correctly in accidents.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Auto Accident Case

If you prove that another party caused your loved one’s death, you could be entitled to some or all of these damages:

  • Medical costs incurred for treating the decedent’s injuries
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Loss of the decedent’s income
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Value of the decedent’s lost services to the family
  • Loss of love and care
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Mental and emotional anguish

Only your wrongful death attorney has the knowledge, experience, and skill to value your losses accurately. Some family members may only consider economic losses from their loved one’s death, but you may be entitled to much more.

How Much Can You Get In A Vehicle Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There is no data on how much the average payout is for a wrongful death lawsuit from car accidents. Even if this information is found, it may not be helpful; every wrongful death case is unique, and the recoverable damages vary. However, the following factors usually influence the settlement or verdict award:

  • Age of the deceased
  • Occupation of the deceased
  • Size of the family
  • Deceased’s share of fault
  • Economic damages
  • Insurance coverage limits

Another reason a wrongful death car accident claim is hard to estimate is that most claims result in a settlement. The settlement amount is often confidential, too. Insurance companies know that juries tend to hand significant verdict awards to wrongful death plaintiffs, so settlements can financially benefit defendants.

When Can You Receive Wrongful Death Settlement Funds?

A wrongful death settlement can happen anytime during the claim or lawsuit process. A settlement could occur when your attorney negotiates with the other side’s insurance company. Or, it could settle only after your lawyer files the lawsuit. Sometimes, the settlement comes the day before the trial. But regardless of when the settlement happens, it will probably be after lengthy negotiations with the plaintiff offering information and evidence to prove the settlement demand is fair.

For instance, if you sue for the wrongful death of your wife in a car accident, your lawyer may need to hire various experts to prove what the case is worth. Your lawyer could hire economic and actuarial experts to show how long the plaintiff may have lived and what they could have earned. If you want compensation for the loss of services in the home, your attorney may need an economist to offer estimates of their value.

Contact Nix Patterson’s Vehicle Accident Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

All drivers have a duty of care to drive safely and not injure others. If a driver or entity fails to uphold their duty of care and kills someone, they should be held responsible for their negligence. If you lost your loved one in a fatal auto accident, Nix Patterson’s vehicle accident wrongful death lawyers are ready to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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