Veteran Dallas Wrongful Death Lawyers, Texas
Experienced representation for families who have suffered the ultimate loss
There is no worse phone call than the one from an official who informs you a member of your family has died. What is equally traumatic is learning that the death could, and should, have been avoided. Drivers, property owners, employers, physicians, and manufacturers need to be held accountable when they fail to take standard precautions. They need to be held liable when they put profit before safety.
At Slack Davis Sanger, we understand that no amount of money can ever replace the life of your relative. Our Dallas wrongful death lawyers understand that families need to grieve and find ways to remember and honor their loved one before thinking about lawsuits. We compassionately guide families through the litigation process. Our legal team focuses on determining how the death occurred, and who is responsible – while also identifying all the ways the loss of your husband, wife, daughter, son, mom, or dad has affected you.
“Thank you again for all of your good help. Since losing Nick, the love of my life, it has been an emotional roller coaster…Through this law case, your efficient and thoughtful communications have been very kind and helpful. You have performed your job perfectly.” – Sandra T., Client
What are wrongful death claims?
When someone in your family dies, there are two types of related claims that can be brought against the negligent party: a wrongful death claim, and a survival action.
A wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of the surviving family members. The wrongful death claim is the legal way that families are compensated for the loss of their loved one – including their personal losses and their financial losses.
A survival action is brought on behalf of the estate of the deceased. The survival claim is that amount your loved one would have been entitled to had he/she survived the accident. Survival claims are usually brought if the family member did not die instantly, but suffered before he/she passed away.
According to the Texas wrongful death statute, a spouse, a child, or a parent can file the wrongful death claim. The personal representative of the loved one’s estate files the survival claim. In a wrongful death case, the settlement or award is paid directly to the beneficiaries. In a survival claim, the settlement or award is paid to the estate which ultimately pays the heirs of the estate.
What are the common causes of wrongful deaths in Dallas?
While cardiovascular disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in Texas, accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death – accidents that can be attributed to the negligence and errors of others. Some of the common causes of wrongful death in Dallas include:
Vehicle accidents, including truck wrecks and car accidents. Dallas has the fifth-highest rate of fatal traffic accidents out of 25 major US cities, and the highest number of fatal truck accidents in the nation. Drunk driving is a major cause of these fatalities. Other examples of fatal acts of negligence include driving while distracted, speeding, and driving fatigued. We also handle claims involving boats, jet skis, and other personal watercraft.
Aviation accidents. Though fatal crashes involving commercial airlines are rare, private plane and air tour helicopter crashes are not. Even air ambulance rides can be fatal if the operator is facing poor weather or night flying.
Worksite accidents. Industrial workplaces, oil fields, and construction sites are especially prone to fatal accidents. Explosions, fires, faulty machinery, lack of training, and many other conditions can cause employees, contractors, and bystanders to die.
Product defects. Defective drugs, faulty car and truck parts, unsafe equipment, flammable products, and many other product defects result in numerous fatal accidents.
Medical malpractice. Doctors and healthcare providers need to act competently. A failure to diagnose a medical disorder, mistakes in surgery, failures to treat infections, prescribing the wrong medications, and other medical errors are often fatal.
Unsafe premises. One slip and fall can cause a senior to strike his/her head and die, and falls from heights increase the risk of fatal injury. Property owners need to routinely inspect their property for unsafe conditions.
Why file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Over the years, we have worked with clients who were uncomfortable about filing a wrongful death claim, and we understand. After all, no amount of money will make up for the loss of life. But if your loved one is killed by a negligent person or entity, or because of bad business practices, you should not be liable for the medical, funeral, or burial costs. You should not have to pay the bills for your loved one’s preventable death.
Wrongful death claims are a way of saying that the life of your loved one mattered by holding the responsible parties accountable, and by changing the way companies do business. When manufacturers create products that harm people, or trucking companies push their drivers past the hours-of-service regulations to increase the amount of goods that are shipped, or hospitals allow dangerous healthcare providers to remain employed, everyone is at risk of injury or harm. A wrongful death lawsuit forces those accountable parties to admit they have done wrong, and to take steps to rectify their errors.
What damages can you seek in a wrongful death claim in Dallas?
Wrongful death claims can seek three different types of damages.
Economic damages have a precise dollar value. They include:
- The funeral and burial costs
- The future income the decedent would have earned if the accident had not occurred
- Any medical bills that were necessary to try to save the decedent’s life or care for the decedent
- The loss of retirement benefits
- Loss of inheritance
Non-economic damages are more subjective, which is why you need an experienced Dallas wrongful death lawyer on your side. You want someone who can make a jury understand just how devastating this loss is. Non-economic damages include:
- The decedent’s pain and suffering before death
- The emotional trauma and mental anguish of the family members
- The loss of the companionship, care, society, and guidance the deceased would have given each survivor
- The loss of care, support, and maintenance the deceased would have given each survivor
- Loss of consortium which is a value placed on the emotional losses that spouses suffer - such as the loss of intimacy
Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are designed to punish a wrongdoer. If the conduct of the responsible party was willful or due to gross negligence, Texas authorizes the award of exemplary/punitive damages. Exemplary damages are meant to ensure the wrongdoer does not act in the same way again. Exemplary damages are payable to the wrongful death beneficiaries.
The Texas wrongful death statute has unique provisions for deaths due to railroads, public utilities, and other entities. There are also unique provisions involving the death of an unborn child.
How long do you have to file a wrongful death claim in Dallas?
Generally speaking, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. There are exceptions to every rule, so it is in your best interests to contact Slack Davis Sanger as quickly as possible in order to get started.
How can a Dallas wrongful death lawyer help?
The truth is simple: the better the quality of the lawyer, the better chance you have of being awarded a higher amount of damages, and the better chance you have of ensuring that the party responsible for your loved one’s death is held to account. Wrongful death cases require experienced lawyers. The deceased is not present to testify about what happened. This means extra work is required to show that a driver was negligent, an oilfield company failed to take proper precautions, or that a hospital committed malpractice. Wrongful death cases require the use of investigators, reconstruction experts, product safety experts, and other professionals. They also require skilled discovery to help show how the accident occurred, and who is responsible.
But they also require the ability to tell the full story of your loved one’s life. They must be handled with dignity and compassion – for you, for your children, and for your loved one. They must show what the world is missing with your loved one not in it.
At Slack Davis Sanger, we have decades of experience representing families who have paid the ultimate price in wrongful death claims. We know how to build the story of a life and present it to a jury, and we know how to show who is truly liable for your loss. We want you to trust us as so many other Dallas families have trusted us to present your case with the grace it deserves.
Contact our Dallas wrongful death attorneys today
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas wrongful death lawyers understand families. We treat each client like our own family. That is why we fight so hard to hold all defendants who cause the death of someone accountable for the pain, hurt, and gut-wrenching loss their negligence caused. We have a strong record of success in court and with insurance adjusters when careless or reckless conduct takes a life. To discuss your rights and those of your family, please call 800-455-8686 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
Main Dallas Practice Areas