Distinguishing Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Wrongful Death Claim
When it comes to car accidents, Texas is one of the most dangerous states in the nation. Car accidents happen, and when another driver’s negligence leads to injury or, there are legal tools for obtaining compensation for damages. The difference between a personal injury claim and a wrongful death claim confuses many people, and it can help to have a better understanding of the distinctions. If another driver has left you or someone you care about injured – or worse – you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Central Texas personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Claims
While both personal injury claims and wrongful death claims are based on the responsible party's intentional or reckless acts of negligence, personal injury claims are brought by the injured parties against the negligent parties. Personal injury claims often cover a variety of damages:
Medical expenses, including emergency transportation and services, surgeries and follow-up care, appointments with doctors and therapists, prescription medications, adaptive medical devices, and ongoing medical treatment and expenses
Hours and wages lost on the job, including a diminished earning potential and/or altered career path
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Personal Injury Claims and Compensation
To be awarded compensation in a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove the other driver’s negligence. The ensuing compensation depends upon a variety of factors that include the severity of the injuries you sustain. A personal injury claim can also address punitive damages directed at the negligent motorist if he or she is found to have been grossly negligent.
Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, is brought against the negligent party by the victim’s family. Such a claim is brought to hold the negligent party responsible for the family member’s death, and it can include several types of compensation:
The full array of medical expenses incurred before the victim died
Burial and funeral costs
Loss of earnings into the future
Loss of financial support for the victim’s family
The victim’s children’s educational expenses
Loss of companionship for the victim’s spouse
Wrongful Death Claims and Compensation
For a wrongful death claim to prevail, you must be able to show via a preponderance of the evidence that the driver’s negligence is responsible for the victim’s deadly injuries. In essence, this means that there must be more than a 50 percent chance that the most compelling evidence is true. This is a lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard that is employed in criminal cases.