A “wrongful death” is when someone dies as the result of a negligent act by another party. The responsible party could be an individual, or a legal entity, such as a vehicle or product manufacturer, or in some cases, will be a government entity. If you have lost a loved one in a vehicle accident or another incident in which the loss of life was the result of negligence, you may have the right to file a claim or lawsuit to pursue financial damages.
The sudden, and avoidable loss of a loved one is one of life’s most devastating situations. The family is bereft, with their lives forever changed. When another party caused the death, seeking full compensation can help the family members left behind survive through some of life’s toughest experiences and achieve a form of justice.
After the sudden, tragic death of a family member, Texas law allows for specific family members to file a wrongful death claim: Spouse, parents, and children, including adopted children. These claims and lawsuits can help the close family achieve some form of justice and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Some of the most common types of wrongful death cases include loss of life due to a:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Bicycle accident
- Oilfield accident
- Premises liability cases (falls, security failures, unsafe premises)
Close family members often have the right to seek compensatory damages. The types of damages pursued can include:
- Lost income the family member provided the family
- Loss of the personal relationship and support the person brought to the family
- The financial losses associated with medical treatment prior to death
- The emotional anguish suffered by the surviving family members
- Funeral and burial expenses
For a wrongful death claim or lawsuit to be filed, these elements must be established:
- Duty of care: The individual or entity had the legal duty of care to act in a manner that would not put your loved one at risk of injury or death. For example, drivers have a duty of care to operate vehicles in a manner that does not endanger others sharing the roadways.
- Breach: The duty of care was breached when another person or legal entity acted in a negligent manner.
- Death resulted from the breach: The death of your loved one was the direct result of the actions of the negligent party.
If you believe your loved one died due to the reckless or negligent act of another, the time you must file a claim can vary. For example, if the death was the result of the actions of a person driving a government vehicle, the filings have a faster timeline. The statute of limitations in Texas allows for two years to file a lawsuit. If this deadline is passed you will lose your right to pursue compensation.
The first step in filing a wrongful death claim is a full legal review and evaluation of the evidence in the case, which can include police reports, engineering reports, financial reports, medical information, and other details. It is of vital importance that the case is begun as early as possible after the death of a loved one, as eyewitnesses may move away, memories fade, and critical evidence may be destroyed. At The Lenahan Law Firm, we manage every detail with professionalism, legal skill, and a dedication to seeking justice for the people we serve.
Contact The Lenahan Law Firm at (214) 295-1008 for a free case consultation.