When an individual is killed due to choices made by another, the family who is left behind often considers their rights to legal recourse. In some Texas car accident cases, the incident leads to criminal charges, and the resulting punitive measures are sufficient to leave the family feeling as if justice has been meted out appropriately. In other cases, however, the responsible party receives little to no criminal consequence for their actions, and loved ones are left shocked. In those instances, many pursue a wrongful death suit in order to find a solution.
A wrongful death suit can lead to an award of financial damages, which can help the family cope with the monetary losses associated with the death. However, in many cases the family cares more about having their loss, as well as the responsibility of the party who caused the crash, addressed in a formal and public manner. Reaching a successful outcome requires proof that negligence played a causal role in the death.
A recent car crash provides a good example. Police believe that the driver of a Cadillac had been drinking before hitting the road in the early morning hours of a recent Sunday. He crashed into a Geo Tracker, which caused a passenger in that vehicle to be thrown from the SUV. That individual suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The driver initially fled the scene, but returned and was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
The driver now faces Texas charges of intoxication manslaughter. However, the family of the person killed in the crash may also pursue a wrongful death suit against the driver. In doing so, the legal argument would rest on evidence suggesting that the man had been drinking prior to the crash. His initial attempt to flee the scene and thereby avoid responsibility might also come into play in proving his negligence in the matter.
Source: The Houston Chronicle, “HPD: Passenger ejected from vehicle in fatal drunk-driving wreck,” Erin Mulvaney, Feb. 17, 2013