It’s always a difficult time when someone you know dies, but it’s especially devastating if their death could have been avoided if someone else had simply exercised a bit of care or caution. If you believe a friend or family member died because of someone else’s actions or negligence, a wrongful death action could hold the perpetrator accountable and help you recover important compensation that will help you pay for funeral and burial expenses and relieve financial pressures on you and your family as you grieve your loss.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our team of veteran, compassionate wrongful death attorneys are here to help you get the peace of mind you’re looking for. To speak with a knowledgeable member of our Houston personal injury attorney team, call us today at (713) 659-4000 for a free consultation.
Why Hire A Lawyer?
If you’re dealing with the emotional devastation of the unexpected loss of a loved one, considering legal action is likely not the first thought that crosses your mind. However, we strongly recommend you speak to an attorney about your options if your loved one’s death was caused by someone’s recklessness, carelessness, or an intentional act.
Wrongful deaths are startlingly common in the United States. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that there were nearly 34,000 fatal car crashes nationwide in 2018. Many of these crashes are the results of an impaired or negligent driver, which may be cause for a wrongful death suit. There are countless other ways individuals can lose their lives prematurely, from defective pharmaceuticals, hazardous conditions on other people’s property, defective products, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and more.
While a wrongful-death action can’t bring back your loved one, there are many reasons why these actions are crucial. You may have lost vital financial assets, not to mention the mental and emotional pain that has been thrust upon you. A lawyer can help investigate your claim, determine who may be at fault and what compensation you may be entitled to, and pursue your case while you go through the grieving process. It’s important to take action quickly; in Texas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful-death suit is two years. An attorney can handle your case for you and make sure you get your full compensation.
It’s important to note that wrongful-death cases are filed in civil court. While a drunk driver may face a DUI charge or something similar in the event of a crash, it’s up to the police and local prosecutors to file criminal charges. While you may receive damages if you file a successful wrongful-death suit, the only penalties to the perpetrator will be financial. It’s up to the criminal court system to determine if additional penalties like jail time are merited.
Why Hire Us?
Our team has extensive experience handling wrongful death cases in Houston. We understand the depth of your loss and why these cases are so personal, which is why our attorneys are empathetic, communicative, and thorough. We’re here to provide the legal support you deserve after a personal loss. We’ll help you make sense of your case and your options, and we’re dogged in our pursuit for your rightful compensation.
Our drive to help our clients in wrongful death cases goes back to our firm’s founding. Co-founder Ty Gibson began handling personal injury cases while he was in law school, and that initial passion led to his work at Gibson Hill Personal Injury. Gibson and our other attorneys know how emotionally fraught these types of cases can be; that’s why they emphasize open, clear communication with our clients. Gibson’s strong track record of success has led to his being named to the National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 Under 40.
Need more proof of our dedication and results? Here’s what one client had to say: “After my accident I contacted Gibson Hill PC and hired Brett Hill to represent me in a rear-end collision case. Mr. Hill handled everything professionally and kept everything 100% stress free for me. All of my medical expenses were paid for, including surgery.”
Here’s what another client wrote after we represented them in a truck accident case: “I am an attorney and wanted the best. … I saw Brett in court one day and was impressed with his trial abilities and consulted with him. My main concern was getting my case moving along. I had severe injuries in my cervical spine and was not working and needed medical attention to my injuries and I needed to get this case moving fast. … I expressed this concern to Brett and that is exactly what he did. He got the case moving forward fast. I was extremely pleased with his representation during the case and would definitely recommend him to other people.”
Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
A wrongful-death suit is a civil court matter, and Texas statutes say you may be entitled to compensation if the person you know died due to the actions, carelessness, neglect, or recklessness of another person. There are many circumstances that could result in a wrongful death: Workplace accidents or negligence, medical malpractice, car and truck accidents, a physical assault, and so on. Here are some of the wrongful-death cases we handle at Gibson Hill Personal Injury:
- Car accidents– If your loved one died because of a drunk or negligent driver, the other driver may be liable for damages. This includes crashes between multiple vehicles and pedestrian crashes.
- Truck accidents– Similar to car accidents, truck drivers can be held liable if they’re involved in a fatal crash, especially if the driver was impaired or negligent in some way. Major trucking companies have large legal teams at their disposal, making an attorney essential if you wish to pursue a wrongful-death suit.
- Industrial and construction site accidents– Heavy industrial machinery and construction equipment can be very dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken. The machines are not only dangerous to the people who use them, but also to others in the immediate vicinity. Poorly maintained machines can break, chemicals can explode, and negligent workers may get other people injured or killed through their carelessness. All of these incidents may be grounds for a wrongful-death suit.
- Medical malpractice/negligence- Medical errors, especially during surgeries, are disturbingly common. A study from Johns Hopkins Medicine estimated that medical errors may me the third-highest cause of death in the United States. Medical errors include adverse medication effects, surgical injuries, surgeries done at the wrong site on the body, misdiagnoses, improper transfusions, under- and over-treatment of a patient’s illness, mistaken patient identities, and more.
There are different types of damages you may be able to collect in a wrongful death case. Financial damages can help you pay for various expenses in the wake of a death. This includes:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Final medical bills
- Loss of financial support
Non-financial damages cover losses that are harder to quantify but are nonetheless important. Non-financial damages compensate for things like:
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Lost emotional support
- Lost inheritance
An experienced wrongful-death lawyer, like those at Gibson Hill Personal Injury, will carefully examine your case to make sure you get all the different types of compensation that you’re eligible to receive. In rare cases, you could be entitled to punitive damages in a Texas wrongful-death suit. A judge or jury may award punitive damages to punish or make an example out of a defendant, especially if the person due to a willful act or extreme negligence.
How Often Do These Fatal Accidents Occur in Texas?
Fatal accidents caused by the poor decisions of others are, unfortunately, quite common across the U.S., and Texas is no exception. Some figures show that:
- 13,000 people died in drunk-driving crashes in Texas from 2003-2012, according to the CDC.
- That same CDC study reported that 2.1 percent of Texans said they had driven after drinking too much. With nearly 15.5 million licensed drivers in Texas as of 2013, that means about 310,000 Texas drivers have admitted to driving while intoxicated.
- The high rate of drunk-driving deaths significantly elevates Texas’ overall death rate compared to the national average. As of 2012, the average death rate for people in the U.S. ages 21-34 was 6.7 people out of every 100,000. In Texas, the rate was 10 people out of every 100,000. If you break down the data by gender, it looks even worse. In 2012, the U.S. average death rate for men was 5.2 out of every 100,000, while for women it was 1.5 per 100,000. In Texas, the death rate in 2012 was 7.6 men out of every 100,000 and 2.4 women out of every 100,000.
Contact a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney
Did you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or an intentional act? If so, know that you and your family are not alone. You have the right to demand answers and fair compensation for your loss, and an experienced Houston personal injury attorney could help you seek the justice your family is entitled to.
To speak with an understanding and knowledgeable member of the Gibson Hill Personal Injury team about your situation, contact us at (713) 659-4000 today. We’re ready to bring our compassionate, thorough, proactive approach to your case. Let us help you and your loved ones in your time of need.