Texas Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing a loved one is always a horrible event, but such a loss can feel even more tragic when you lose somebody to an avoidable car accident or other reckless act. If you lost a loved family member to an accident or other negligent act, you may have the right to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. You should contact experienced Texas wrongful death lawyers to learn more.
Wrongful death is a negligent act that results in death due to the careless actions, or inaction, by an individual or business. Wrongful deaths may arise from a car accident, improper medical care, or a defective product use. Pursuing a wrongful death claim under Texas law requires proving that the at-fault party acted negligently and caused the death of your loved one. If you lost a family member to the carelessness of another, you should contact Texas personal injury lawyers right away.
Who can sue for a wrongful death under Texas personal injury law?
Many family members may suffer the emotional effects of losing a loved one to a wrongful death; however, Texas personal injury law limits who can pursue and file a lawsuit for wrongful death. In Texas, a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal representative of the estate may also file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Texas personal injury law, other family members may not file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes siblings, cousins and other extended family.
Texas personal injury law for wrongful death lawsuits also creates a timeline for when family members can sue. Spouses, children and parents must file their wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the deceased’s passing. After three months, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought by the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative of the estate is an executor or administrator of the will or intestate estate (an estate without a will). The personal representative generally must file the estate’s lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs two years after the deceased’s passing.
Causes of wrongful death in Texas
In Texas a wrongful death lawsuit can arise from any type of negligence case that might have resulted in non-fatal injuries. These personal injury accidents include:
- Car accidents
- 18 wheeler trucking crashes
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents or premises liability
- Workplace injuries
- Airplane accidents
- Maritime or oilfield accidents
- Dangerous and defective product cases
- Medical malpractice
Proving negligence in a Texas wrongful death claim
Most wrongful death lawsuits in Texas involve negligence, which means the responsible party failed to act with a duty of reasonable care towards other people. Negligence claims under Texas personal injury law include four elements:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
- Harm or damages
In typical negligence claim, your wrongful death lawyer will prove that there was a duty of care on the responsible party towards other people. The responsible party breached that duty by acting carelessly or recklessly. That breach of duty caused harm, or in this case caused the death of the deceased. In wrongful death cases it is often necessary to rely upon experts to testify about the duty of care and how the breach caused the wrongful death. These claims are made more difficult by the inability of the deceased to testify about what he or she witnessed. Additional investigation is often necessary to uncover additional evidence or witnesses who can explain some of the facts. Your wrongful death attorney will carry out this investigation to present the strongest case possible in court.
What kind of compensation can my wrongful death lawyer help me get in Texas?
Texas personal injury law defines the types of compensation you and your family can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit. A settlement or verdict in your favor may consider several types of compensation including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost earnings and employment benefits
- Medical bills resulting from the accident
- Mental and emotional anguish of family members
There is no specific formula to calculate the amount of compensation you can get from a wrongful death case in Texas. Some components, like lost earnings, depend upon formulas for life expectancy. Others, such as mental and emotional anguish, cannot be reduced to a formula. If your accidental death case goes to trial, the jury will decide the amount of compensation based on the evidence presented.
Wrongful death cases in Texas can also ask the jury to award punitive damages, also called exemplary damages. A jury can award punitive damages if it decides the responsible party acted in a grossly negligent manner. Grossly negligent means the responsible party was not just careless, but acted with indifference towards the safety and well-being of others.
Contact Texas wrongful death lawyers to discuss your case
Losing a loved one in an accidental death is a tragic and crushing loss. Texas law allows you to seek compensation for your deceased family member through a wrongful death lawsuit. If you lost a loved one due to an accidental death, talk to Texas wrongful death lawyers right away. Your time to act is limited and your lawyer will need time to investigate and prepare your case. The sooner you talk to a wrongful death lawyer the sooner the law firm can start working on your case.