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West Texas wrongful death attorneyIf your spouse, parent, child, or other loved one died in a fatal car accident, you may have a valid wrongful death claim. Like a personal injury claim, a wrongful death claim is a civil legal action that is used to seek restitution in the form of monetary damages. Unlike a personal injury claim, however, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought on a deceased person’s behalf by a representative of the deceased person. A wrongful death claim can hold the at-fault party or parties accountable for the devastation that the party’s actions caused you and your family.

Understanding Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuits

According to Texas law, a wrongful death is a death that is caused by another party’s wrongful or negligent actions or inaction. The liable party in a fatal car accident may be another driver, a commercial business such as a trucking company or product manufacturer, a government entity, or a combination of several parties. Many wrongful death cases involve:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Vehicle defects including defective tires, faulty brakes, or problems with the car’s computer system
  • Speeding, running a red light, or other traffic law violations
  • Trucking company negligence
  • Failure to properly load and secure truck cargo
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Reckless driving

Damages in a Fatal Car Crash Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit serves two main purposes: Holding the at-fault party accountable for the avoidable death and securing financial compensation for the surviving loved ones. No amount of money can make up for your tragic loss. However, monetary damages can alleviate some of the financial burden created by an unexpected death. Damages in a wrongful death case often include:

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el paso car accident lawyerIn order to legally operate a motor vehicle in Texas, you must be able to show proof that you can pay for any damages caused by a traffic accident that is your fault. The average driver will do so by purchasing liability insurance. Those who have active auto loans are typically required to carry insurance by their lenders. Unfortunately, some drivers do not follow the rules pertaining to car insurance. According to a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, around 12.6 percent or one in eight drivers nationwide did not have active car insurance in 2019. Costs from a car accident can get extremely expensive very quickly. Knowing what to do after being in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is crucial for recovering compensation.

Insurance Requirements in Texas

Under Texas law, a driver can choose to insure his or her vehicle. If the driver does not have the assets to be self-insured and he or she purchases insurance from qualified insurance company, the purchased policy must meet certain minimum requirements. To be considered legal, you must carry at least the minimum amount of liability insurance required by law. Liability insurance must be maintained to cover damages of up to at least $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage coverage in the event that you cause an accident.

Over the last several decades, the prices of new cars and the cost of auto parts have skyrocketed, and insurance laws have largely not kept pace with the rising costs. As a result, the dollar amount of the damages caused in a crash can easily exceed the required minimum coverages. If a driver has car insurance but causes an accident in which the damages exceed the policy maximums, he or she is considered to be underinsured. Obviously, if a driver has no car insurance at all, he or she is uninsured. 

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TX accident lawyerSummer has historically been the season with the highest number of traffic accidents, especially with the increased number of vehicles on the road. No matter the season, when compared to city driving, highways are usually safer roads to travel on. However, highways are also where you will usually find most of the nation’s large semi-trucks. We depend on semi-trucks to transport the majority of goods that we use every day across the country, yet these trucks can also be dangerous to other drivers on the road. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there were an estimated 5,005 fatal motor vehicle crashes that took place in the U.S. in 2019. Texas had 13 percent of the total number of fatalities involving large trucks, the largest share of any state in the country. Being in a car accident with a semi-truck can be devastating, but there are ways you can claim compensation from all responsible parties, which may include more than just the driver.

Potentially Responsible Parties

When it comes to accidents involving large trucks or semi-trucks, there is usually more than just one person who is responsible for the safety of the vehicle and the way it operates. In some cases, you may be able to hold multiple parties responsible for your injuries. These parties may include:

  • The truck driver - The most obvious place to start when determining where to place fault after a truck accident is with the truck driver themselves. In the majority of vehicle accidents, something that the driver does or does not do can be attributed to the accident. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while distracted, or even speeding can all be factors that point to the driver as the responsible party.
  • The trucking company - In many cases, the trucking company or driver’s employer may be responsible for the accident. Truck drivers are on the road for many hours at a time, although they are required to follow federal hours of service guidelines. These guidelines were designed to prevent truck drivers from being too drowsy while driving, but trucking companies may force their drivers to break those rules, resulting in a dangerous situation. A trucking company may also be held liable for an accident if they did not adequately train a driver, or if they hired a driver without first ensuring they were licensed to drive a semi-truck.
  • Manufacturers of the truck or parts on the truck - If an accident is found to have been caused by a defective part on the truck, you may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for the accident. For example, a trailer hitch that was not designed adequately or had defects during manufacturing may cause the trailer to come loose from the truck and cause an accident.

Contact Our El Paso, TX Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Today

Truck accidents are often severe because of the dramatic size difference between the truck and the other vehicles involved. These accidents often result in serious injuries not to the truck driver, but to those riding in the other vehicle. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you should speak to an El Paso County truck accident injury attorney. James Kennedy, P.L.L.C., will help you determine who you can hold liable for your truck accident so you can recover maximum compensation. To get started on your case, call our office today at 915-544-5200 to schedule a free consultation.

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el paso truck accident lawyerMost adults will admit that they do not get enough sleep at night. However, when someone is operating an 18-wheeler, sleep deprivation can be extremely dangerous. Fatigued truck drivers are slower to react to sudden changes in traffic and may make potentially deadly mistakes behind the wheel. Some truck drivers are so tired that they actually fall asleep while driving. If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck crash, it is possible that truck driver fatigue was a contributing factor.

Why Sleep Deprivation is So Dangerous for Truckers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that being awake for more than 17 consecutive hours has the same effect on cognitive and physical processes as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. If someone is awake for more than 24 hours, his or her impairment is equivalent to having a BAC of 0.10 percent. Commercial truck drivers operate vehicles that often weigh up to 80,000 lbs or more. If a truck driver is too sleepy to drive the truck safely, catastrophic truck accidents may occur.

Hours of Service Regulations and Truck Driver Logbooks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted rules regarding how many hours truck drivers can drive consecutively. These regulations are supposed to prevent truck drivers from driving while they are too tired to drive responsibly. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always adhere to these rules. Truck drivers are expected to meet tight deadlines and deal with unexpected traffic delays. As a result, they may continue driving past the FMCSA-imposed limit to meet these deadlines. In some cases, trucking companies encourage or even force truck drivers to violate the federal regulations limiting the number of hours they can drive without a rest break.

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el paso car wreck lawyerCar crashes can cause broken bones, spine injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and much more.  These injuries often leave a car crash victim with overwhelming medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and other expenses. The injured person may also be unable to work, take care of his or her children, drive, or complete other responsibilities while he or she is recovering from the injuries. Consequently, the financial burden associated with a serious car accident is often heavy.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian accident, it is important to explore all of your legal options. A personal injury claim may allow you to recover compensation for the financial burden created by the accident. However, many car insurance companies do not want injured claimants to hire an injury attorney. If you are like many people, you may wonder why.

Your Injury Attorney’s Job is Maximize Your Payout  

Most insurance companies are just like any other for-profit business. They want to increase profits and minimize expenses. This includes minimizing the amount of compensation that is paid to injured car crash victims. Unfortunately, most people who get hurt in an accident undervalue their claim. They do not consider all of the past, present, and future financial losses resulting from the accident. For example, they may include the cost of medical care but fail to realize the long-term impact the accident will have on their earning capacity. When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney after a car accident, your lawyer will identify all of the damages that you suffered and ensure that you do not settle for less than you deserve. In many cases, personal injury attorneys work with medical and financial experts such as vocational rehabilitation specialists to calculate the claim’s true value.

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