Wrongful Death a Result of Drinking and Driving
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 23, 2021 – A father of three was placing stop signs for traffic control when a speeding truck rear-ended another truck and flipped it over on top of the father. The first truck’s driver had a blood-alcohol level of three times the legal limit. The driver of the second truck was also seriously injured.
The 63-year-old minister and traffic control supervisor spent several weeks in the ICU but eventually passed away due to the injuries he sustained after being crushed by the truck.
The man’s surviving family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Tarrant County against the drunk driver. The court documents stated that the accident was preventable by the drunk driver calling an Uber, a cab or showing self-control regarding his drinking. The drunk driver was charged with intoxication manslaughter, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years.
In Tarrant County in 2019, 39 people died as a result of DUI collisions. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 1,534 crashes were caused by driving while under the influence of alcohol.
The second individual injured, the driver of a Dodge Ram that was rear-ended and flipped over, landing on the traffic control supervisor, also filed a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver.
“A wrongful death in Texas is a death due to a wrongful act of another person or entity. When a death occurs, the deceased’s family may be entitled to compensation for their loss,” said Brooks Schuelke, an Austin wrongful death attorney, not involved in this case. Wrongful death is a civil action, and common death claims can involve drunk driving, car accidents, and truck accidents.
Those who may file a wrongful death action include the surviving spouse, children and the parents of the deceased. They may file individually or jointly.
Damages in a case such as this are paid out to compensate surviving family members and the estate for their losses due to the death. Damages may include:
Mental/emotional pain, anguish and suffering
Lost capacity to earn
Loss of inheritance
Loss of comfort, love, companionship
Loss of services, support, advice, care and counsel of the deceased
In some cases, exemplary damages may be paid if the death was the result of a deliberate act or omission or due to gross negligence
“Any damages awarded in a case such as this one are divided amongst family members in accordance with the degree of injury, they suffered due to the sudden death of a family member,” Schuelke explained.
A wrongful death claim cannot be filed by just anyone. There must be at least one of the following criteria met to file such a claim:
You are the surviving spouse
A surviving minor or adult child
A surviving parent(s)
A legally adopted child
The surviving adoptive parent(s)
The personal representative of the deceased’s estate
“If you have lost a loved one in a crash and wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to note that a wrongful claim is a civil matter, and you may file such a claim whether or not criminal charges are filed,” said Schuelke.
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