Has Your Family Recently Lost a Loved One in an Accident Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence?
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.
Van Wey Law is Uniquely Qualified to Handle Wrongful Death Cases
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.
Dallas-based injury attorney Kay Van Wey is a fighter and a winner. But she’s also the compassionate and approachable attorney you need. Contact Van Wey Law today to schedule your complimentary consultation and determine if you have a viable claim.
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.
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 arise as you navigate a wrongful death suit. We know how confusing and overwhelming the process can be, so if you believe you have a wrongful death suit in the Dallas, Texas area, 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 build your case.
1. 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 any kind of accident. This includes accidents involving medical malpractice or defective products.
2. How long do I have to file a claim? (What is the statute of limitations?)
There are laws in Texas that limit the time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, family members must file within two years of the date on which their loved one passed away. In some cases, the two-year period begins on the date in which your loved one’s fatal injury occurred.
Because the statute of limitations can prevent your wrongful death lawsuit from being heard, you should contact a qualified wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible after losing a loved one. These rules apply regardless of how strong your case is.
3. 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. Compensation is divided among survivors in proportion to the injury they suffered (as determined by the court).
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 and pain and suffering.
In Texas, you could receive damages to compensate for…
- Lost earning capacity.
- Lost maintenance, services, advice, support, care, and counsel the deceased may have provided to family members.
- Pain and suffering of the loved one (prior to death).
- Lost love, comfort, and companionship.
- Lost inheritance, including what the deceased would have earned and given to family members had he/she lived to a reasonable age.
Furthermore, Texas wrongful death claimants may also be entitled to exemplary damages (called punitive damages in other places). You can recover this type of compensation if the death was caused by gross negligence or a willful act of omission. The purpose is to punish the responsible party for their reprehensible behavior.
Compensation for noneconomic damages is a sensitive issue as it does not easily translate into dollar amounts. The skill, experience and tenacity of your lawyer will make all the difference. We can help you determine and understand what types of damages you may be entitled to. We have the experience that is absolutely necessary.
4. Do I need to go through probate court as well?
Although only a select few relatives can bring a wrongful death suit, a close sibling or other loved one often steps forward to manage the deceased person’s estate. The family may find it easier to assign a spokesperson to handle the legal and logistical aspects, in which case they’ll hire a probate lawyer.
We work closely with probate lawyers to coordinate our strategies on both the civil case and management of the estate. Not every family decides to hire a probate attorney, but if you choose to do so, we will collaborate with them to ensure that this process is as respectful and non-invasive as possible.
5. Should I have an autopsy performed?
Yes, absolutely. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proving the cause of death. Whether the cause is complex medical malpractice (like a bad reaction to medications) or as simple as blunt trauma to the head, 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 says one isn’t necessary and refuses to pay for it. 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.
6. 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’s difficult to create an orchestrated strategy.
Instead, we prefer that one lawyer represent all the family members and that each claimant signs a family agreement. This document stipulates who will receive what if the judge awards a recovery settlement. The lawyer cannot determine what each claimant is entitled to, so a family agreement helps everyone get on the same page before a trial begins.
If the claimants insist on having individual representation, we work closely with the other lawyers on sharing experts and building our strategy for prosecuting the case. We insist on going to court with a united front.
If family members simply can’t agree or get along and must use their own lawyers, we try to work with the other lawyers to share experts and present a united front.
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.
Kay Van Wey understands the value of tenacity, hard work, and integrity. She brings this background and her work ethic to every wrongful death case.
- Kay Van Wey has been voted a Texas Super Lawyer for 15 years running (2003-2017). This is a prestigious honor bestowed upon her by her peers. Less than 5% of all attorneys have ever been named a Super Lawyer. Kay has received the award every single year since it’s inception.
- She has even attained membership in the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum as a result of the success of past cases.
- Kay is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Less than 5% of all attorneys in Texas are board certified.
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.