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A.J.
A.J., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 4296
Experience:  Licensed to practice law, I gained experience in personal injury law working for the CTA
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If a child is killed by a driver and the driver does not receive

Customer Question

If a child is killed by a driver and the driver does not receive a ticket, can that person/company be sued to pay for funeral expenses?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  A.J. replied 1 year ago.
Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer. My name is Adam, I am a legal professional and I appreciate the opportunity to answer your question this afternoon.

First, I am terribly sorry to hear that your grandson was killed by a pickup driver, that is terrible, my thoughts and prayers are with your family. Now, from a legal perspective, the answer is possibly, the driver of a vehicle in such a situation could be held responsible for funeral expenses, among other damages, if the driver can be shown to have been negligent or at fault in causing the wrongful death of the child. Just because the driver did not get a ticket at the scene of the accident does not mean that there is no civil liability (or for that matter that a criminal charge could not be brought later if the evidence warranted one).

If the driver had insurance at the time of the death, filing a claim with the insurance company may resolve the issue (they may be willing to pay out on the accident and cover funeral expenses). However, if the insurance company balks, or if the insurance payment does not cover the damages suffered, the recourse then would be to file suit against both the driver and the insurance company for damages stemming from the driver's negligence.

Texas Statute establishes specific elements that need to be proven by a plaintiff (in a lawsuit) in order to recover damages (money for expenses) in a wrongful death suit. These elements are:

(1) the plaintiff is the surviving spouse, parent or child of the decedent;
(2) the defendant is a person or corporation;
(3) the defendant’s wrongful act caused injury to the decedent;
(4) the injury resulted in the death of the decedent;
(5) the decedent would have been entitled to bring an action for
the injury if he or shehad lived; and
(6) the plaintiff suffered actual injuries.
-
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §§71.001-71.004

One important thing to keep in mind is that the plaintiff has to be able to demonstrate fault on the part of the driver. While their having gotten a ticket certainly would have been evidence of fault, fault could be established any number of ways. If there were witnesses to the accident that could testify that the driver was driving erratically, was distracted, was driving too fast for the conditions, or anything else to try and establish that the driver was at least negligent in their operating the truck, and that negligence caused the death of the child. Just the fact that the driver did not get a ticket does not necessarily mean that a jury would not or could not award civil damages (including funeral costs as actual damages).

The first step in seeking damages is generally to sit down with a personal injury attorney in person, to walk through all of the facts of the situation in detail, which will allow the attorney to assess the strength and weaknesses of the case. If you do not know an attorney personally, the Texas State Bar Association has a referral service that can be reached by phone at:

(800) 252-9690

Or online at:

http://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=LRIS_Online_Referral_Form

I am terribly sorry for your family's loss, and I appreciate the opportunity to answer your question this afternoon. Let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns related to this question. If you do not, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

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Licensed to practice law, I gained experience in personal injury law working for the CTA