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My Family Member Was Killed by a Drunk Driver. What Can I Do?

Posted on in Drunk Driving Crash

Houston wrongful death attorney

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, alcohol-related crashes killed nearly 1,000 Texans last year alone. If your loved one died in a crash caused by a drunk driver, this number is much more than a mere statistic. Losing a loved one in a preventable car accident is devastating and overwhelming. Many surviving family members wonder what their legal options are in a situation like this. They ask, “How can I hold the guilty party responsible?” Individuals who have lost a loved one may bring a wrongful death claim or a survival action to seek justice and financial compensation.

Wrongful Death Claims in Texas

When someone dies because of another party’s illegal or negligent actions, the surviving loved ones have a right to pursue a claim against the at-fault party. In the case of a drunk driving accident, the at-fault driver may face criminal charges for intoxication manslaughter. While criminal charges may provide some degree of closure, criminal penalties do not offer restitution to the loved ones left behind.

A wrongful death claim is a civil claim often brought by a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased. A successful wrongful death claim will hold the drunk driver accountable for his or her actions and provide financial compensation for damages such as medical bills and funeral expenses.

Many people wonder if it is possible to win a wrongful death lawsuit even if the at-fault party evades criminal consequences for his or her actions. Because civil cases are subject to a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, the answer is typically “yes.” However, bringing a successful wrongful death claim requires compelling evidence of the at-fault party’s liability and the victims’ damages.

Survival Claims in Texas

Survival claims are similar to wrongful death claims with a few important distinctions. A survival claim can be thought of as a personal injury claim that extends beyond the deceased person’s death. For example, suppose a cancer patient gets into an accident caused by a drunk driver. However, he passes away from cancer before he can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. In a situation like this, the representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring a survival claim to pursue the compensation the deceased person would have been entitled to had he or she survived.

Contact a Houston, Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your loved one died in a crash caused by a drunk driver, contact the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec to discuss your legal options. Call our knowledgeable, compassionate Harris County personal injury attorneys at 281-643-2000. Set up your free, no-obligation case consultation today.


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