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Provost Umphrey Law Firm LLP

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The oil boom has brought an increase in fatal accidents to Texas

The Texas Wrongful Death Act allows eligible parties to recover for the loss of a loved one due to negligence.

As oil prices remain relatively high, many parts of Texas continue to boom. One such area is the Eagle Ford Shale, a multi-county oil production and exploration hotspot that runs throughout southern Texas. Oil exploration and production in this area has brought well-paying employment to many people. However, this prosperity has come with a downside.

As oil companies are under pressure to get the oil to market as quickly as possible, many put worker safety on the back burner. As a result, the number of workplace accidents has increased in the region. Additionally, more and more trucks have been needed in the area to transport oil to refineries and service the oilfields. Because of the glut of trucks on the road, the number of truck accidents has significantly increased in the region.

When these types of accidents happen, the lucky ones walk away with minor injuries. However due to the dangerous nature of oil drilling and the size and weight of trucks, these accidents are often fatal. If you have lost a loved one in such an accident, you may find that you are left with bills and the loss of an income that you depended on. You may wonder if you have any legal recourse. Fortunately, many in this situation can defray their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death in Texas

A wrongful death occurs when someone is killed because of the negligence, neglect or carelessness of another person or company. Unfortunately, this includes many fatal accidents in the oilfields and on the roads. In Texas, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is controlled by the Texas Wrongful Death Act. Under the act, three elements must be present to file a lawsuit:

  • The deceased person must have died because of the default, carelessness, negligence or neglect of a person or company;
  • The person wishing to file the lawsuit must be the deceased's parent, child or spouse; and
  • The decedent would have been able to sue the responsible party to recover damages, had he or she survived the fatal event.

The decedent would have been able to sue the responsible party to recover damages, had he or she survived the fatal event.

Under the act, those eligible to file a lawsuit are entitled to recover a variety of damages such as medical and funeral expenses, loss of income and loss of the decedent's love and support. Additionally, punitive damages are available if there is evidence that the responsible party's conduct was intentional, reckless or malicious.

Speak with an attorney

Wrongful death lawsuits can involve complicated issues of proof. As a result, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a fatal accident. An attorney can look into the cause of the accident, discover if there is evidence of negligence and advise you further on your right to recover damages under the law.

Keywords: wrongful death, workplace accidents, truck accidents