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Texas Personal Injury News

Monday, May 1, 2017

Shipping Company Settles Several Wrongful Death Lawsuits Following Tragic Maritime Disaster

In October 2015, as hurricane Joaquin bore down on the Gulf Coast states, Puerto Rico-based cargo shipping company Totes Services made the doomed decision to send its El Faro vessel from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico – despite high winds and unsafe conditions in the seas. Tragically, 33 seamen lost their lives that fateful day when the ship lost all electric power and eventually succumbed to the depths of the ocean. The incident, deemed by the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board as one of the worst maritime disasters in recent U.S. history, led to not only a series of investigations by interested public and non-profit agencies, but nearly three dozen wrongful death lawsuits filed by surviving family members.

Surviving loved ones were located across the Southern United States, however many of the claims were handled by Houston-based counsel who, like us, are well-versed in the nuances of wrongful death and maritime litigation. As of April 2017, the last three of the wrongful death lawsuits settled for undisclosed amounts, and the grieving families may finally be able to accept closure in the wake of a likely avoidable tragedy.

When pursuing a claim under Texas wrongful death laws, the surviving family member must essentially prove a claim of negligence – which resulted in the death (as opposed to injury) of the victim. In essence, wrongful death laws are meant to hold defendants accountable for negligence even if the victim is no longer available to initiate the claim. Here, the defendants have not actually admitted to wrongdoing. However, parties are often prompted to settle in light of facts that may not impress a jury, such as sending a vessel on a voyage amidst a violent hurricane. By settling a case, a defendant can avoid a potentially staggering – and unpredictable – jury verdict in exchange for an agreed-upon amount.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today!

If you would like to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Houston, please contact our office today: 877-739-7744.

 


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