• Experienced | Successful | Since 1971

Wrongful Death Attorney

Texas Family Sues Apple Following ‘Face Time’ Death
Texas Family Sues Apple Following ‘Face Time’ Death 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

A Texas family has initiated a lawsuit against the technology giant Apple following the death of their five-year old daughter as a result of a horrific motor vehicle crash. According to documents released so far, the family claims it was involved in the collision due to the fact the other driver was actively using the ‘Face Time’ app while driving in traffic. The plaintiffs claim that, but for the use of the app, the entire accident would have likely been avoided.

The incident occurred in the evening hours of Christmas Eve 2014, in an area near Dallas. According to reports, the victims were operating their vehicle when they came upon police activity and rolled to a stop. Behind them, a Toyota Rav4 continued operating full speed at 65 miles per hour, careening into the back of the victims’ vehicle and completely destroying its frame. Two adults and one other young child were treated for injuries in local area hospitals, while the victims’ young daughter succumbed to her injuries in a nearby children’s hospital.

In the plaintiff’s complaint, they allege that Apple had installed software in the iPhone that could automatically disable Face Time when traveling at highway speeds. However, the software was not set to automatically engage this feature. In other words, an iPhone user would need to manually set the feature, which did not occur in this case. The other driver has since been indicted on manslaughter charges, and is set to begin his trial in February, 2017.

This case presents an interesting take on the assignment of liability following a tragic motor vehicle accident. Negligence on the part of the driver is likely pretty clear – especially given the face he admitted to using the video chatting app immediately following the crash. However, in order to connect Apple to the victim in question, the plaintiffs will have to prove the causation element is met, and that Apple could have reasonably foreshadowed this type of accident could occur notwithstanding the default settings on the FaceTime app.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today!

If you were recently involved in a motor vehicle accident in Texas, please contact Chandler Mathis & Zivley today: 1-800-657-2230.

Texas Dram Shop Lawsuit after Drunk Stripper Kills Cop
Texas Dram Shop Lawsuit after Drunk Stripper Kills Cop 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Is a bar or tavern owner liable for a drunk driving death caused by one who drank there then drove?

He died while on duty when his patrol car was struck “nearly head on by a drunken driver” who had just left her shift as a stripper. The hero police officer reportedly “took the hit for another citizen who was coming behind him.”  He is survived by his reported common-law wife and their young son, who have commenced a wrongful death lawsuit against the stripper and the strip club owners. She is also seeking death benefits from worker’s compensation.

Texas dram shop lawsuits are cases against bar and tavern owners seeking to hold them liable for car accidents caused by negligent and drunk drivers who drank at their establishments and then injured or killed someone after leaving. Under dram shop laws, the establishment shares in the liability for the injuries or death caused by the drunk driver they served. The stripper was convicted of “intoxication manslaughter of a peace officer” and was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff has to prove a person’s death was caused by another person’s negligence and that surviving family members are suffering financially as a result of the victim’s death.

Wrongful death cases are complex and damages are determined on a case-by-case basis according to the decedent’s circumstances at the time of death. Compensatory damages may include the following:

  • loss of support
  • loss of services
  • loss of prospective inheritance
  • medical and funeral expenses
  • and even punitive damages in some cases.

In the case at hand, the police officer’s surviving common-law wife is reportedly facing a third legal battle to yet again prove her entitlement to receive death benefits from the police officers’ Worker’s Compensation fund after findings in her favor at an initial hearing and on appeal.

If you have questions regarding the tragic or unexpected loss of a loved one, whether through a drunk driving accident or another accident, the skilled attorneys at Chandler, Mathis, and Zivley can help you get the compensation to which you are entitled. While we can’t bring your loved one back, you shouldn’t have to suffer financial losses as well. Contact us today for a consultation.

From our offices in Lufkin and Houston, we’ve been serving Texans for over 40 years throughout the Lone Star State as well as those people injured while visiting Texas.


Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

A wrongful death claim arises when a loved one is killed due to the fault of another person or entity. If the victim would have a personal injury claim if he or she would have survived, then a loved one will likely have a wrongful death claim.

Loved ones can recover damages for the loss of a family member, including:

  • Pain and suffering that occurred before death
  • Lost future earnings
  • Funeral and/or burial expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Other family-related losses
  • Loss of inheritance

Only certain family members can assert wrongful death claims, however. You must meet specific qualifications to submit a claim.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Only the parents, children, or the spouse of a deceased individual can file a wrongful death claim. Children can assert a wrongful death claim regardless of whether they are over the age of majority (18 years of age). There is no particular order in which family members must file. That is, no hierarchy applies; a child could file even though there is a surviving spouse, for example. Family members can choose to assert a claim alone or jointly.

Adoptive children can also file claims if their adoptive parent passes away. Adopted parents also have similar rights. However, adopted children cannot file a wrongful death claim after their biological parent passes away.

Siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents cannot file wrongful death claims in Texas. This is true even when the victim leaves no surviving children, parents, or a spouse.

When Does the Estate File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If none of the above family members assert a claim within three months of the loved one’s death, then an executor of the decedent can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate. If that type of situation occurs, then any compensation obtained goes into the estate and will be distributed according to the victim’s will or the intestate laws of Texas. This type of claim is actually referred to as a “survival claim,” and it is slightly different from a wrongful death claim under Texas law.

Who Receives Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In most situations, any compensation that is recovered in a wrongful death claim will go to all of the surviving family members. A judge will often become involved to determine how the monetary benefits should be distributed. The division is also usually based on which family members who are the most affected by the loved one’s death.

For example, if the spouse depended a great deal on the family member for income, but parents did not, then the spouse is likely to take a larger portion of any compensation awarded. Your attorney will present the financial and personal losses suffered to show how much you need the compensation compared to other family members.

How Can I Get Help with a Wrongful Death Claim?

Deciding whether to assert a wrongful death claim either for yourself or on behalf of a loved one can be a difficult decision. You can get sound advice to make this tough choice from the attorneys at CMZLaw. Contact our team to request a consultation today.

Texting While Driving Law Change in Texas
Texting While Driving Law Change in Texas 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Will the new texting while driving law reduce accidents and personal injury claims?

Texas car accidents can be caused by a number of factors including driving while intoxicated, speeding, aggressive driving, weather conditions, mechanical defects, and more.

Car accidents caused by a driver’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions often leave seriously injured, disabled, or dead victims in their wake and are often the basis of a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death action.

Once liability is established, car accident victims may be entitled to compensatory damages including past and future medical bills for treatment or rehabilitation, past and future mental anguish and physical pain, Physical impairment or disfigurement, past and future loss of income and loss of earning capacity. If the victim dies from their injuries, their closest surviving family members may be entitled to damages as well through a wrongful death lawsuit, but who has standing to sue and the type of damages they can recover differs on a case-by-case basis so consulting a skilled personal injury attorney is advised.

Another common cause of motor vehicle accidents is distracted driving. And one of the biggest distractions is texting while driving.

In an effort to discourage texting while driving, new legislation went into effect on September 1, 2017. The new law, reportedly described by its own co-author as “something is better than nothing” has its share of loopholes.

According to the law, drivers are reportedly permitted to:

  • make and receive phone calls in accordance with local laws
  • use navigation applications
  • use music applications.

Reported ambiguities surround the unaddressed use of “internet browsers, search functions, gaming, or other phone applications, although “the use of messaging and communications applications like Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter appear to be prohibited”.

With respect to texting while driving, the new law offers reportedly some exemptions including:

  • texting during emergency situations (though it doesn’t define what constitutes an “emergency”)
  • workers texting the office so long as their phones are mounted
  • on-duty emergency vehicle operators are exempt
  • on-duty law enforcement vehicle operators are exempt
  • hands free texting is allowed.

These loophole defenses, coupled with the mandate that ticketing officers “must not only witness offenders using their phones, but identify that the activity is specifically texting” will make the new law difficult to enforce.

Of course, the safest way to avoid being distracted or being accused of causing a motor vehicle accident is to avoid cell phone distractions entirely.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, the lawyers at Chandler, Mathis, and Zivley, PC will investigate your case and take legal action to help you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. Contact our office for a free consultation.

From our offices in Houston and Lufkin, we’ve been serving clients throughout Texas as well as many other states for over 40 years.


Greek Life and Wrongful Death
Greek Life and Wrongful Death 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Who is liable when a fraternity or sorority member dies at the fraternity/sorority house?

The family of a Texas A&M University student who died as a result of an overdose recently filed suit against the Sigma Nu fraternity house.  In the wrongful death lawsuit, the family of the deceased student named the fraternity itself and several of its members as defendants.  Anton Gridnev was found dead inside the Sigma Nu chapter house.  Investigations revealed several drugs in his system.  Frat members allegedly failed to respond to Gridnev’s overdose in a timely manner, which Gridnev’s family feels lead to his death.

Overdoses at Fraternity and Sorority Houses

Sadly, Gridnev’s overdose while at his fraternity house is far from unusual.  Just three months after Gridnev’s death, another college student at Texas A&M similarly died as the result of an overdose of drugs or alcohol.  The student was a member of a different fraternity at A&M.  Authorities report that house members thought he was sleeping, only to find him dead later on.

These instances raise some important questions as to how much legal responsibility a fraternity or sorority should hold for the actions of its members.  Are other Greek life members expected to respond immediately to potential medical emergencies among members?  What if the fraternity or sorority house was supposed to be dry?  

Wrongful death cases involving overdoses among college students are complex and will often turn on the specific facts surrounding the incident.  Liability could arise in cases where the deceased college student’s family can show frat or sorority members pressured the student to consume drugs or alcohol that later resulted in death or failed to take action when a frat member was in obvious medical distress.

Hazing Related Deaths

Along with overdoses, college students involved in Greek life sometimes die as a result of hazing.  At least one pledge has died each year since 1969, and many years this figure is far higher.  In one recent incident, a young pledge out of Penn State died from internal trauma following a pledge event.  It is alleged that 18 older brothers of Beta Theta Pi forced the now deceased student to drink an excessive amount of alcohol.  Video footage showed them prodding the injured pledge and failing to call for medical help.  

While most campuses across the nation have called for an end to hazing, the illegal practice is still ongoing, mainly in fraternities.  Fraternities, frat members, and potentially even colleges may be held legally responsible for the death of a member if the family of the deceased pledge can prove hazing lead to his or her death.


Wrongful Death at Denny’s?
Wrongful Death at Denny’s? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Can a wrongful death lawsuit stem from a criminal activity?

Someone going to a Denny’s restaurant might order a slam from the menu. What they would not expect would be a fatal chokehold on the side. But that’s exactly what was reportedly served up to one man at the popular chain one night. And it wasn’t delivered by the staff.

The wrongful death attorneys for one Houston-area family are seeking damages in a civil action against a deputy-sheriff and her husband in connection with a chokehold incident that left a man dead.

Reportedly, the deputy’s husband—described as a trained mixed martial arts fighter– had an altercation with a young man who he claims allegedly urinated in public and then threw the first punch when confronted. The off-duty deputy reportedly arrived to join her family at the restaurant and then also became involved with her husband in restraining the victim who eventually became unresponsive and was rushed to the hospital. She reportedly called for assistance from the Sherriff’s office and EMTs. About a minute of the altercation was captured on video by witnesses.

An autopsy report indicated the man died from “anoxic encephalopathy due to strangulation with chest compression” after three days on life-support. Both the deputy-sheriff and her husband have been criminally charged with murder. In addition, some responding officers were reportedly officially reprimanded for their actions as well.

A wrongful death action is often brought by the close surviving relatives of a victim whose death was caused by the negligence, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity and has left behind relatives who are suffering emotionally and financially due to the victim’s death. In this case, the victim left a 4-year old daughter and her mother behind without his financial support.

In addition to a criminal action, wrongful death actions often arise from the following:

  • Automobile or other transportation accident
  • Exposure to toxic substances or hazardous conditions
  • Medical
  • malpracticeSupervised activity that results in death

Once liability is established, compensatory damages in a wrongful death action may include loss of support, loss of services, loss of prospective inheritance, medical and funeral expenses and punitive damages, depending upon the particular circumstances and the relationship between the victim and the family member. A skilled personal injury attorney can determine who has standing to sue as wrongful death cases are very complex.

If you are a loved one has been injured or loved one has been killed as the result of the actions of another, the attorneys at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, P.C. can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We can’t undo your suffering, but we can aggressively fight to obtain compensation to help relieve the financial burden of your loss. With offices in Houston and Lufkin, we serve clients throughout East Texas as well as many other states.

Years After Officer’s Death, Texas County Sues His Family for Medical Expenses
Years After Officer’s Death, Texas County Sues His Family for Medical Expenses 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Does the statute of limitations bar a county from trying to recover medical costs after waiting for five years?

In 2010, a Texas sheriff’s deputy responded to a call seeking assistance with a traffic stop of a possible stolen car. With flashing lights and siren on, he sped to the scene but, en route, had to swerve to avoid soundproofing that fell off a flatbed truck. Gravely injured, he died eight days later in the hospital.

The deputy’s father and son both sued the company that owned the flatbed truck and its driver. The deputy’s widow settled with the company separately, out of court.

Years later, Fort Bend County has sued the widow and her two children seeking recovery of $300,000 in medical costs it paid when the officer was hospitalized before his death.

The county says it “is entitled to the first monies paid by any third party,” notably the funds the trucking company to paid the victim’s family.

Attorneys for the victim’s family say that the county missed its chance to sue and is now barred by the statute of limitations, which, they say, expired two years after the accident. There were, say the attorneys, at least two previous opportunities for the county to try to recover the medical costs, but now, five years on, it is too late.

A local petition drive has expressed outrage that the county is seeking reimbursement from the late officer’s family and has called upon Fort Bend to drop the suit. The county insists it is duty-bound to try to recover taxpayers’ funds. The family of the victim, however, regards the lawsuit as “a sucker punch.” As of this writing, the case was still moving forward.

Surviving a personal tragedy emotionally is, sadly, often only part of the challenge. Often a pitched legal battle ensues over fair compensation for plaintiffs, with defendants launching unexpected defenses and counterattacks. If you have suffered from the carelessness or wrongdoing of others, it is important to have an expert personal injury law firm on your side to help you gain and keep the upper hand.

10 Things a Wrongful Death Attorney Wishes You Knew
10 Things a Wrongful Death Attorney Wishes You Knew 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

If a family member has suffered as a result of personal injury or wrongful death, bringing a cause of action is not necessarily about personal gain. The individuals or businesses deemed responsible for the wrongful death are often forced into action to prevent the deaths of others, even if they’ve settled out of court. 

Here are some things you should know about personal injury and wrongful death cases.

1) Medical malpractice suits aren’t always about financial gain

As many as 98 000 deaths are caused by avoidable mistakes in the USA every year, leaving patients at the mercy of an imperfect industry when they’re at their most vulnerable. Small practices receive dozens of cases annually in which patients are saddled with treatments that are inappropriate for their needs.

Mental health professionals claim that misdiagnosis not only occurs but prevails in psychiatry, but physicians are almost as likely to veer from standards of care. Financial compensation is imperative because patients are generally left with unnecessary, but steep, expenses at a time when they’re too ill to earn salaries. However, medical malpractice suits tend to kick up plenty of negative publicity, which often forces hospitals to reform. This gives future patients better odds of survival. This is wrongful death law at its most altruistic.

2) Criminal and civil cases are mutually exclusive

It’s possible to sue for wrongful death and lay a criminal charge. Civil and criminal law are entirely separate, so if a criminal charge doesn’t result in a successful conviction, you may still win a civil case and vice versa. To claim damages, the plaintiff must prove that:

  • the defendant was obliged to obey the law
  • the defendant didn’t obey the law
  • the defendant’s action caused the wrongful death
  • there was intent or negligence
  • a personal representative for the estate has been appointed

3) It’s not always about breaking the law

Businesses and individuals can be held liable when they’ve been imprudent. For example, medical practices that deviate from standards of care are considered to have behaved negligently. Negligence or imprudence applies to other industries, too. Toyota was forced to recall almost 10 million vehicles in 2010 after having taken too big a risk with its accelerator design. All 34 deaths attributed to the related crashes qualified for wrongful death suits.

4) Loss is a nuanced concept

Wrongful death damages are as multifaceted as they are complex. They aren’t limited to economic loss. In fact, non-economic damages often have a higher value than tangible losses. They can be claimed for

  • loss of love and companionship
  • loss of guidance and care
  • pain and suffering
  • loss of consortium; in this case, damages are awarded when a spouse loses intangible damages like earnings and comfort

Noneconomic damages have very few limits, which only makes the hiring of a highly skilled and experienced lawyer more important. A wrongful death attorney needs a profound understanding of his field and wide knowledge of tort. Punitive damages are recoverable in some states when bad conduct is especially severe. The many nuances involved in the calculation of damages means that expert witnesses play a core role in a case’s success.

5) Medical damages aren’t limited to the allopathic healthcare industry

Naturopaths and homeopaths can be sued for wrongful death when they’ve been negligent or misdiagnosed an illness. These are complex cases, so it’s important that family members protect themselves from being discredited. Anything that’s posted online is fair game in court, so social media sites and blogs should be shut down until the suit is resolved. Any online communication on a public forum is discoverable in wrongful death claims, even on networks that have watertight privacy settings.

6) It can’t wait

There is a statute of limitations on when you can file a wrongful death action. Under most state laws, two years is the maximum, but it’s imperative to contact an attorney as early as possible. Evidence needs to be gathered if the case is to hold water. To avoid the loss of witnesses and proof, hire an attorney straight away.

7) Insurance adjustors don’t always work for you

Insurers are in the business of maximizing their profits, which they achieve by spending as little as possible for maximum returns. They don’t necessarily act in their clients’ best interests because this doesn’t always award them the highest returns. An attorney works to ensure that you receive all you’re entitled to.

While insurers consider what a jury would award at a trial, their negotiations usually begin at the lowest settlement possible, which isn’t always the most reasonable settlement possible. To keep costs at a minimum, they often hire attorneys to fight on the side of the person responsible for the wrongful death.

8) Choose a specialist

If you needed brain surgery, you wouldn’t hire a general practitioner to do it. Attorneys are equally specialized, so while you’ll likely find a lawyer who will take on your case despite their area of expertise, it’s best to choose a specialist. The law is constantly evolving, and an attorney who last looked at tort in law school may not be up-to-date with the specific area of law he’s advising you in. Your lawyer should also have experience in trying cases in the applicable state, given that laws vary across the country. An ethical attorney will take your case only if they can handle it well, referring to other lawyers when he or she can’t serve you best.

A skilled wrongful death attorney will represent you aggressively, offering you personal attention and a willingness to take cases as far as they need to go to get what you’re entitled to. If successful, your case will not only account for your loss but may prevent others from suffering the same fate by pressuring the offending party into making preventative changes.






Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney After Losing a Loved One to a Chemical Plant Accident?
Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney After Losing a Loved One to a Chemical Plant Accident? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Texas is home to an incredible number of refineries and chemical plants. They dot the landscape in clusters all over the state, providing the jobs the workers need to support their families. In some communities, they are literally almost in the backyards of the residents.

We don’t have to look too far back into Texas history to find a catastrophic occurrence at one of these plants. It was only a little over two years ago that a powerful explosion occurred in West, Texas, at a fertilizer plant. The blast injured hundreds, killed 15 individuals and leveled scores of schools, homes and one nursing home.

Federal and corporate response to the disaster

After the fire and subsequent explosion at West Fertilizer Company, the president issued an Executive Order for the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and Homeland Security to devise more effective safety measures to implement at these types of plants. But the responsibility does not end with the federal government to safeguard the workers and those living among and in close proximity to the plants that are the lifeblood of the Texas economy.

The corporate owners of these plants bear the brunt of the responsibility to make sure that these facilities are run as safely as possible. In turn, they must task the operations managers, safety men and supervisors to galvanize their crews to keep safety first and foremost to avert future disasters.

After the explosion at the fertilizer plant, researchers from Greenpeace located 473 plants around the country that could potentially jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of not only their workers, but others living and working in the vicinity. Even scarier, of that total, 89 facilities posed a risk for more than a million residents who lived as far as 25 miles away, but were downwind of the plants. Most frightening of all, Greenpeace estimated that one of every third person in the United States had a risk of harm from toxic chemical releases from plants.

Where the risk arises

Disasters can begin in myriad ways. Fires are sparked by something as fearsome as a lightning strike or as mundane as a worker’s forbidden cigarette. Improperly stored, mixed or maintained dangerous chemicals can result in explosions of toxic gases that can travel miles, sickening all who breathe in the airborne poisons. A poorly trained employee handling highly volatile substances can pose an enormous safety hazard and liability for a company.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has standards for the way these toxic materials must be handled in the plants. They include:

  • Storing hazardous chemicals in a designated area a minimum of 100 feet from surface waters.
  • Storing chemicals downwind of any homes in the vicinity and on a planed area that does not flood.
  • Never stacking chemical containers or storing them above eye level.
  • Keeping chemicals out of direct sunlight.
  • Elevating chemical storage containers off of the ground. 

Workers, residents all share considerable risk

If you or a loved one work in one of these plants, you already know there are many dangers that can erupt in a moment’s notice if the proper safety procedures are not followed. Workers injured on the job have the Worker’s Compensation system to fall back on after a mishap occurs. Depending on the severity of the injuries and the treatment that is rendered, the settlement from Worker’s Comp may be sufficient. In many cases, however, injured workers and the family members who rely on them may be forced to seek additional compensation through the Texas civil courts.

But those who are in harm’s way during a fire, explosion or toxic gas release due to the close proximity of their homes, schools and communities don’t have the Worker’s Compensation to turn to. Instead, they are dependent on the corporate owners of the hazardous plant to make it right for them with a settlement offer.

As was observed following the Deepwater Horizon Macondo blowout and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, parent company BP and their co-defendants faced criticism for denying damage claims and underpaying claimants even when lives and livelihoods were at risk and, in many cases, still disrupted.

Wrongful death suits force accountability

There is no question that there can be no dollar sum sufficient to replace the loss of a spouse, sibling or child to grieving families after an industrial accident occurs. There will still be that empty side of the bed, missing chair at family dinners, a little less laughter and joy in the room. When a senseless death occurs as a result of negligent acts or a series of safety protocols left undone, there is no way to undo what was done.

What we at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley can do is hold these corporate entities liable for the economic damages, pain, suffering and losses by taking civil action against them in the Texas courts. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties, we fight for settlements and judgments for our bereft clients. It won’t bring their loved ones back, but it can give them a financial cushion that can make life a little easier, especially if it was the breadwinner who was killed.

But there is actually another reason to hire a wrongful death attorney to go after chemical plants and refineries who bear responsibility for these deaths. By making defendants ante up a financial settlement when their lack of oversight causes an explosion or toxic release, it incentivizes these plants to keep a tight rein on safety procedures and policies. Forcing them to accept economic responsibility for their actions encourages a climate of safety to prevail in these plants. This, in turn, increases workers’ safety and the safety of those who live and work around the plants.

Reaching out for help can be hard

Grief can be paralyzing, making it difficult to take the necessary actions to initiate a wrongful death suit after a catastrophic accident occurs. However, due to statutory limitations for filing wrongful death claims, inaction can be a costly mistake to make. 

When you reach out to our wrongful death attorneys, we know exactly what to do and the time frame in which we need to do it. You can put your trust in our experienced and capable legal team. We will take it from here. We will file your claim, launch our own fact-finding mission, retain experts that can demonstrate exactly the way the safety protocols failed and cost your loved one his or her life. We will always treat you and the memory of your beloved family member with the utmost compassion and respect.

Don’t wait until it is too late to seek a legal remedy against a chemical plant or refinery for its safety breaches. Call us today for a confidential case evaluation. We are here for you.





Who is to Blame for Inmate’s Suicide after Questionable Traffic Stop?
Who is to Blame for Inmate’s Suicide after Questionable Traffic Stop? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston


Can I file a claim for damages as a result of my loved one’s death while in police custody or prison?

The current state of heightened tension and violence between members of the public and police officers across America has brought an increased level of stress to both parties involved in a routine traffic stop. Dash-cam footage and amateur videos shared on social media and news outlets bring police officers’ often split-second decisions into question and invite debate on issues including overreaching, profiling, and appropriateness of the use of force.

When a traffic stop goes awry, injuries or death to the public (or the police officer) may result immediately or subsequent to the arrest. What is considered justifiable cause for a traffic stop and proper use of force or restraint during one?  What is the proper standard of care and supervision of prisoners during their incarceration?

These questions are raised in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the mother of a woman whose traffic stop in July, 2015, for failing to signal a lane change led to her incarceration and apparent suicide by hanging in her Waller County Jail cell three days after her traffic stop.

The mother alleges that the public safety officer, who ordered the woman out of the car and claimed she was combative, overreached his authority during the questionable traffic stop and arrest. Further, she claims her daughter died as a result of negligence by jail personnel. Much of the arrest was caught on the dash-cam video. The public safety officer is also charged with misdemeanor perjury. Recently, this case was remanded to a mediator for settlement discussion.

Wrongful death claims may arise when one person is liable for the death of another and are usually brought by surviving relatives of the deceased in a civil action. While this doesn’t bring the loved one back, it allows the victim’s family compensation for their losses, which may include financial support, medical or funeral expenses, and loss of consortium. Because of the complex and deeply emotional nature of wrongful death cases, it is essential for family members to engage the services of compassionate experts in this field of law.

Chandler, Mathis & Zivley has offices in Houston and Lufkin, Texas and serves clients throughout Texas as well as many other states. With over 40 years of experience, we’ll fight to get you restitution after the terrible trauma of losing a loved one to wrongful death. If you have questions as to the circumstances that led to a tragic or unexpected loss of a loved one, contact us online or call us in our Lufkin office at 800-657-2230 or our Houston office at 877-739-7744.

Practice Areas of Attorney Houston Tx Legal Practice Areas $27.8 Million Victories Liquid Natural Gas Storage Victories