A wrongful death claim occurs when a person seeks financial compensation for the death of a loved one that was caused by negligence, neglect, carelessness, wrongful act, omission, or default of another.
A wrongful death could occur as a result of a variety of situations, including:
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful prescription
- Neglect or abuse on the part of a nursing home or daycare center
- Death during a supervised activity (such as a sports tournament or field trip)
- Car, truck, motorcycle, bus, train, boat, or airplane accident
- Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
- Defective product
- Workplace accidents
- The collapse of a building, roof, stairway, or bridge
The decedent’s immediate family members are most likely entitled to monetary compensation when there is a wrongful death. Financial compensation is the main way (and really one of the only ways) to help a family after there is a wrongful death.
Financial compensation can include coverage of:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of support
- Lost prospect of inheritance
- Past Medical expenses
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Loss of future income
- Past pain and suffering (of the victim until the time of death)
Damages also typically include interest from the date of the death.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing to punish the wrong-doer and/or deter others from behaving similarly.
Any damages awarded belong to the estate and pass as directed by the decedent’s will or by state law if such things are not specified in the will.
If a loved one has died after an accident or injury caused by the negligence or misconduct, you should retain an experienced wrongful death attorney right away. There are time limitations in filing your wrongful death lawsuit, as well as other legal implications.
Contact my firm to obtain legal advice and counsel. As your wrongful death lawyer, I will only receive a fee if we recover a settlement or jury verdict for you. In other words, you don’t pay any legal fees unless I make a financial recovery for you!
Learn More About Wrongful Death Claims
In Texas, wrongful death claims are typically filed by the surviving spouse, the children, and/or the parents of the decedent—but there can be exceptions. Here is a complete list of those who could have legal rights to file a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children (adult or minor)
- Surviving parents
- Surviving legally adopted children
- Surviving adoptive parents
- Personal representative of the estate of the deceased
Generally, the answer is no. In Texas, the surviving siblings cannot file a wrongful death claim.
The type of damages recoverable in a wrongful death claim varies from case to case. Damages can include financial and putative recovery. Such damages that fall within this include mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, lost inheritance, loss of care and support, past pain and suffering of the decedent, past medical expenses of the decedent, and/or loss of companionship.
In Texas, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death is two years. That means the surviving family members are required to file their lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death. There are a few exceptions that apply to this rule.
If a wrongful death leaves behind several surviving family members, Texas sees each individual as a separate claimant. The court will combine all claims into one lawsuit for processing but will award compensation individually. This amount will be based on the severity of their loss, pain, and suffering. Texas probate law may come into play with these wrongful death claims, and our firm is well connected to an experienced probate attorney, if necessary.
Lawyers do not have a crystal ball. A majority of legitimate wrongful death cases get settled without having to seek a judge or jury verdict, but so many factors come into play. Each case is unique and your case will be discussed at length with the attorney. Depending upon the facts and circumstances, your wrongful death case may or may not have to reach an actual trial. Most wrongful death cases do get filed in the court system, and discovery is conducted to make sure all information is gathered so that a proper evaluation is done. The court will most likely order the parties to mediation before trial to see if the claim can be resolved without having to wait for a jury trial opening.
There is no way to determine an exact time frame to resolve a wrongful death claim. Each wrongful death case is unique, and your case will be discussed at length with the attorney.
Depending upon the facts and circumstances, your wrongful death case may take 6 months or it could take up to 2+ years for a resolution. I have seen cases take up to 3 years in some circumstances.
Most wrongful death cases do get filed in the court system, and discovery is conducted to make sure all information is gathered so that a proper evaluation is done. The court will most likely order the parties to a mediation before trial to see if the claim can be resolved without having to wait for a jury trial opening. It is important to be patient when working on a wrongful death claim.
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If you are injured and believe you have been a victim of someone else’s negligence, call me at 281-929-0110 for a free initial consultation. Or if it is an emergency, please feel free to text me at 832-797-7600.
*As your personal injury lawyer, I will only receive a fee if we recover a settlement or jury verdict for you. In other words, you don’t pay any legal fees unless I make a financial recovery for you!
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