Unexpectedly losing a loved one is devastating. This time can be particularly emotional if the death was caused by another person’s negligence. While nothing you can do can bring your loved one back, you may be entitled to financial compensation under the law.
What Legal Claims Can You Bring If Someone Loses Their Life Because of Negligence in Texas?
There are two separate legal claims that you can bring when your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence in Houston. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file both types of actions.
- Wrongful Death Claim
Under Texas law, a wrongful death suit may be brought when a person’s death was the result of another party’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, or unskillfulness.” Only the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death suit in Houston.
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover damages that the surviving family members suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. Some of the damages available include:
• Loss of household income;
• Loss of service, support, advice, and maintenance that was previously provided by the deceased;
• mental distress;
• Loss of comfort, camaraderie, companionship, and love;
• Loss of inheritance; and
• Funeral and burial expenses.
The damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit go directly to the plaintiffs.
- Survival Action
In Houston, a survival action is typically filed when the deceased could have filed a viable personal injury claim if they survived. The focus of the claim is on the suffering of the deceased rather than the surviving family members.
The purpose of a survival action is to compensate the estate of the deceased person for the losses the deceased suffered before death. Some of the damages available in a survival action include:
• Medical expenses,
• Lost wages,
• Property damages, and
• Pain and suffering.
The damages go to the deceased’s estate for distribution instead of being awarded directly to family members.
What are Common Examples of Wrongful Death and Survival Action Cases in Houston?
There are endless ways that someone’s negligence could cause someone’s death. However, a few common situations that give rise to wrongful death suits and survival actions in Houston include:
• Drunk or distracted driving accidents,
• Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
• Slip and falls
• Medical malpractice, and
• Workplace accidents.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit or Survival Action in Houston?
Immediately after a loved one dies, filing a lawsuit is probably the last thing on your mind. However, you should not wait because Texas has strict deadlines for pursuing legal actions after the death of a loved one. The time you have to file depends on whether your claim is a wrongful death or survival action.
In general, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Houston. If this period has passed, you should reach out to an experienced attorney. There are limited exceptions that may apply to your situation.
With survival actions, the statute of limitations period is the same as the personal injury action that could have been brought if the deceased were still alive. In general, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years. However, the limitations period is “tolled” or paused for one year with survival actions. If an estate executor or administrator is named during the one-year period following the death, the limitations period will start running again.
Going through the legal process while you are still grieving can be extremely emotional. An experienced attorney will provide you with the support you need to get through this difficult time. To maximize your odds of receiving the compensation you deserve, you should reach out to a Houston wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. If the statute of limitations period passes, you will be forever barred from bringing a claim.
Your Houston Wrongful Death and Survival Action Attorney
If you have lost a loved one because of another person’s negligent actions, call the Paxton Law Firm. We have represented individuals involved in these types of lawsuits for nearly twenty years.
Let us review your case and advise you of your rights. The Paxton Law Firm believes in taking the stress of dealing with your legal battles and turning a negative situation into the best possible outcome lady justice allows. We offer free consultations, and you do not pay any legal fees until we recover for you.