An Overview of Texas Wrongful Death Claims
The death of a loved one can be devastating to cope with, especially if the circumstances surrounding their passing prove to be the result of another person’s wrongdoing. When this happens, the law allows the family of the deceased to file a “wrongful death” lawsuit. This type of legal action can allow the decedent's survivors sue for damages related to the loss of their loved one, including their lost income and the loss of their personal relationship. To be eligible to file, however, certain requirements surrounding the details of a person’s death must be satisfied.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death?
In the state of Texas, a suit for wrongful death can be brought if a death results from the negligence, unskillfulness, default, or carelessness of another party. This definition includes a variety of different circumstances, though the key aspect is that the death likely could have been prevented if the responsible parties had exercised reasonable care.
A death can be deemed wrongful if it occurs due to any of the following:
It is important to note, however, that a person cannot sue for wrongful death if the decedent was killed while committing a crime.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
State laws dictate that parents, adult children, and spouses of the deceased have the right to sue for damages sustained due to the wrongful death of their loved one. Adoptive parents and children are also given these rights, though siblings of the deceased are unfortunately not permitted to file a wrongful death claim. These select people have the right to file as a group if they so choose, or individually.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
In a wrongful death case, the survivors of the deceased can seek to recover a variety of monetary damages related to the loss of life.
Damages can be awarded for the following:
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost care of the family member
- Pain and suffering
- Lost love and companionship
- Lost inheritance
In particularly egregious cases where the death occurred as a result of gross negligence, exemplary or punitive damages can be awarded. As opposed to the compensatory nature of other damages, exemplary damages are meant to act as a punishment to deter others from acting in the same fashion. Any awarded damages are to be divided between the surviving family members as the court sees fit.
If you believe your loved one has passed away due to another party’s careless act, a Dallas personal injury attorney from Lenahan Law Firm can examine your situation and walk you through the process of filing a claim. No family should have to live with the consequences of someone else’s negligence, and we are prepared to stand by your side during this difficult time.To get started towards pursuing the compensation you deserve, contact our office online or call us toll free at (888) 828-5630 today!