Wrongful Death

People are killed every day as a result of the wrongful actions of someone else. It happens far more often than it should and if you’ve landed on this page, you’ve probably experienced this first hand.

No one should have to endure a loss like this but sadly, it happens all the time. The firm of Borland & Borland has specialized in helping individuals just like you for over thirty years.  We are aware of the pain, frustration and anger experienced by family members who are forced to handle the untimely death of a loved one and we have the knowledge and experience needed to help you through this time.

Mike Borland and his daughter, Misty Borland Phiffer have over 45 years of combined legal experience in helping bereaved people bring the responsible parties to justice and ensuring that families get the help they need to get them back on their feet.  If you would like to talk to us further about this, please input your information below.  There is no fee for the call.

After losing a loved one in a wrongful death accident, a bereaved family often experiences a wide variety of emotions, from anger and rage at the responsible party to sorrow and sadness over the loss of their family member. Such a family may also experience frustration and a feeling of helplessness in regards to the justice of the accident, since wrongful deaths occur due to the negligence of another party. In such instances, seeking legal action may be one of the last issues that a bereaved family may think about in light of their loved one’s loss. However, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can bring answers to a number of questions that are often swirling in the minds of the family members that have lost a loved one, questions like:

How did it happen?
Whose fault was it?
How can I make the person who caused the death take responsibility for their actions?
How can I make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else?
Do I need to hire a lawyer?

Midland/Odessa and West Texas wrongful death firm Borland & Borland, with a combined experience of over 45 years of practice in helping bereaved family members seek justice for their loss through wrongful death lawsuits, tries to answer these questions below.

Why Should I Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Often, when a loved one is killed, their family has little to no idea why a wrongful death claim should be pursued since they have likely never been in this situation before.  So, many times, they choose not to seek legal advice or to go after the responsible parties, either because they are unsure if it is the right thing to do or through a belief that the other party may have already suffered enough.  However, there are several important reasons why the survivors in these circumstances should pursue a wrongful death case against a liable party:

First of all, this will hold the liable parties accountable for their actions, or inactions, that resulted in a person’s death.  Second, this financially punishes a negligent party and this will encourage them to change their behavior so that this doesn’t happen to someone else.  The only thing required for wrong to prevail is for good people to do nothing.  It is undoubtedly wrong to cause the death of a human being, whether through your actions or inactions.

Companies especially, who through their failure to train, or hiring of unqualified individuals or any one of a hundred different scenarios, must be held accountable in this manner to force them to change their behavior.  Finally, the wrongful death lawsuit allows a bereaved family to seek compensation for their loss so that the financial stress that often occurs after the unexpected loss of a loved one does not have to cause further pain to an already grieving family.  This is especially important when a wrongful death may have claimed the life of a primary wage-earner for a household.

No amount of money will bring back what you have lost, but by taking this step and pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, you may help to prevent this from happening to another family.  Borland & Borland will work with you and your family to make sure you receive fair compensation for what has happened and to hold the other party responsible for their actions.

Who can pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and what damages can be claimed?

The right to file a wrongful death claim is created and controlled by written laws and so it will differ from state to state.  In Texas when a person is killed in an accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, there is a wrongful death claim.  This claim belongs to the parents, spouse and children of the decedent.  No one else can make a claim. There is no claim for a brother or sister in a wrongful death claim.  Similar laws control in New Mexico.

The technical goal of a wrongful death claim is for a bereaved family member to be compensated for the damages they’ve incurred as a result of losing their loved one. Damages refers to the financial losses that such a family may have experienced. Wrongful death cases allow for two types of damages to be sought from a defendant, known as wrongful death damages and survival damages. Properly accounting for both types of damages and including the sum total in a wrongful death lawsuit is an imperative part of seeking full and fair compensation from a liable party.

In a wrongful death case, claims can be made for the loss of love, affection and support, as well as for grief and mental anguish suffered by the parents, spouse and children.  Claims are also made for economic damages such as loss of burial costs and expenses, loss of financial support and inheritance.  No amount of money is going to make you whole after suffering the loss of a loved one, but these claims can help put a bereaved and crippled family back on their feet and that is what they are intended to do.

Any one wrongful death beneficiary can bring the claim on behalf of the others. A wrongful death claim does not require that an estate be probated. The person does not have to be an administrator of an estate or a beneficiary of a will in order to bring a wrongful death claim.

Similar to a wrongful death claim is a survival claim. A survival claim belongs to the estate of the decedent.  The survival claim is for medical expenses and damages such as pain and suffering that a person suffered prior to their death. The survival claim survives the person’s death and belongs to the estate and is in addition to the wrongful death claim.  Survival damages can only be sought by the decedent’s closest living relative.

Proving up damages is an important part of any wrongful death lawsuit in order to ensure that all possible plaintiffs are fully and fairly compensated for their loss.  Often, different legal strategies are required to effectively calculate damages, especially when each person may be entitled to different amounts.  As such, having the legal help of an experienced law  firm like Borland and Borland can ensure that all wrongful death damages and survival damages are properly calculated and proven so that the parties involved in the suit are fairly compensated. With four and a half decades of combined practice, Mike and Misty have the knowledge and experience to help you recover what you deserve.

How Do I Know When To Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas and How Long Do I Have to Make My Claims?

There are several hurdles that have to be cleared  to successfully pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.  The law states that you have to establish the following when dealing with a fatal accident:

1. The decedent was killed by the action or inaction of another person or company.

2. The liable parties acted negligently, which caused the fatal accident.

3. The decedent has surviving family members or beneficiaries who can seek survival damages or wrongful death damages.

4. The decedent or their surviving family members have incurred some type of financial loss as a result of the fatal accident.

If any of these areas cannot be established, then a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be pursued. However, if you’re unsure whether or not you can prove any element, then you should consider contacting Borland & Borland at our toll-free number,
1-800-648-5290, for a free consultation.

You should also know that a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued against a liable party, even if that party may also be facing criminal charges for the same fatal accident.  A criminal case being brought against the responsible party will only provide for punishment of that party, it will not recover damages for the grieving family.

If a wrongful death lawsuit is going to be pursued, it must be filed with two years of the date of the death or you will be barred from the courthouse and have no further remedies available to you.  Additionally and in our opinion more importantly, the longer a family waits to begin the process the more likely it is that relevant evidence will be altered or destroyed, either accidentally because no one knows that it needs to be kept, or intentionally in an attempt to avoid liability.  This evidence may be vitally important to proving the case and answering the questions you may have as to who was at fault in causing your loved one’s death.  As such, one of the most beneficial actions that you can take in the aftermath of losing a loved one is to contact a wrongful death law firm like Borland & Borland that can quickly begin an investigation into the fatal accident that claimed the life of your loved one and work to immediately preserve necessary evidence.

Workers’ Compensation Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In Texas, if an employer is covered by workers’ comp, then an deceased worker’s family may be limited to pursuing their losses in the workers’ comp claims process.  However, the compensation available through this process is often inadequate to cover a family’s financial losses.  There may be additional options if a third party was also responsible for the injury and death of the worker, or if the employer was grossly negligent in causing their worker’s death.  In order to determine if that situation exists, it is necessary to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney, like Borland & Borland who specializes in pursuing these cases in Texas and New Mexico.

Suffering the wrongful death of a loved one is a life changing event.  We understand that you’re going through an emotionally difficult time in which you have many more questions than  answers. We can help you find those answers. We can also help you seek justice against the liable parties so that future fatal accidents do not have to occur, causing more grief to be suffered by another family. We will work to ensure that your family will receive full and fair compensation for your loss so that financial stress does not have to compound the pain and suffering you’re already experiencing. Call the firm of Borland & Borland now for your free consultation at 800-648-5290.

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