The Queenan Law Firm
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Dallas Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful death cases involve devastating and catastrophic circumstances that change the lives of our clients forever. At Queenan Law, our wrongful death attorneys take the utmost care to handle these matters with due sensitivity, providing compassionate support for the people we represent while fighting vigorously to see that justice is served.
If you have lost a loved one, please accept our sincerest condolences. We know how painful it is to discuss the death of a spouse or relative, but whenever you feel ready to begin exploring your family’s legal options, we will be by your side to provide you with all of the information and guidance you need. Supported by more than 20 years of practical experience, our accomplished team of lawyers is amply equipped with the skill, knowledge, and aptitude to investigate even the most complex matters.
We proudly represent clients throughout the North Texas region, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Arlington.
Proving Fault: How Negligence Causes Fatal Accidents
When a fatal, preventable accident occurs, the decedent’s surviving family members and/or spouse have legal cause to sue for wrongful death, roughly defined as any avoidable death caused by “negligence,” or failure to meet the care standards that would normally be applied in order to reduce the risk of causing accidental death or injury.
Negligence can manifest differently depending on the underlying circumstances of a victim’s death. For instance, in the context of a car accident, negligence might take the form of excessive speeding, following another vehicle too closely, driving while intoxicated, ignoring traffic signs, or making an improper turn. In the context of a fatal workplace injury, such as an accidental fall at a construction site, negligence might involve failure to comply with safety standards, failure to adequately supervise inexperienced employees, or negligent property maintenance, which can create a slip and fall hazard. With regard to a death caused by a defective product, negligence would generally involve a failure to design, test, manufacture, or label the product adequately.
Sadly, these are just a few examples of the many ways the careless, negligent acts of a business or individual can result in fatal injuries. Some common causes of accidental death in Texas include:
- Automotive Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Industrial Accidents
- Defective Products
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Toxin Exposure
- Workplace Accidents
These and other types of avoidable accidents all have the potential to result in catastrophic, fatal injuries. In many cases, these injuries involve one or more of the following:
- Blood Loss/Hemorrhaging
- Blunt Force Trauma
- Bone Fractures
- Chemical Burns
- Limb Amputation
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Third Degree Burns
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
No matter what causes a fatal accident, or what types of injuries or complications the accident resulted in, the ability to show negligence and fault is an absolutely critical component of any claim or lawsuit. The “burden of proof” falls upon the victim, meaning the plaintiff or claimant is responsible for proving not only the existence of an injury or death, but also certain facts about how and why the injury or death occurred.
In every matter Queenan Law handles, we follow a two-step process to help clients prove that their loved one’s accident was both unavoidable and caused the death as we examine the facts from all angles. First, we thoroughly investigate the situation to uncover the strongest evidence for your case. Then, we devise a case strategy and employ the necessary tactics to develop persuasive and gripping arguments.
Compensation for Spouses and Family Members of Wrongful Death Victims
Attorney Kevin Queenan argues for comprehensive wrongful death settlements on par with the damages his clients have unnecessarily suffered. He understands the emotional distress the process can cause, and remains sensitive to his clients' emotional state while pursuing and protecting their best legal and financial interests. You can trust in his experience to help you argue for settlement compensation that truly covers your needs, including current and anticipated expenses and hardships associated with:
- Emotional Trauma
- Funeral Costs
- Grief Counseling
- Loss of Consortium/Marital Relationship
- Lost Income
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
When you’re mourning the death of a loved one, negotiating with insurance companies is the very last issue you want or should have to deal with. Let us help lighten your burden by handling all of the legal work on your family’s behalf. Our attorneys approach every case with an aggressive, results-oriented strategy, always seeking legal resolutions that will enable our clients to gain closure and carry on with their lives. The loved ones of fatal accident victims deserve the dignity that comes from seeing justice prevail, and we do everything in our power to help make that happen.
When to File Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Every wrongful death case, along with any other personal injury suit, is subject to a rule called the “statute of limitations.” These rules prevent especially old cases from making their way into court. In many cases, you know about the death and understand it was someone else’s fault very quickly, especially in cases of car and truck accidents, or other sudden events. For some types of cases, however, understanding that the death was caused by someone else’s negligence may take some time, and it may be too late to file your case.
The Texas statute of limitations on wrongful death cases is two years. This means that you must file the case with a court within two years of the death, or else it could be blocked. In the case that you file too late, the defendant who allegedly caused the death can raise the statute of limitations as a complete defense to the allegations, and may win their case.
In rare circumstances, you may be able to get an extension on this two-year deadline. In cases where a loved one died because of medical malpractice or while living in a nursing home, the facts surrounding the death may not be clear. If those responsible for the death intentionally hid the fact that they were responsible for the death, you may be entitled to an extension of the deadline to file based on “fraudulent concealment.” However, you should never rely upon an extension.
This means you should talk to an attorney as soon as you can after a loved one’s death. Your attorney can begin investigating facts and collecting information while you deal with other effects of your loss, saving time and helping move your case along.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
A wrongful death claim can only be brought by particular members of the deceased’s family. This means that some family members, like siblings, may not be permitted to file. The Texas wrongful death statute states that only a spouse, child, or parents can file for wrongful death. Alternatively, the “executor” or “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate can file the case instead. This means that if someone other than a parent, child, or spouse was put in charge of the deceased’s estate and will, they can file the case instead.
Ultimately, even if you cannot file the case, you may still benefit from the lawsuit. The lawsuit is permitted to benefit a surviving spouse, child, or parent – but the winnings could also go straight to the estate. Especially if the executor of the estate brings the lawsuit, the funds will fall to the entire sum of the decedent’s estate, and be divided among loved ones and heirs according to the will.
This means that brothers, sisters, boyfriends, girlfriends, and others not included in the wrongful death statute are not automatically unable to recover for the loss of a loved one. However, the immediate family (parents, spouses, and children) has first priority in these cases. Talk to an attorney for help with your case.
Our Lawyers Can Help
To schedule a free legal consultation with one of our highly experienced wrongful death attorneys, call Queenan Law at (888) 522-6500. We will keep your information completely confidential while answering your questions and helping you understand your family’s next steps.