Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone will ever have to go through. Worse, when these family members are taken away from us too soon because of another person's wrongful acts, the situation can become unbearable—often leaving families with numerous questions and concerns and feelings of financial instability, immense sadness, and their lives being turned upside down.
If your family member died because of another person's negligence or misconduct, no amount of money will take away the pain that losing them has caused you. However, suing the liable party for their death can bring you a sense of justice and provide you and your family with the compensation you need to recover from the losses you had to endure.
Even though bringing a wrongful death claim can be a tedious and confusing legal battle, you do not have to take on this difficult fight on your own. At Dolman Law Group, our San Antonio wrongful death lawyers are here for you, ready to take on this legal challenge and go after the maximum damages your family is entitled to.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
If your loved one was fatally injured in an accident, the pressure to figure out how to pay outstanding medical bills immediately begins to mount. As a result, you may wish to seek legal help, and fast.
At Dolman Law Group, our law firm was created to help surviving family members get the legal help they need, the attention they want for their cases, and the advocacy they deserve. That is why, when you retain our attorneys, we work directly with you to help ensure that your claim is handled properly and your specific needs are met.
Damages We've Recovered for Past Clients
When you work with Dolman Law Group, our legal team acts quickly to pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to by identifying all the potential payment sources and damages available. These include current expenses and losses, future care and treatment costs, intangible damages, and more.
Due to our team's dedication, drive, and resources, we have obtained millions of dollars for our clients through settlement awards and jury verdicts, with some of the most recent judgments including:
- $3,200,000 for a semi-truck accident resulting in brain damage
- $1,400,000 for a motorcycle accident resulting in multiple serious injuries
- $1,750,000 for a truck accident
- $1,580,000 for a motor vehicle crash resulting in two herniated discs impinging on the spinal cord
- $1,000,000 for a wrongful death
While we cannot guarantee results, our team has the know-how, resources, and experience to manage Texas wrongful death cases for our clients. You can reach out to our team at Dolman Law Group for free to see what we can do for you.
What Is a San Antonio Wrongful Death Claim?
Generally, a wrongful death claim is brought against a liable party that caused another person's death, either because of their intentional actions or negligence. These wrongful death claims allow family members or the deceased's estate to file a lawsuit against the legally responsible party for their death.
In many cases, we can reach a settlement with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. However, we do sometimes need to sue and occasionally may have to take the case to trial to get a fair and appropriate payout for our clients. We have the necessary resources and trial experience to manage your case and navigate this process on your behalf.
Filing a San Antonio Wrongful Death Claim—When Is It Applicable?
A San Antonio wrongful death claim often arises from situations where the deceased would have had a valid claim had the defendant's unlawful or negligent actions not killed them. In short, if they could have pursued a personal injury lawsuit had they survived, their loved ones will likely have a viable wrongful death case. Even though fatalities can occur in a variety of situations, the most common circumstances include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Typically, most motor vehicle crash fatalities are due to a motorist's negligence, either because of carelessness, speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or not paying attention to the road. Consequently, the negligent driver can be held liable for the death of anyone that was involved in the accident, including other motorists, pedestrians, and passengers.
However, if the accident occurred because of a road issue, then the city, county, or other government employees may be to blame. Defective car parts and other similar issues can also cause accidents. When this happens, the car or part manufacturer may be legally responsible for injuries and deaths that occur.
Medical Malpractice Incidents
When a medical professional does not follow the correct procedures, misses something, or cuts corners, severe and devastating outcomes can arise. That is why, when it comes to medical malpractice, wrongful death often results from a medical professional:
- Failing to diagnose a condition
- Misdiagnosing an illness
- Committing errors during surgery
Birth injuries are a leading cause of neonatal injuries and death, and they can occur because of medical malpractice. If your baby died from preventable birth injuries, your doctor, another practitioner, or the facility where they were born may be legally responsible.
If one person intentionally kills another, wrongful death laws may apply. For instance, if someone murders an individual, they will face charges in a criminal case. However, the deceased's family could also bring a civil lawsuit against the liable party for their loved one's wrongful death.
Pedestrians usually do not have any protections, which means that when they are involved in an accident, they are more likely to die from their injuries. Typically, a motorist's negligence is the most common cause of pedestrian accidents. These tragedies usually occur because a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle, run over by a motorist, or struck by an object that the car hit during the accident.
Although aviation accidents are rare, they still occur. When they do, these accidents often result in a large number of fatalities. Aviation accidents are often due to pilot and airplane errors. In many high-profile plane crashes, the families pursue civil damages from the airline or another liable party. This occurs in many private or corporate plane or helicopter crashes, as well.
Accidents can happen in any workplace. However, some occupations, such as construction and manual labor jobs, often have a higher chance of workplace fatalities. If an individual dies on the job, the family will have to go through the workers' compensation system to obtain the death benefits they deserve.
However, if the employer does not carry workers' compensation, they can be sued by the deceased's family for the damages they endured. In many cases, third parties also cause or contribute to workplace injuries. Surviving family members may be able to recover compensation from these third parties, as well.
Semi-truck accidents are considered motor vehicle accidents, but they often occupy a category of their own because of some critical differences. For instance, one of the most significant differences is their size. Semi-trucks are much larger than most cars. As such, when they are involved in an accident, they are likely to result in death.
In addition, the causes of semi-truck accidents are also unique. They often result from:
- Mechanical issues
- Driver error
- Fatigued driving
- Oversized loads
Defective Product Accidents
When an individual passes away because of a defective product, the manufacturer of this product can be held liable. Usually, the most common examples of a defective product resulting in an individual's death include:
- Toxic foods
- Unsafe children's products
- Defective pharmaceutical products
- Defective automobiles
Premises Liability Accidents
Devastating injuries, including death, can often result from unsafe environments or negligently maintained premises. When a property owner or business owner invites another person onto their land or premises, they must keep it safe. When an individual dies because of dangerous conditions present on this land, the property or landowner can be held responsible for their death.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse, negligence, and poor conditions claim the lives of numerous elderly residents every year. As a result, the families of these elderly individuals are allowed to bring wrongful death claims against the caretakers and facilities that allowed these conditions to continue, which ultimately took their loved ones away from them.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in San Antonio?
According to the Texas wrongful death statute, the only people who are allowed to file a wrongful death action in San Antonio include:
- The deceased's surviving spouse
- The children of the deceased (legally adopted children are included)
- The parents of the deceased (adoptive parents are also included)
Generally, grandparents and siblings of the deceased are not allowed to file a wrongful death claim. Any of the eligible family members can file their cases individually or jointly.
However, if none of these entitled family members begin an action within three months after their loved one's death, the deceased's executor or the person who is appointed to carry out the terms of the deceased's will can file the wrongful death action—unless the people who are allowed to file the claim request that the executor does not.
Dolman Law Group can assess your loved one's case and determine who can take legal action during a free initial consultation. We provide these case reviews over the phone, virtually, or at a time and location that works well for you.
If You Want to Bring a San Antonio Wrongful Death Claim, What Do You Need to Prove?
When the deceased's family members file a wrongful death claim, they are basically stepping into the shoes of the individual who passed away. Consequently, these family members must prove the wrongful party was liable in the same way the deceased would have had to if they survived the accident.
This means that if a person was killed because of another party's negligent actions, the surviving family members would have to prove the elements of negligence. These include:
- The wrongful party owed a duty of care to the deceased;
- The wrongful party breached this duty of care;
- This breach was the actual or proximate cause of the deceased's injuries; and
- The deceased's injuries and losses resulted in significant damages.
For example, imagine your loved one passed away in a car accident when another driver ran a red light. In this case, you would need to prove:
- The light was red when the other driver entered the intersection.
- That driver failed to stop despite the red light.
- Your loved one was in the intersection with a green light when the at-fault driver collided with them.
- Your loved one suffered injuries in the crash and passed away as a result.
Proving a San Antonio wrongful death claim is often difficult, time-consuming, and complicated. As a result, you should speak with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. At Dolman Law Group, our wrongful death attorneys are ready to take on your case, investigate what happened, and hold all those at fault for your loved one's death accountable.
Statute of Limitations for a San Antonio Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit following an alleged offense. When they do not file their lawsuit within this allotted time, they can be barred from pursuing compensation for their injuries.
In San Antonio, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the decedent's death, per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003. However, there are rare exceptions to this rule that can impact the amount of time you have to file. That is why you should promptly contact a wrongful death attorney—to protect your rights and help ensure you and your family can obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact our team at Dolman Law Group today. Our wrongful death lawyers can figure out exactly how much time your family has to file a lawsuit in San Antonio and help ensure that all your legal motions and documents are prepared correctly and filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Actions to Take After a San Antonio Wrongful Death Accident
If your loved one has passed away because of the careless or reckless actions of another person, you may pursue legal action to recover money for the losses you endured. However, you often need to take steps immediately after the accident to ensure that you achieve this justice.
That is why you want our lawyers to help you if your child, spouse, or parent died in an accident. We will go to work for your family immediately—we will take the necessary steps to develop a case, preserve evidence, and pursue compensation on your behalf. To this end, we can:
Obtain a Death Certificate
Before you can continue any further, you will need proof of death to proceed with a wrongful death claim. You may already have a copy on hand. If not, you can obtain this certificate from the San Antonio Municipal Archives. We can also help you manage this process as a part of handling your case.
Collect Evidence from the Accident
Make sure you collect as much evidence from the accident as you can. This should include any photos of the accident, police reports, medical reports, receipts, and bills that arise from the wrongful death, and any other information that can help show what happened and who may have been at fault for your loved one's passing.
If you were not on the scene or do not have access to any of this evidence, our team will take care of this during our investigation of your loved one's death. We can often identify, collect, and analyze evidence that victims and their families never considered noteworthy.
Speak to Witnesses
If there were witnesses present at the accident scene, get their names and phone numbers. These witness statements can provide you with vital information regarding the accident and also help substantiate your claims. However, if these witnesses do not want to give you their details, do not push them. Alternatively, if you were not on the scene, you may not have access to this information.
This is okay—when you retain an experienced wrongful death lawyer from Dolman Law Group, they can take steps to obtain this information for you and get the testimony needed. For example, the incident report law enforcement files may list eyewitnesses.
Contact a San Antonio Wrongful Death Accident Lawyer to Take Care of Those Things for You
If your loved one died because of another person's negligent, reckless, or malicious actions, you should promptly contact a San Antonio wrongful death attorney. These lawyers can quickly get to work, securing the evidence needed to determine which parties were liable for your loved one's death, prove fault and damages, and pursue the financial recovery you deserve.
San Antonio Wrongful Death FAQs
If you lost a loved one in a San Antonio accident, you deserve information and answers regarding the legal remedies available after such a horrific event. For these reasons, Dolman Law Group has prepared responses to some of the most commonly asked questions our wrongful death clients have.
We hope this information gives you a better understanding of your legal options and what you need to do to secure the compensation you are entitled to. However, if you need further clarification or you do not see your specific question answered below, feel free to reach out to us. Our San Antonio wrongful death attorneys can discuss your case one-on-one and provide you with some of the clarity you need.
1. What Is the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases Brought in San Antonio Regarding Someone's Death?
Generally, criminal cases are brought by the government when it seeks to punish an individual for an act classified as a crime, such as murder. On the other hand, a civil case has to do with a dispute over the duties and rights individuals owe each other.
Consequently, the burden of proof is higher in a criminal case, and the penalty imposed often includes imprisonment. Alternatively, in a civil case, the wrongdoer can have a monetary judgment entered against them. A criminal case will apply consequences such as fines, jail or prison time, and probation for bad behavior. A civil case recovers money damages for the victims and their families.
2. What Damages Could I Recover in a San Antonio Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claim damages are intended to compensate the surviving family members or the estate for their losses stemming from the untimely passing of their loved one.
In general, these damages are paid to compensate for losses that include:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of services, support, counsel, advice, and maintenance the deceased would have provided their surviving family members
- Emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of love, comfort, society, and companionship
- Loss of inheritance, which includes what the deceased would have saved and left to their surviving family members had they lived an average expected lifetime
In some instances, the deceased's family can also obtain exemplary damages, sometimes known as punitive damages. However, these damages are only recoverable when the wrongful death was caused by the defendant's willful omission or act or by gross negligence. The court generally awards these damages to punish the defendant for their egregious actions and to deter them and others from committing this act in the future.
When these damages are awarded in a wrongful death claim, they will be divided amongst the entitled family members in proportion to the injury they suffered because of their loved one's untimely death. The court usually decides these proportions. To this end, the case will likely need to go to trial if we believe exemplary damages are likely to be awarded in your loved one's death.
3. What Are Some of the Exceptions That Can Impact the Amount of Time You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in San Antonio?
The statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in San Antonio is two years from the date of death, unless:
- The plaintiff of the wrongful death claim is a minor child.
- The plaintiff of the wrongful death claim had a physical or mental impairment that prevented them from filing the claim within the two years.
- The plaintiff did not know of the wrongdoer's negligence during the two-year period.
- There was fraud.
If you plan on filing a wrongful death claim, contact Dolman Law Group. Our San Antonio wrongful death attorneys can help you figure out how much time you have to file your wrongful death claim and whether any exceptions apply.
4. What Are the Differences Between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death Claim in San Antonio?
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide compensation to the victim's surviving family members. For instance, if an individual dies in a car accident, the family can sue for specific losses. These losses often include lost wages that a family member was dependent on, emotional suffering, and medical expenses.
In comparison, a survival action allows the deceased's legal representative, heirs, or estate to pursue a claim before the victim dies. Let's say a car crash victim did not die at the scene, but rather a month later. In this case, a survival action could be filed and allows a lawsuit to survive the deceased.
As a result, the recovered damages—including lost wages and medical bills—can be placed into the deceased's estate and divided among the beneficiaries. However, unlike a wrongful death claim where the compensation goes directly to entitled family members, in a survival action, the payment is not exclusive to these family members. Instead, it may be available to all beneficiaries, including the siblings and grandparents.
If you believe you have a survival action, reach out to the wrongful death lawyers at Dolman Law Group. Our legal team can not only determine if you have a viable claim, but we can also fight for the maximum compensation you are entitled to seek.
5. How Do I Know I Qualify as a Spouse for Purposes of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in San Antonio?
A spouse can bring a wrongful death claim in Texas if their marriage was by common law or a formal union. It can even be brought if the spouses were separated at the time one of them was killed, or the surviving spouse remarried after the other's death.
Our team can assess your options for taking action if you were legally married to the victim of a deadly injury accident at the time of their passing. We provide free informational consultations and will answer your questions during that discussion.
6. If My Parent Was Killed, and I Am an Adult, Can I Still File a Wrongful Death Claim in San Antonio?
According to the Texas Wrongful Death Act, any biological children, including adult children, can bring a claim for wrongful death. In addition, children who have been legally and formally adopted can also bring a claim for wrongful death for their adoptive parents.
However, adopted children cannot bring a case for a biological parent unless they are named as a personal representative or executor, and no other qualifying family member chooses to pursue action.
7. If My Loved One, Who Was Killed, Never Had a Job, Can I Still Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in San Antonio?
You could still bring a wrongful death claim, even if the deceased never had a job. This is because they could have contributed to the family in other ways. For instance, if the deceased was a stay-at-home parent who contributed services, guidance, and nurtured the family. These contributions can amount to quantifiable losses in a wrongful death action.
Loss of services in these cases may be significant. For example, you may now have to pay for a nanny or other babysitter to perform the childcare tasks previously handled by your loved one. In addition, there may be household tasks you will need to pay someone else to manage. This is before considering the intangible losses your family experienced.
If you have questions regarding your wrongful death claim and whether you have a viable case, make sure you speak with the wrongful death attorneys at Dolman Law Group. Our legal team can go over your case in detail and determine what financial recovery you may be entitled to after the passing of your loved one.
8. If I Lost My Child in a San Antonio Accident, Can I Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
You could bring a wrongful death action and recover damages for the death of your child. However, these awards are often relatively modest. This is because when an earning adult dies, their financial loss is relatively easy to assess, as are their services, nurturing, and companionship elements.
For instance, when a parent passes away in an accident, their children can seek damages for the loss of their parent's income, as well as the loss of the parent's guidance and care. Yet, when a child dies, these damages are more limited. Generally, the parent's recovery would be restricted solely to their financial losses.
These financial losses are usually determined by:
- The child's sex, age, life expectancy, habits, work expectancy, and the state of their health
- The child's earning potential
- The age, health, and circumstances of those claiming these losses
- The relationship between the child who passed away and those claiming the losses
As you can see, there is a lot of speculation when it comes to these assessments. Unfortunately, the younger the child is at the time of their death, the harder it becomes to come up with these answers accurately. For example, if the child who passed away was 18 years old, a top student, and enrolled to go to a top university, it is easier to speculate their earnings potential compared to a child who was only five years old.
That is why, if you are considering bringing a wrongful death claim after the passing of your child, it can be critical to work with a wrongful death lawyer who has experience in handling these types of cases and can fight for the financial recovery your family deserves.
9. My Spouse Was Killed on the Job. Can I Still File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Their Employer?
Unfortunately, the answer is maybe. Several factors would determine if you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against an employer, such as whether the employer had workers' compensation insurance and who caused the incident.
If the employer does have workers' compensation insurance, the spouse would be eligible only to pursue workers' compensation death benefits. However, Texas does not require companies to carry workers' compensation insurance. As such, if your spouse's employer did not have this insurance and your significant other was killed on the job, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit against the employer.
These types of cases can get incredibly complicated. Contact Dolman Law Group to help you determine whether you have a viable wrongful death lawsuit against an employer and what compensation you may deserve.
10. If I Lost a Loved One in a San Antonio Accident, How Can Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers Help Me?
No amount of money will ever fully erase the hurt and pain that losing a loved one has caused you and your family. Still, at Dolman Law Group, our wrongful death lawyers know that obtaining compensation for your losses can help you start rebuilding your life and provide you the financial support your family needs after this devastating passing.
If you lost a family member in a San Antonio accident, our legal team is here for you and ready to go after the compensation you and your family deserve. When you hire Dolman Law Group to take on your wrongful death claim, our attorneys can:
- Go over your potential wrongful death claim, explain your legal options, and evaluate the challenges of the case
- Discuss all of your questions and walk you through the whole claim process, helping to ensure that you understand what is going on from start to finish
Investigate the accident that took your family member's life and help secure vital evidence needed to prove fault and damages
Call for a Complimentary Consultation
If your loved one has been killed in a San Antonio accident, do not wait any longer to seek legal help. Contact Dolman Law Group today or call our office for a free case consultation, and let our team show you what we can do for you.
San Antonio Office
921 S St Mary's St #2
San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: (210) 361-2039