How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
The sudden and unexpected death of someone you love is a tragic event that can leave you with many questions. If you believe the death was caused by negligence or an intentional act, the frustration, grief, pain, and anguish you experience can be much more intense.
Knowing that your loved one’s death could have been avoided can be devastating. Along with the personal grief and suffering, you and your family could face unexpected financial struggles, from funeral and burial costs to final medical bills, not to mention the long-term loss of financial support.
You should know that help is available to you during this difficult time. An experienced, compassionate wrongful death lawyer from Ketterman Rowland & Westlund will take the time to meet with you personally, discuss your case, and explain all your legal options. Our powerful team of attorneys has helped families across Texas demand full compensation for the many losses associated with a wrongful death. Let us seek justice for your family.
Contact us now to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable and compassionate wrongful death attorney.
Why Choose Ketterman Rowland & Westlund?
As one of the largest personal injury law firms in the state of Texas, Ketterman Rowland & Westlund will get answers to all your questions and help your family pursue closure after the wrongful death of your loved one.
When you choose to work with our trusted legal team, you can expect that we will:
- Listen to your story with genuine compassion for what your family is going through
- Evaluate the details of your case for free, with no obligation, so you can gain an understanding of your legal rights
- Represent you on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you only pay if we win your case
- Investigate the accident that led to your loved one’s death and gather all the necessary evidence to support your case
- Manage all the paperwork and deadlines associated with your wrongful death claim
- Aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and large corporations that we believe are liable to you
- Take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached
- Communicate routinely to ensure you are aware of progress in your case and next steps
- Demand the full and fair compensation your family needs to move forward after such a tragic loss
How Much Is Your Wrongful Death Case Worth?
Compensation for the death of your loved one can cover expenses and losses your loved one faced between the time of his or her injury and the time of death. These losses may include medical and hospital costs, conscious pain and suffering, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
For the surviving family member(s), compensation may also include items that, in reasonable probability, you would have received from your loved one, if he or she had lived. These damages include such things as:
- Love, comfort, companionship, care, maintenance, support, services, advice, and counsel
- Emotional pain, torment, and suffering
- Loss of inheritance, or the loss of assets that would have been added to the estate had the person died a natural death
In Texas, surviving family members may also be entitled to receive exemplary damages, often called punitive damages. Punitive damages serve to make an example out of the defendant who caused the wrongful death. In Texas, a jury must find clear and convincing evidence, and the jury must be in unanimous agreement to award punitive damages.
To receive payment for damages, you will need documentation to prove the extent of the losses suffered by your loved one and your family members. Documentation of the accident is critical. Documentation can include such things as:
- Reports from police, witnesses, and experts
- Crash reports if the death was the result of a car accident – in Texas, these are known as CR-3s
- Autopsy report
- Bills and receipts proving payments to doctors, hospitals, therapists, pharmacies, social workers, and other health professionals
- Unpaid bills
- Imaging reports such as X-rays and MRI scans
- Records of lost work or school time
- Photographs, sketches, and videos
- Tax returns
- Mortgage or rental payments
- Credit card payments
- Car payments or car lease agreements
- Work history information
- Bank records
- Insurance records
- Investment reports
- Journals – if you or your loved kept journals and you are comfortable sharing the contents
- Lifestyle records, such as travel and entertainment expenses
Although the list above is very long, there may still be other documents relating to your deceased loved one’s life that could prove relevant in your wrongful death claim. Keep every record, no matter how insignificant it may seem at first. It is much easier to keep and set aside any documents that relate to the incident and your life than it will be to try to replace any materials that may prove to be useful later.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
Before considering what has to be proven, it is essential to understand who can qualify to file a wrongful death claim in Texas. The Texas Wrongful Death Act only allows a surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased to file a wrongful death case. These surviving individuals can file individually or together for the benefit of all.
The deceased’s executor or administrator of the estate can also file a wrongful death claim unless any of the surviving individuals are opposed to the filing.
Once you have confirmed you are eligible to file a wrongful death case in Texas, you will need an attorney’s help to prove liability.
Texas law establishes that a person (or party) is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by a party’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” To be successful in determining liability, you must show that the other person caused the accident (or intentionally acted) in a way that directly caused your loved one’s death.
One way to prove negligence is to methodically and thoroughly investigate the accident. In some cases, more than one party could share responsibility, and your lawyer will work to identify any and all parties that could be held accountable.
Investigating the Accident
While investigating the accident that led to the wrongful death of your loved one, your attorneys at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund will get to the root cause of the accident. Our accident investigation may involve a variety of techniques and experts.
Your attorney will ask many questions to determine what occurred and when, how, and why the accident happened. This will involve interviewing witnesses and analyzing facts. The accident investigation may also include the use of accident reconstruction computer software or professional experts.
Experts Who May Be Used to Support Your Case
Experts may be needed to prove your loved one’s death was caused by a party’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” These experts may be needed to help reconstruct the circumstances of the accident, analyze information and data, or to support your claims for damages. If your wrongful death claim does not reach a settlement and it goes to a trial, these experts may be called upon to testify.
A few examples of experts who may be needed to support your claim for damages include medical experts such as psychologists or therapists to help prove mental anguish. You may need financial, vocational, insurance, and economic experts to help calculate lost income, lost earning capacity, and loss of inheritance.
The type of experts necessary to help prove negligence and damages will be unique to each wrongful death claim. At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our respected trial attorneys have a large network of specialists whom we can call on to evaluate your case and strengthen your claim for compensation.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in San Antonio Now
Was your loved one killed in an accident in San Antonio? Did someone else’s poor decisions cause your family member’s death? If so, contact an experienced San Antonio wrongful death lawyer right away to discuss your rights and learn about your legal options.
Your loved one deserves justice, and your family deserves compensation for the emotional and financial losses you have incurred. You also need to recognize, with only a few exceptions, that the state of Texas only allows two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim. So it is crucial that you get the legal advice you need now.
Let our team of passionate, experienced, and knowledgeable lawyers at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund help you. Contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. There is no charge to begin work on your case, and you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation for your family.