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The Fostel Law Firm April 27, 2022

MY LOVED ONE WAS KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER. WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

The thought of a loved one being killed by a drunk driver is harrowing and devastating. Yet data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration shows that a person is killed in a drunk driving accident every 52 minutes, on average. That data underlies a tragic reality: that the likelihood of death due to a drunk driving accident is statistically possible. Losing a family member in such an incident can be emotional and heartbreaking; such a loss can have far-reaching consequences on your mental, financial, and emotional health.

If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you have the right to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the party you believe to be responsible. At The Fostel Law Firm, I’m committed to offering outstanding legal services and compassionate representation in wrongful death cases. I can offer you the comprehensive guidance, support, and assistance you need during this critical period. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I can help you file a wrongful death claim and attempt to pursue rightful compensation to cover outstanding medical costs, lost income, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and loss of consortium. My law firm proudly serves clients nationwide, including Texas and the Southeast New Mexico area.

Criminal Charges for Drunk Driving

When someone is killed by an individual driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that driver may be charged with intoxication manslaughter. Under Texas law, intoxication manslaughter occurs if the person, while intoxicated, operates a motor vehicle in a public place, and because of that intoxication, causes the death of another by accident or mistake. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Texas, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks to compensate family members for losses they will suffer because the person who died is no longer in their lives. These losses are calculated from the time of death until the end of the person’s expected life span had the injury or accident not occurred. Losses may include but are not limited to: loss of future wages, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses. While it won’t bring your loved one back, receiving financial compensation can provide the family with a boost to cover expenses and will hold the responsible person accountable. 

Who Can File A Wrongful
Death Claim In Texas?

Under Texas law, the only family members who can file wrongful death claims are the deceased person’s spouse, parents, and children, including adoptive parents and children. Adopted children are not permitted to file a wrongful death claim related to the death of a biological parent, however. A parent may file a claim on the behalf of a child under the age of 18.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations for wrongful death suits in Texas requires the surviving family members of the deceased to file their claims within two years of the person’s death.

Liability For Drunk Driving

When a wrongful death occurs due to the actions of a drunk driver, the following people may be liable for damages:

  • The driver

  • Parents of a minor 

  • Vehicle owner 

  • The establishment or person that served the drinks

  • The employer

Potential Damages Available

When filing a wrongful death suit in Texas, there are several possible outcomes.  If successful, the following damages could be awarded:

  • Medical costs incurred before the victim's death

  • Funeral and burial expenses

  • Lost earning capacity

  • Lost wages and benefits

  • Lost care, guidance, and support

  • Lost love or companionship

  • Mental grief

  • Punitive damages to punish and deter the at-fault party

Work With An Experienced Attorney

A loved one’s death at the hands of a drunk driver can have devastating, lifelong consequences on your financial, emotional, and mental health. I have devoted my career to protecting the rights of wrongful death victims and their families, especially in cases involving drunk drivers. If your loved one has been killed by a drunk driver, please do not hesitate to contact my Houston office today for a case evaluation.


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