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Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Overcoming Legal Obstacles in Wrongful Death Claims

Overcoming Legal Obstacles in Wrongful Death Claims


On average, the economic losses in a wrongful death claim (administrative expenses, property damage, wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, and employers’ uninsured costs) add up to almost $2 million. When survivors receive compensation for these expenses, the money doesn’t fill the emotional void, but at least the money eases financial stress, which is what the decedent would have wanted.

Economic losses are just one component of the damages in a wrongful death case. Survivors also deserve compensation for intangible losses, such as lost future emotional support. Once again, this money doesn’t change what happened, but it does help survivors move forward with their lives.

Wrongful death survivors clearly need and deserve financial compensation. But insurance company lawyers don’t care about what’s right or fair. They just want to protect insurance company profit margins. A Sugar Land personal injury lawyer, on the other hand, is committed to the needs of victims and survivors.

Comparative Fault

Disasters like fatal car crashes and other fatal accidents almost always have multiple causes. However, they only have one substantial cause. A laundry list of factors contributed to 9/11. Al Qaeda terrorists substantially caused it.

If successful, the comparative fault defense basically elevates a contributing cause, like poor airport security or flimsy cockpit doors, to a substantial cause.

In the wrongful death context, insurance company lawyers argue that a victim’s contribution fault, like slight excessive speed, outweighed the tortfeasor’s intoxication and substantially caused a wreck.

Legally, comparative fault is a two-step defense. First, insurance company lawyers must convince a judge that flimsy cockpit doors, not the al Qaeda terrorists, substantially caused a wrongful death disaster.

Then, insurance company lawyers must make the same pitch to jurors, who must divide responsibility on a percentage basis, such as 60-40. The court then reduces the victim’s compensation based on his/her percentage of fault.

So, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer has two chances to stop the comparative fault defense. A good lawyer only needs one chance.

Assumption of the Risk

This subset of comparative fault often applies in slip-and-fall, swimming pool drowning, and other premises liability matters. A warning sign, like “Caution Wet Floor,” sets up this defense. However, the same basic two-step approach applies.

First, insurance company lawyers must conclusively prove the legal elements of assumption of the risk which are:

  • Voluntary assumption of
  • A known risk.

In practical terms, if the owner displayed a sign, the insurance company must prove the victim saw the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what the sign meant.

Then, the jury must apportion fault. Texas is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent threshold. So, if the victim was less than 49 percent responsible for the injury, the tortfeasor is liable for a proportionate share of damages.

Assumption of the risk’s elements are almost impossible to prove if the victim had poor vision or limited English skills. Furthermore, most jurors agree that owner negligence, not victim carelessness, substantially causes fatal premises liability injuries.

Reach Out to a Hard-Hitting Fort Bend County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.



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