An accident in a church parking lot last year left the wife of a Texas Commissioner dead. The commissioner and his two sons are now filing a wrongful death suit against the driver and owner of the van that caused the accident.

The accident occurred when a 15-passenger van carrying people from a nearby treatment center drove into the church parking lot, hitting multiple vehicles before hitting the wife. The wife was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The $26 million lawsuit alleges that both the treatment center and the driver of the van behaved negligently. The treatment center negligently gave the van to the driver and the driver was negligent when she failed to control the van.

A grand jury did not take any action after reviewing the case in December. After not receiving compensation for anything beyond the repairs of his truck from insurers, the commissioner had no choice but to sue. The commissioner is seeking six million dollars for losing his wife, one million for having to witness the accident, three million for his wife’s suffering and injuries and three million for each of her sons. He is also seeking $10 million in punitive damages.

Punitive damages are typically used in cases where the defendant behaves maliciously to deter others from behaving the same way. Most states do not allow the recovery of punitive damages in wrongful death cases. Pecuniary or financial injury will determine damages. These injuries include loss of support, medical expenses and funeral expenses. Wrongful death suits are very beneficial to families suffering from the loss of their loved one.

Source: My San Antonio, “Kerr commissioner files wrongful death suit,” Zeke MacCormack, Feb. 12, 2013