What Are the Most Common Causes of Fatal Car Crashes?
Tragically, most deadly auto wrecks are caused by some form of human error. In fact, according to the latest statistics,1 the leading causes of fatal car accidents in the U.S. include:
- Speeding: This is the single most common driver misbehavior that causes deadly motor vehicle accidents. About 17% of all fatal car accidents involved speeding.
- Alcohol and drug impairment: As the second most common cause of deadly auto crashes, alcohol and/or drug impairment is a factor in about 11% of all deadly wrecks.
- Failure to stay in a lane or yield the right-of-way: Migrating out of a lane of traffic and failing to yield the right-of-way each contributes to more than 7% of all fatal car accidents in the U.S.
- Distracted driving: Nearly 6% of all deadly auto crashes involve at least one distracted motorist.
- Failures to buckle up: Wearing a seatbelt can cut the risk of severe and fatal injuries in half whenever car wrecks happen. About 47% of those who are killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
In some cases, multiple forms of negligence can play a role in a single deadly wreck. For instance, impaired drivers are more likely to speed and migrate out of their lane of traffic, increasing the risks of accidents and life-threatening injuries.
Who Is At Fault for Wrongful Death Car Accidents?
Fault for deadly car accidents will depend on the causes of those wrecks. In general, those who may be liable for fatal crashes can include (and may not be limited to):
- Other passenger vehicle drivers
- Uber or Lyft drivers
- Delivery truck drivers, like FedEx drivers and UPS drivers
- Trucking companies
- Parties responsible for building and maintaining safe roads
More than one party can be at fault for a single car accident and identifying every liable party can be the key to getting the full compensation deserved for a wrongful death case.
The best way to figure out all parties who may be liable for a given wreck is to meet with our experienced Houston lawyers for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit in Texas?
According to Texas law,2 those who can pursue a wrongful death claim include those who have the following relationship with the decedent (the victim of the fatal accident):
- Parents or adoptive parents
- Children or adopted children
Additionally, Texas wrongful death law stipulates that:
- Spouses, parents, and children have 2 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
- If a spouse, parent, or child has not filed a wrongful death case within three months of the death, an estate executor or administrator can file a claim.
What Type of Compensation Is Available for Wrongful Death Car Accident Cases?
In general, the compensation for wrongful death cases is meant to cover damages like (but not limited to):
- Funeral and burial costs
- Past medical bills for the decedent
- Lost wages that the decedent would have earned if not for the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Depending on the type of negligence that caused the fatal accident, punitive damages may also be available in some wrongful death cases.
These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party, rather than compensate the victim. They are reserved for especially horrific acts of negligence or patterns of negligence. Although rare, punitive damages can increase the compensation for a given case.
How Are Wrongful Death Cases Resolved?
The specifics of a given case will impact how that case is ultimately resolved. Generally, wrongful death cases start similarly, with an initial investigation and damage calculations. From there, a case may proceed with:
- Negotiations and settlement talks: Before a case goes to court, there are typically settlement negotiations. This is when both sides come together to try to work out a mutually acceptable settlement. Since going to court can increase the time and cost it may take to resolve a case, it can be in both parties’ best interests to work out a settlement.
- Trial: Sometimes, pre-trial settlements are not possible. This can be the case when there are disputes over liability or the amount of damages for a case. In these situations, the case will go to trial, where a jury will make the final decision.
Whether a case ends up in court or not, having our Houston wrongful death lawyers on your side can be pivotal to protecting your rights at every phase of your claim. We can help you stand up to insurance companies and others, and we’re skilled at presenting strong cases in court before juries.
How Do I Start a Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit?
Contact our Houston wrongful death attorneys, and we will take care of everything necessary to:
- Initiate a case: We can gather the evidence, file the required paperwork, and take other steps to get wrongful death cases underway.
- Help you navigate every step ahead: From discovery and depositions to negotiations and beyond, we will guide you through each phase of your case, providing the highest quality representation to ensure your rights are fully protected.
- Seek the best possible results: We won’t let insurance companies and/or others try to undercut your claim or push you into accepting an unfavorable outcome. We will fight to position your case for success.