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Wrongful Death Archives - Robert Littlefield Buford III, Attorney at Law

Top 5 Reasons for Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

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Losing a loved one is always a traumatic experience regardless of the cause. But when death is the result of someone else’s negligence, you are understandably hurt and angry. It can be a lot to process and there is no reason to deal with the situation alone. Working with an Austin wrongful death attorney can help you and your family begin to heal and move on.

While contemplating a lawsuit may not be the first thing on your mind, there are in fact several good reasons to engage an attorney as soon as possible.

1. You Have the Right to Know the Whole Truth

It is not always clear exactly what caused a loved one’s death. And the responsible parties are not always forthcoming. For example, if a patient dies due to apparent medical malpractice, the hospital and the doctors will quickly move to circle the wagons. The grieving family members are unlikely to get a straight answer.

This is where having an attorney is critical. It may be necessary to hire outside investigators and experts to review all of the available evidence to determine exactly what happened to the deceased. An experienced wrongful death lawyer knows how to manage these types of investigations and make sure the family learns the truth.

2. Criminal Law Is Not Sufficient

Not all negligence involves criminal activity. The police typically do not arrest a doctor who commits malpractice that results in a patient’s death. And even where there is criminal act involved–such as drunk driving–prosecutors are tasked with protecting the public at-large, not seeking compensation for individual victims.

In contrast, wrongful death is a civil matter. The standard of proof is much lower than in a criminal case. When the police are unable or unwilling to charge a responsible party, a wrongful death may be the only way a family can receive any justice.

3. You Need to Protect Your Family’s Financial Future

Some people dismiss wrongful death lawsuits as a shameless grab for cash. But the reality is a sudden, unexpected death can financially devastate a family. If the deceased was the primary wage earner, the surviving spouse and children may not have sufficient income to make ends meet. There are also costs related to the death itself, such as funeral and medical bills, which can run tens of thousands of dollars.

By filing a wrongful death claim, the family can seek compensation not only for these expenses but also lost income and even the loss of the potential inheritance the victim would have provided had he or she continued to work and save.

4. You Should Not Deal With Insurance Companies Alone

In many cases the negligent party has insurance that will cover a wrongful death judgment. Insurance companies are pros when it comes to exploiting a family’s financial desperation. Many times they will present a quick offer to settle and preempt a potential lawsuit. Such offers are usually not enough to compensate the family for the full value of their economic losses.

An experienced wrongful death attorney knows to handle the insurance companies. Oftentimes, an attorney can still reach a negotiated settlement–but one that is far more reasonable and fair to the victim’s family. Simply hiring an attorney sends a message to the insurance company that you are serious and will not be ignored.

5. Time Is of the Essence

In Texas there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit. That may seem like a lot of time, but consider how long it may take to investigate the cause of death, negotiate with the insurance company, and deal with the other consequences of a family member’s death. Also consider the longer you wait to start the process, the more likely important evidence will be lost or destroyed.

Contact An Austin Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

The most important thing any lawyer can offer a grieving family is the promise to zealously fight for their interests. If you have lost a loved one due to negligence, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone. Contact the office of Robert Littlefield Buford III, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation with a qualified Texas wrongful death attorney today.

What you Should Do if a Loved One has Died in an Accident

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What you Should Do if a Loved One has Died in an Accident

When an individual dies in an accident, he or she can leave significant expenses for his or her immediate family. These expenses can include the victim’s medical bills, his or her funeral costs, and the financial fallout of the death, such as the loss of his or her salary and insurance benefits as well as his or her personal contributions to the household. On top of these expenses, the victim’s surviving loved ones often have to face the mental trauma of losing the victim’s companionship, guidance, and love.

Family members of accident victims can seek compensation for these damages through wrongful death claims. Like with personal injury claims, individuals pursuing wrongful death claims must demonstrate that their loved ones died as the result of other parties’ negligence and that the deaths caused them to suffer specific financial damages.

Determine if you are Entitled to Seek Compensation for your Damages

Texas law permits a victim’s spouse, children, and parents to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. If one of these parties does not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the victim’s passing, a personal representative of the victim’s estate may do so unless the family specifically stated that they do not wish to pursue compensation.

Consider Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Through a wrongful death claim, an individual or multiple members of a victim’s family can seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Lost inheritance;
  • Lost household income;
  • Lost care, household maintenance, and other intangible forms of support the victim provided to the household;
  • The loss of the victim’s companionship and comfort; and
  • The expenses of psychological counseling to handle the grief of the loss.

With your wrongful death claim, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates the extent of your damages as well as proof that the death was due to negligence. This evidence can include copies of the victim’s pay stubs and funeral expenses as well as his or her medical bill and details about the accident, such as photographs of the scene and the official police report, if one was filed.

In Texas, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally two years from the date of the victim’s death. Certain exceptions do apply.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, remember to take care of yourself physically and mentally while you work through the wrongful death process. Working with a lawyer to pursue compensation following a loved one’s death can add to the trauma of the loss, so be sure to practice self-care strategies like speaking with a counselor, journaling, and focusing on your own well being.

Work with an Experienced Austin Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, it can seem like nothing will truly compensate you for your loss. But if you are experiencing financial damages as a direct result of the death, think practically and consider seeking compensation for these damages through a wrongful death claim. To learn more about filing and pursuing a wrongful death claim, contact our team of Austin personal injury attorneys at The Law Office Of Robert L. Buford today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.