LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Keith Curtin Purdue | Mar 2, 2011

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Following Fatal 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents

The emotional turmoil experienced by a bereaved family in the aftermath of a fatal 18-wheeler accident can be immense. An unexpected loss can leave a family with much grief, anger, and frustration to process. Some family members may want to pursue justice for their loss so that the liable parties can be held accountable for their negligent behavior. Some family members, especially a spouse or children of a victim, may be in need of compensation that can assist them through a financially difficult time in light of the loss of their loved one. Both issues can be resolved through the pursuit of a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death civil suit has two goals: to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one and to see justice prevail against those whose negligence has taken a life. In the aftermath of a fatal semi-truck wreck, an aggrieved family will likely face many economic hardships that will be as surprising as the fatal accident itself. A victim's family is often in the throes of emotional angst and sorrow following an accident, and the added burden of financial stress can often become over-powering to an aggrieved family. However, through the pursuit of a wrongful death lawsuit, a bereaved family can seek compensation that can assist them with these financial issues.

Two types of damages, also known as financial losses, can be sought in a wrongful death case in Texas. These damages are known as wrongful death damages and survival damages. Wrongful death damages refer to the financial losses experienced by the decedent's family members, such as funeral expenses, compensation for their own pain and suffering as a result of losing their loved one, loss of economic support formerly provided by the victim, and medical bills paid for by a family member. A number of different family members can seek wrongful death damages through a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of the same family member. Such damages are often quite important in regards to the financial future of a spouse or child. Survival damages, on the other hand, refer to the financial losses experienced by the decedent had they lived through the fatal accident. Such damages include medical bills prior to death, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost potential income due to a potential debilitating accident, and mental or emotional turmoil. Only one family member can seek survival damages. Such a family member can be viewed as a proxy for the deceased family member, standing in for their loved one in order to see their family member's rights protected. The same family member can seek both wrongful death damages and survival damages.

While seeking compensation is a necessary part of any wrongful death lawsuit, a family is often more motivated to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit by their need to see justice served against those who have caused them grief and loss. This is often especially true in instances where no criminal charges are brought against a liable party, as can often be the case when a fatality occurs due to an accident, or a moment of inattention. A wrongful death lawsuit is then the only legal remedy for an aggrieved family to see a negligent party brought to justice. While such a defendant will not have to serve jail time as a result of a successful wrongful death lawsuit for the plaintiff, the defendant will likely be held responsible for compensating a victim's family, plus bearing the burden of public admittance of their negligent behavior. Furthermore, a family that seeks a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent truck driver, trucking company, insurer, or other liable party in a fatal 18-wheeler accident is working toward ensuring that similar fatal accidents do not have to happen in the future due to the unchecked, negligent behavior of a liable party.

If you have lost a loved one due to a fatal trucking accident, consider contacting an experienced fatal 18-wheeler accident lawyer. They can assist you by conducting a thorough investigation into the accident site so that all liable parties can be identified in order for them to be held accountable for their actions. An 18-wheeler collision attorney will also be able to assist you in properly proving up damages, meaning that they'll work to ensure that the amount of damages sought from a liable party is commensurate with the amount of damages you and your loved one have actually incurred. Such calculations, especially in regards to the often nebulous nature of survival damages, are often best accomplished by wrongful death attorneys with years of prior experience in similar cases. Lastly, an 18-wheeler wrongful death lawyer can help you seek the justice you deserve so that other families do not have to experience the same loss and grief due to the negligent behavior of the same liable party.

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