Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Says Some Wrongful Death Cases Settle Outright
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 29, 2012 – In instances where the plaintiff’s case is strong and the defendant knows it, often a settlement is reached before going to court.
“This case involved the sudden death of a 19-year-old college student. In the wee hours of the morning, the man was riding on an all-terrain vehicle with another student when it flipped over. The young man was fatally injured, and the driver was charged with driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter,” outlined Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
This case did make it to a criminal court the first time, and the jury acquitted the ATV driver. The deceased’s dad launched a civil federal lawsuit, a wrongful death suit, indicating the driver was drunk and speeding recklessly, causing the death of his son. Further details provided in the federal statement of claim intimated the ATV driver’s family had served both young men alcohol continuously over a period of several hours prior to the fatal wreck. “In fact, the ATV driver admitted to police at the scene that he had been drinking,” Schuelke pointed out.
The reason for the criminal trial acquitting the defendant involved the man invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. These two factors would not hamper a wrongful death lawsuit as the case would be heard in a civil court.
“As it turned out, the case did not go to court. It was settled before that for $2.7 million most likely because the details in the statement of claim and the admission of the ATV driver to police that he had been drinking continuously were strong indicators that a jury would find for the plaintiff,” remarked Schuelke.
Wrongful death lawsuits are those pursued in civil court, and they have a different standard of proof than required for a criminal case. In other words, the standard of proof for a wrongful death case is on a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.
“These types of lawsuits address the concept that in addition to harming the person who died, those who depended on the deceased for support, emotionally or financially, are injured as well. This is the reason for plaintiffs asking for compensation for the death of their loved one. They have sustained a grievous harm, and have not only lost their family member, but have lost their financial support, which are two devastating blows in one. Someone needs to be responsible for that loss,” Schuelke said.
A wrongful act may be a careless or negligent action such as driving while under the influence, a reckless act or an intentional act, like murder. Virtually every state has a wrongful death statute that allows the family of a victim to bring a lawsuit seeking compensation for the death of a loved one.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
- Don’t Let GEICO Or Other Insurance Companies Take Advantage Of You After A Car Wreck
Here are today’s two lessons from a court decision yesterday: (1) Take your time before settling your case. (2) Talk to a lawyer before settling a case. I often warn victims of car wrecks or other accidents to be aware of insurance companies’ “swoop and settle” tactics. In these situations, the insurance company (GEICO seems [...]
- A Lesson In Arbitration From A Weird College Basketball Story
College basketball coach Billy Gillispie is no stranger to the news. He’s been the coach at Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Texas Tech, among others. But this story is a little odd. Having been fired from his last two jobs, Gillispie finds himself the coach of Ranger College, a Texas junior college. In his first year, [...]
- Brain Injuries: New Study Finds Even One Concussion Can Have Lasting Effects
Many of us that deal with these injuries routinely have suspected it, but a new study confirms that even one concussion can have lasting effects. The study was based on extensive data on the health of people in Sweden. The researchers found 104,000 people who experienced head injuries between 1973 and 1985. The researches then [...]
See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: Austin accident attorney, Austin accident lawyer, Austin injury attorney, Austin injury lawyer, Austin personal injury, Austin personal injury attorney, Austin personal injury lawyer