Van Wey Law is Uniquely Qualified to Handle Wrongful Death Cases
There are times when the unthinkable happens and a loved and cherished person’s life is cut short by the inept, negligent or reckless behavior of someone else. Beyond the grief and the irrecoverable loss, the victim’s family must determine how they will be compensated for suffered damages.
Attorney Kay Van Wey has an intimate understanding of wrongful death suits. Twelve years into her law career, a personal loss brought the legal system very close to home.
In 1994, just a few days before Christmas, her mother was killed tragically. Kay, her father, and her sisters went through the legal process of cooperating with an investigation and preparing for a court case.
She knows what it’s like to have a loved one taken away suddenly without an opportunity to say goodbye. She knows the legal process and what it’s like to be the victim. She’s a passionate advocate for wrongful death victims and their families.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Texas, justice can be obtained for the survivors of those who are wrongfully killed. Family members are considered injured by wrongful deaths because they relied on the decedent for emotional and financial support.
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit that requires the plaintiff to prove the fatality was caused by the negligent party. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you (the surviving family members) can receive financial security and closure, moving on with your life knowing that the person or entity responsible for your loved one’s death will be held accountable.
Beyond the grief and the irrecoverable loss, the victim’s family must determine how they will be compensated for suffered damages.
The Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Any accident that results in a person’s death should be investigated for wrongful death. Wrongful deaths can happen anywhere – at home, at work, on someone’s property, on the road, etc. Here are the most common reasons for wrongful deaths.
- Car, truck or motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Drunk/buzzed driving
- Driving while texting
- Animal bites/scratches
- Nursing home negligence
- Industrial accidents
That list is not exhaustive. If you think your family member’s death was the result of wrongful death, it’s important to speak with us right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are just a few of the common questions that may arise as you contemplate bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. We know how confusing and overwhelming the process can be, so if you believe you have a wrongful death case in Texas or Oklahoma, please feel free to schedule a consultation with our team. We can answer any questions you may have and will bring our years of impassioned experience to helping you determine whether you have a case and what it would entail.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In Texas, a deceased person’s spouse, children and/or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit against any person or company responsible for the death of a loved one. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed following many kinds of situations, including
- medical malpractice
- defective medical devices
- dangerous prescription drugs
- automobile, bus, motorcycle and truck collisions
- industrial and workplace injuries
How long do I have to file a claim? (What is the statute of limitations?)
There are laws that limit the time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Some people make the mistake of waiting too long before they contact an attorney. Many people believe they have two years from the date of their loved one’s death, but this can be very tricky. In many instances, the statute of limitations can run sooner than that and in any case, you want to hire an attorney as soon as possible who can promptly investigate your case while the evidence is still fresh in witnesses’ minds and before any vital evidence may be destroyed. Of course, there are many things to deal with when a loved one has suddenly been taken from you, but contacting a lawyer promptly is in your best interest.
What type of damages can I claim in a wrongful death case?
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate surviving family members and the estate for any losses they experience as a result of a person’s death.
There are two categories of claimants. The surviving family members (spouse, children and parents only) have what is referred to as wrongful death claims. These claims are for the emotional anguish, grief, loss of companionship you have suffered. As well, there are often economic losses, referred to by lawyers as “pecuniary losses.” These damages are for things such as loss of financial support and loss of household services.
The decedent’s estate also has claims for medical bills incurred to treat the injuries, conscious pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death, and funeral and burial expenses. This is commonly referred to as a survival claim.
The amount of money that a court of law awards someone for injury or loss is called “damages.” There are two types of damages you can recover: Economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include compensation for monetary losses and expenses, such as medical care and lost earnings. Noneconomic damages include compensation for non-monetary losses like lost companionship, grief and pain and suffering.
Compensation for noneconomic damages is a sensitive issue as it does not easily translate into dollar amounts. After all, there is no way to place a monetary value on a person’s life. We have decades of experience helping families recover what is just and fair for their senseless and tragic loss. We have helped many people just like what you may be going through.
Do I need to go through probate court as well?
We work closely with probate lawyers to coordinate our strategies on both the civil case and probate of the estate. Whether it is necessary in your particular case can only be determined after a consultation.
Should I have an autopsy performed?
Yes, absolutely. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proving the cause of death. No matter how clear the cause of death may seem, it helps to have documented proof from a medical professional as to why your loved one died.
You should have an autopsy performed even if the hospital or coroner says one isn’t necessary. Depending on what happened, the people at fault may have a vested interest in talking you out of one. You should purchase a private autopsy in this case. There are services which will provide private autopsies in this instance.
Should the family use one lawyer or should everyone have their own?
We advise families to cooperate and go to court as a collective unit. If everyone works with their own lawyer to their own ends, it can be difficult to create an orchestrated strategy. We strongly prefer that the family make a united front against the wrongdoers. In some instances, there are valid reasons why the family cannot all “get on the same page.” In these instances, we work hard to prevent any negative family dynamics from detracting from the real issues that need to be focused on in the case. In most cases, the family agrees to hire one lawyer and they agree in advance to the division of any proceeds of their lawsuit.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Dallas are Here for You
At Van Wey Law, we have years of experience dealing with wrongful death cases. We have represented families whose loved ones died due to all types of circumstances. We will review your specific case to determine if a wrongful death claim can be pursued and what steps to take next.
We take care of everything so you can focus on your family and repairing your life during this difficult time. We can’t take back the past, but we can help you seek justice and obtain compensation for your strife.
If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence or willful actions, contact us immediately. We’ll help you determine if you’re entitled to compensation. We are only paid if you receive a settlement.