McAllen Wrongful Death Lawyers

McAllen Wrongful Death Attorneys

Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging moments of anyone’s life. Whether you have experienced the loss of a family member or a close friend, losing a person who played an important role in your life is devastating. When that person is lost through the negligence of someone else, it can prove especially difficult.

Knowing your loved one did not have to die adds a level of anger to the grieving process. Because someone else acted negligently, carelessly, or recklessly, your loved one has paid the ultimate price. The last thing decedents’ families may think about is filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. However, surviving family members may face a substantial financial burden after their loved one’s death.

If you’ve lost a loved one, this is not a burden you should take on, as it’s the responsibility of the at-fault party. To help you hold this person accountable and collect maximum compensation for the loss of your loved one, speak with our experienced McAllen wrongful death lawyers at Patino Law Firm today.

Patino Law Firm’s Unique Legal Perspectives

At Patino Law Firm, Dr. Louis Patino provides clients with personalized service and skilled representation. As both a medical and legal professional, Dr. Patino can give your wrongful death claim unique insight and help guide you through the complex legal process.

Combining this experience with years of helping wrongful death claimants like you, Dr. Patino is the aggressive legal advocate you need. During this challenging time in your life, your sole purpose should be grieving the loss of your loved one. 

When you work with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in McAllen, you can have peace of mind that your legal claim is being handled competently and with your best interests at heart. Your ability to recover compensation for the death of your loved one will depend largely on the legal advisor you choose. You deserve to have a lawyer at your side with experience taking on big insurance companies and who understands what you are going through. You don’t want your wrongful death attorney to treat you like just another number; instead, you need compassionate, legal representation.

Hire Top Wrongful Death Attorneys to Take On Your Case

How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help

At Patino Law Firm, we know legal action may be far from your mind when you’re mourning the loss of a loved one. But our compassionate wrongful death attorneys can handle every aspect of your case while you focus on your family and friends. So you can rest assured that our dedicated legal team is doing everything it can to secure the compensation you deserve via a wrongful death lawsuit. We have experience representing clients in wrongful death cases, including:

The pain of losing a loved one will not go away, no matter what caused the untimely death. If your loved one dies because of a criminal act, like a burglary or robbery, the state may charge the person who committed the crime, but the criminal legal action will not help you recover from your loss.

A criminal legal action may provide you with limited compensation in the form of restitution, but it will not offer you the full amount of compensation you may need to pay your loved one’s final expenses. The only way to try to collect the full amount from the at-fault party is to bring a wrongful death lawsuit or claim with the help of a trusted McAllen wrongful death attorney.

Steps to Take after a Loved One Dies in McAllen

Following the death of a loved one, you face grief and have a lot to do, as there’s a seemingly endless number of matters you have to take care of and resolve. Surviving family members may not think about filing a wrongful death claim, but if the loved one died because of someone else’s negligence, you might qualify for compensation. Taking some steps now can make your wrongful death claim more likely to succeed.

Consider taking the following steps:

  • Collect evidence. When you bring a wrongful death claim, the burden falls on you to prove the at-fault party caused your loved one’s death, so gathering evidence now can help your case. Keep track of any police reports or medical records related to your loved one’s accident. If you don’t have these documents, make sure you get copies of them as quickly as possible. If you have video camera footage or photographs of the accident scene, make sure you keep them safe. Don’t throw out any contact information for witnesses either. Your legal representative will want to speak with as many witnesses as possible, as they can often provide a unique insight into the seconds leading up to the accident that caused your loved one’s death.
  • Document expenses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one, they may have spent time in the hospital or received emergency medical care before death. You may have paid these costs out of your own pocket. You may have paid for the funeral too, which is often extremely expensive.  Make sure you keep documentation of these expenses, as you can seek reimbursement from the at-fault party. If your loved one was also the breadwinner for the family, you might qualify to seek additional compensation for the loss of the financial support your loved one provided to you.
  • Keep a journal. Small details can play a part in your ability to recover maximum compensation for your loss, so write down everything you can remember about the last days of your loved one’s life, including their suffering. Also, document your life: how you have suffered since the loss of your loved one, and how the death has affected your mental state and your financial wellbeing.
  • Contact a wrongful death lawyer. Wrongful death claims are complex legal proceedings that often require the advice of medical experts. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney, you can make certain that your wrongful death claim will move forward. We know that no amount of money can bring your loved one back or undo the suffering you have felt during this time. But making sure that your financial needs are covered will make a vast difference in your ability to grieve and remember your loved one fondly.

Damages You May Collect in a Wrongful Death Case in McAllen

Under Texas law, you may qualify to collect damages for the death of your loved one. They may include:

  • Final medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Lost inheritance
  • Lost wages
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost care, support, and guidance
  • Loss of companionship

A seasoned McAllen wrongful death lawyer can also help you recover compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering before death. These funds, if collected, will go into the estate, not directly to you. However, it’s still important to explore this option for additional compensation to ensure you hold the person who caused your loved one’s death accountable.

Holding Someone Liable for a Wrongful Death in McAllen

To collect compensation for the loss of your loved one, you must determine who is liable for the death. You do this by filing a wrongful death claim. It might sound like a simple process, especially if you know that someone else’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. From a legal perspective, however, you must prove certain elements to collect compensation.

These elements include:

  • Proving the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care.
  • Proving the at-fault party breached the duty of care by acting in an unsafe manner.
  • Proving that the negligence of the at-fault party caused your loved one’s accident.
  • Proving that the accident caused your loved one’s death.

To prove each of these elements, your legal representative will need to investigate the accident that caused your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, your wrongful death lawyer in McAllen will need to investigate the accident, speak with witnesses, review police and medical records, and speak with medical experts to determine the cause of their death.

This is not a simple process. You should not trust this vital responsibility to just any lawyer. You need a wrongful death attorney who has experience helping wrongful death claimants like you. Your ability to recover compensation for the death of your loved one may depend on the legal representation you choose.

File Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit in McAllen

Texas law also provides a specific (and somewhat narrow) window of time for someone to file a wrongful death claim. It’s just two years from the date of death. That might seem like a long time, but in reality, with everything you’re coping with, it will go by extremely quickly. 

While you focus on your recovery, your McAllen wrongful death lawyer can work hard to try to maximize your compensation, but it’s important not to delay. If you miss this important deadline, courts will likely prohibit you from filing a wrongful death claim, and you will miss your opportunity to recover compensation from the at-fault party.

If you wait too long, evidence may also go missing, witnesses may forget what they saw, and medical or police records may no longer exist. By speaking with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible, you can spend your time with your family while your lawyer advocates on your behalf.

McAllen Wrongful Death FAQs

When someone else’s poor decisions lead to the death of someone you care about, it can leave you feeling lost and wondering what to do next. That’s where an expert McAllen wrongful death lawyer can help. You can lean on your legal advisor, trusting their guidance and direction. We know you likely have many questions, and we can answer some below. To get more detailed information about how to best proceed with your specific wrongful death claim, speak with a wrongful death attorney in McAllen today.

What is a wrongful death action?

Wrongful death is caused by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. For example, if someone goes out for a night of drinking, gets behind the wheel, and causes a fatal accident, the driver is liable for the victim’s death. In this case, because the driver decided to drive after drinking, they failed to act in a manner that would keep other people safe and are thus liable for the consequences.

A death caused by someone failing to take appropriate action also constitutes a wrongful death. This can happen with medical professionals. If a doctor fails to treat a patient properly, who then dies, the doctor may face liability for the victim’s death.

A wrongful death action is a legal process that follows a wrongful death. Eligible parties file the claim to reimburse expenses they may have paid related to their loved one’s death and to compensate family members for their loss. To give yourself the best chance of holding the negligent party liable for your loved one’s untimely death, you should retain a skilled McAllen wrongful death lawyer.

Who are the defendants in wrongful death cases?

Nearly anyone can face liability for wrongful death.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death, you may bring a wrongful death claim against one or more of the following parties:

  • A doctor or other medical professional.
  • A driver.
  • A criminal.
  • A security guard.
  • The owner of an animal.

In many cases, a victim’s death is caused during criminal activity, such as a robbery or mugging. When this happens, the prosecutor may file criminal charges against the alleged criminal. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the criminal procedure will not provide you or your family with any compensation. The only way to try to collect compensation for your loss is by pursuing a wrongful death action. You should consider working with a respected McAllen wrongful death attorney who can help guide you through the complex legal process.

Are McAllen wrongful death damages taxable?

It depends on how surviving family members receive their wrongful death damages. If damages are provided directly to the family members, the IRS makes it clear they are not taxable. Such damages are treated just like compensation stemming from a personal injury claim.

But some damages may go to the estate of loved ones before being distributed to eligible family members. In this instance, and if the amount of damages is high enough, or your loved one died with substantial assets, the amount of damages might push your loved one’s estate above the estate tax threshold. If this happens, the damages are taxable, reducing the amount of inheritance that family members will receive.

Who may bring a McAllen wrongful death claim?

Even if you feel great sorrow at losing a loved one, Texas law provides that only certain individuals can initiate a wrongful death claim. They are: 

  • A surviving spouse
  • Children (both biological and legally adopted)
  • Parents

You notice that siblings are not listed here. Texas law provides few options for individuals to bring a wrongful death claim, and siblings are not eligible. Only those listed above may initiate a wrongful death claim. Working with a wrongful death lawyer in McAllen can help move a claim forward.

How are McAllen wrongful death settlements paid out?

In most cases, insurance companies pay wrongful death settlements out in lump sums. This approach helps you to move on from the legal process quickly. 

In some cases, wrongful death survivors want to have a structured settlement, much like an annuity. In this instance, the payout happens over a set time, and the company pays it on a monthly or annual basis. You should consult with your wrongful death attorney about which option is best for you.

Should I accept the initial settlement offer for my McAllen wrongful death claim?

Settlements are a great way to put legal stress behind you while also providing you with the compensation needed to cover the expense of your loved one’s death. But you do need to remain careful when considering an initial settlement offer, especially if you haven’t yet spoken with a wrongful death lawyer.

Soon after your loved one’s death, the at-fault party’s insurance company may contact you with a quick settlement offer. You will likely want to put all this behind you, so you may feel excitement at the prospect of taking a settlement and moving on. Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests, however. When they offer a quick settlement amount and pressure you to take it, it’s because they know that your acceptance is the best option for their bottom lines. Insurance companies want to keep as much money in their pockets and out of yours.

One way of doing this is by pushing a settlement offer on you. If you do not have a wrongful death attorney to look over a settlement offer, you need to speak with one immediately. If you take the settlement offer without having a lawyer review it, you may waive your right to bring any future claim against the insurance company for your loved one’s death. That could mean that you end up paying out of your own pocket for your loved one’s funeral expenses and shouldering the burden of the financial loss your family takes because you don’t have your loved one’s income to rely on any longer.

Your McAllen wrongful death lawyer will take all of this into consideration when helping you with your claim. Together with your legal advisor, you can create an accurate estimate of your family’s future financial needs. This may include a calculation made by an actuary about how much more money your loved one would have made and could have contributed to your family’s financial wellbeing.

Taking this important step towards understanding the full financial impact of your loss is crucial to settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will serve as your legal advocate, taking on the big insurance companies and aggressively working to maximize your compensation. This is what you and your loved one deserve.

How long do McAllen wrongful death cases take to resolve?

As is the case with many legal questions, the answer here is that the specific circumstances of your accident will determine how long your case takes. A resolution for your wrongful death claim may take just a few months; other times, it may take years. Depending on the complexity of your case and the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one, the time frame it takes to end your case may vary widely.

Even if the cause of the accident that caused your loved one’s death is clear, the at-fault party may have had little insurance coverage that doesn’t cover the final medical bills of your loved one’s care. Insurance companies rarely pay out the full value of a claim without a fight.  So even if the at-fault party has adequate insurance coverage, your lawyer may still need to advocate on your behalf and aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to help you maximize your compensation.

In some cases, a dispute may arise regarding who caused your loved one’s death. In that instance, you may have to litigate your wrongful death case to prove who was at fault. This is why, when choosing a lawyer, you want a McAllen wrongful death lawyer with trial experience. Not every lawyer or law firm has experience handling complex wrongful death lawsuits, and you don’t want to be the lawyer’s first.

These factors, along with many others, determine how long your wrongful death case will take. In every instance, you need a wrongful death attorney who is not afraid to stand up to the big insurance companies and who will work hard to help you get maximum compensation.

How do I choose a McAllen wrongful death lawyer?

Choosing a wrongful death lawyer is a personal decision. There are many lawyers to choose from in McAllen. Understanding what separates one attorney from the next can help you make this important decision.

When selecting a lawyer, make sure they have experience handling wrongful death claims. Bringing a wrongful death claim is not only an emotional process but also a time-consuming one. You need to make sure your attorney is skilled in this area of the law and that they can properly guide your case through this process.

Because of the nature of this type of case, you also deserve a compassionate wrongful death attorney. This is not some ordinary personal injury case — instead, you have lost a dear loved one. Working with a wrongful death lawyer who understands the pain you feel and what you are going through is an important part of your decision process. You need to feel comfortable speaking with your attorney. You also need to feel confident in their ability to help you. When you retain a lawyer, you place a great deal of trust in them to help guide you during one of the most challenging times in your life. You deserve someone who understands your emotions and also your goals.

You also need a wrongful death attorney who will not charge you upfront for their services. Most wrongful death lawyers work on contingency. This means you don’t pay your lawyer a dime unless you successfully recover compensation. You will work with your lawyer to determine a final fee based on a percentage of the monetary recovery. The law firm will likely also pay filing fees and other costs upfront. You are going through enough right now in your life; you do not need to worry about taking on additional legal bills.

How can your McAllen wrongful death lawyers help me?

If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions, you deserve to have a respected McAllen wrongful death lawyer at your side. Your lawyer can investigate your loved one’s death, meet with medical experts to determine an exact cause, review police and medical records, negotiate with insurance companies, and defend your rights at trial if that’s what’s required to maximize your recovery.

You want to retain a lawyer who will handle your case with compassion and understanding. Your lawyer can help you navigate the complex waters of the wrongful death claims process and attempt to collect the compensation you need to cover the expenses and financial hardships that you face.

If your loved one has met an untimely death because of someone else’s negligence, reach out to Patino Law Firm and speak with a trusted McAllen wrongful death lawyer.

Contact Our McAllen Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

For a free case evaluation with one of our compassionate McAllen wrongful death lawyers, call us today at (956) 255-0023 or send us a confidential message through our contact page. We’ll do our best to help you and your family through this difficult time.

Review: 5/5
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Highly recommend this law firm! Mr Patino is very professional, he keeps you informed, listens to your concerns and works hard to get you the best possible outcome on your case in the least amount of time possible.

-Margarita T.

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Patino Law Firm
1802 N 10th St
McAllen, TX 78501

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