The shock of suddenly losing a loved one is a traumatizing experience, particularly if their death was caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act.
An experienced Houston attorney can answer your questions about wrongful death lawsuits and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit where the injured person died and can no longer bring the claim on their own behalf. Under Texas law, certain members of a decedent’s family can file a wrongful death claim if the death was caused by the wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, neglect, or default of another person or corporation.
Various types of events can be the basis of a Houston wrongful death lawsuit. Some common situations that give rise to wrongful death claims include:
• Drunk or distracted driving accidents,
• Medical malpractice,
• Defective products, and
• Workplace accidents.
In Houston, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought on behalf of a person of any age, from an unborn child to the elderly.
Only certain members of the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death claim in Texas. This group includes the surviving spouse, children (including legally adopted children), and parents. The family members can file individually or as a group. Notably, siblings are banned from bringing wrongful death lawsuits in Texas.
If the surviving spouse, parents, or children do not file a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can bring a claim if none of the surviving beneficiaries object.
An eligible party can bring a wrongful death claim regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against the defendant.
While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, getting the compensation that you deserve can provide closure and ensure that your financial needs are met. In Houston, there are three main types of damages available in wrongful death cases and survival actions.
1. The first category of damages includes compensation that the deceased would have been able to recover if they were alive to file suit. Examples of these damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and mental anguish.
2. The second category of damages is called punitive or exemplary damages. Punitive damages are not common. They are only available if the plaintiff proves that the defendant acted willfully or with gross negligence. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish and make an example of the defendant.
3. The third category includes damages meant to compensate the surviving spouse, children, or parents for the loss of their loved one’s life. Examples of this type of compensation include lost earning capacity, lost inheritance, mental anguish, lost household services, lost companionship, and lost care, support, guidance, or counsel. These damages are available in a survival action.
The court will divide the awarded compensation among the surviving family members based on the injuries they each suffered because of their loved one’s death.
In general, you must file a Houston wrongful claim within two years of the death. The law refers to this time limit as the “statute of limitations.” There are limited exceptions to this rule, including:
• The individual bringing the lawsuit is a minor child;
• The negligence of the defendants was not known during the two-year period;
• A mental or physical impairment of the plaintiff prevented the plaintiff from filing; and
After the death of a loved one, the thought of filing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. However, you should not wait to find an attorney and hold the responsible party liable. If the statute of limitations passes, you will be barred from bringing a claim.
If you have lost a loved one because of another person’s negligent or wrongful actions, call the Paxton Law Firm. We have represented injured persons involved in these types of accidents 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.
Do you believe you have a case? Understand that time is of the essence in getting you the justice you deserve! We would love to hear from you.