Brian White | December 7, 2023 | Car Accidents
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 4,481 traffic deaths in 2022. Based on the available data, one person died because of a reportable car accident every 1 hour 57 minutes in 2022. By comparison, about five people died in traffic accidents in the United States every hour in 2022.
Even one death on Texas roads is a tragedy. Understanding why deadly traffic accidents happen can help you avoid being involved in a car accident. Knowing what to do after a car crash and how to protect your legal rights is also in your best interest.
Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Houston, TX
Negligence is one of the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Texas. A driver is negligent when they fail to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle. However, other factors also contribute to the cause of fatal crashes.
Common examples of factors that can lead to a deadly car accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive and reckless driving
- Texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Hazardous road conditions
- Defective or unsafe vehicles
- Failure to follow Texas traffic laws
There could be other reasons why a fatal car accident occurs. When someone dies in a car accident, the drivers must immediately report the accident to the police and wait for the officers to arrive at the accident scene.
Can I Prevent a Fatal Car Accident?
You cannot control what other drivers on the road do, but you can control your behavior behind the wheel of a car. Things that you can do to avoid a car accident include:
- Set vehicle controls and GPS before you leave, and do not reset them while driving. Instead, pull over to a safe location to make changes
- Never drive after consuming alcohol. Instead, call a rideshare company for a ride home
- Get plenty of rest and allow someone else to drive if you are tired
- Keep your eyes on the road and watch for others who might not be following traffic laws
- Watch out for dangerous situations and try to avoid them
- Follow the speed limit and Texas traffic laws
Unfortunately, these suggestions cannot prevent all traffic accidents. If you are involved in a traffic accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. You can talk with a Houston car accident lawyer about filing a claim against the driver who caused the accident.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Accident in Houston, TX
If your family member died in a fatal car accident in Houston, an attorney can help you explore legal options for filing a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for damages caused by the untimely death of a family member.
Under Texas wrongful death laws, the deceased person’s parents, spouse, or children can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If they do not file a lawsuit within three months after the death or there is no one to file a lawsuit, the person’s estate can file a wrongful death claim.
What Damages Can I Recover for a Fatal Car Accident in Houston, TX?
The damages you can recover for a wrongful death claim are more limited than the damages for a personal injury case. Typically, family members can seek compensation for:
- Reasonable and necessary costs of a funeral and burial
- Loss of inheritance, consortium, and financial support
- The loss of the value of goods or services
- Mental anguish and distress
- The loss of support, guidance, companionship, and love
- Medical bills incurred between the injury and the date of death
A jury might award punitive damages if the at-fault party’s conduct meets the statutory requirement for punitive damages. An attorney can tell you how much your claim is worth during a free consultation.
Deadlines for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Car Accident in Texas
You only have a certain amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal car accident. The Texas statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years after the death. If you do not file a lawsuit before this time, you lose the right to pursue a claim in court against the person who caused your loved one’s death.
There could be exceptions to the rule. It is best to speak with a Houston wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. You do not want to allow the person responsible for taking your loved one’s life to avoid legal liability for their actions.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054