Motor vehicle accidents are so common that almost everyone knows someone who has sustained serious injuries or died in a collision. Although most accidents are minor and result only in damage to cars and soft tissue, every day people in Texas end up permanently injured or even dead after a traffic crash. For those left behind after a fatal car crash, it can be hard to figure out what to do next.

Chances are, after losing a loved one, money and compensation are the farthest things from your mind. After all, no amount of financial gain can offset the grief of living without someone you hold dear. However, there are many situations in which families who have lost a loved one should consider a wrongful death suit. Particularly in cases where the other driver was clearly at fault, taking steps to hold them accountable could protect others in the future.

Negligence, distraction or intoxication are often factors

Sometimes, vehicles malfunction. Tires blow out, leading to a loss of control of a vehicle. Engines stall, resulting in a stopped vehicle in heavy traffic. These kinds of accidents happen all the time, and sometimes they result in a serious crash. It is much more common, however, for human error to factor into a serious collision. People make mistakes every day. Whether it’s arguing on the phone with someone while driving or using Snapchat, mistakes in a vehicle can cost other people dearly.

Sometimes, when they happen behind the wheel of a vehicle, these mistakes have fatal consequences. Perhaps a driver chooses to text while driving, putting everyone else on the road at risk. Maybe someone gets behind the wheel of a car after drinking, doing drugs or even taking too much cough medicine. Any of these situations could lead to impaired decision-making and delayed response times in crashes. That, in turn, could contribute to a fatal collision. When someone’s decisions impact your family, you have the right to hold them accountable.

A criminal conviction isn’t necessary for a wrongful death suit

One of the biggest misconceptions about wrongful death lawsuits is that families need to wait for the other driver to end up convicted of a driving offense from the crash to file. However, that simply isn’t the case. A situation without adequate evidence for a criminal conviction could still have enough evidence to establish liability and negligence leading up to a fatal collision.

Depending on the circumstances of your situation, your family could potentially receive compensation for damages, including property damage, medical and funeral expenses, and even lost wages. In other situations, the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident may also have to pay punitive damages, intended as a punishment for an accident resulting from a willful act, omission or gross negligence on the part of the other driver.