Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys & Lawsuits
Losing a loved one is always painful. However, when the loss is an accident caused by someone else, you may feel devastated, shocked, and never the same. How will you move forward in your life without your loved one? When someone’s negligence causes death, you may want to take legal action. You might be entitled to compensation for your financial losses and emotional devastation.
Below is critical information about wrongful death lawsuits in Texas. If you have lost a loved one in this way, the Texas wrongful death lawyers at The Francis Firm will fight for your rights today.
You may not want to think about legal action. It is understandable to heal your family and heal. However, losing a loved one in a preventable accident means someone is responsible. Do you want to let that person escape justice?
A wrongful death lawsuit brings closure and a sense of justice to many devastated Texans. Also, you might receive compensation to help you move forward with your life and deal with the financial repercussions. Compensation from a lawsuit can pay off your home, provide a college education for the children, and maintain the same standard of living for the family.
Remember that once the case starts, your lawyer will handle everything. You may be needed occasionally to process the claim, but you can focus on healing and helping your family.
Not just anyone can file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit. State law says the following individuals may file such a case:
- The surviving spouse
- A surviving child that is an adult or minor
- A surviving parent
- A legally adopted child
- A surviving adopted parent
- The personal representative of the decedent’s estate
Note that a sibling cannot file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case, and you may file the suit whether or not there are criminal charges against the defendant.
You may be entitled to damages your loved one is owed from the moment of death because of someone’s negligence. Some of these damages may include:
- Funeral costs
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering of your loved one
- Lost earnings
The other category of damages is what you have incurred because of the loss. These may the deceased’s lost earning capacity, lost care and support, mental and emotional suffering, lost inheritance, and loss of companionship.
Texas law also allows you to receive exemplary damages. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for gross negligence. Exemplary damages could be awarded, for example, if a highly intoxicated driver killed your loved one in an accident.
In court, it isn’t enough to say that someone caused your loved one’s death. Instead, their responsibility for your loss must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Proving negligence means showing they did or did not do something that contributed to the decedent’s death. Four elements a wrongful death lawyer must prove are:
- The defendant owed the decedent a legal duty: For example, all Texas drivers have a legal obligation to drive safely.
- The duty was breached: The defendant was speeding when the accident happened.
- The breath caused an injury: The speeding accident killed your loved one.
- There were monetary damages: Such as burial expenses, medical bills, and loss of care and support.
An experienced Texas wrongful death attorney will investigate the accident and attempt to collect proof that the defendant was responsible for the death. Potential evidence may include eyewitness testimony, the police report, security camera footage, and crash scene evidence.
Your attorney will work hard to assess the above evidence related to your loss. They will find evidence to support legal action if there is a case.
Many types of accidents may be the basis of the lawsuit. However, the most common wrongful death cases involve:
If your loved one was killed while at work, you may file a wrongful death claim against the employer in limited circumstances. You also may be able to file a workers’ comp claim.
If your loved one died because someone was intoxicated behind the wheel or ran a red light, you could have a case. Or, if the person is killed in an accident where the airbag did not deploy, there could be a claim against the auto company or part manufacturer.
Texas law states you can file a wrongful death action if you lose your loved one because of someone’s carelessness, neglect, or failure to act. You also may file the claim if someone performed an act that caused the death of your relative. A Texas wrongful death attorney will review your case to determine if there is a path forward.
Also, you may assess the validity of your claim this way: Would your loved one have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived? A wrongful death action operates the same way; the only difference is you are taking action instead of the deceased. Therefore, if they may have had a personal injury claim, you could have a valid case.
You don’t have unlimited time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. You have only two years from the date of your loved one’s death to take action. That’s why it is critical to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Remember that you do not pay legal fees upfront for your attorney. Instead, your lawyer is paid from your settlement or verdict award.
Losing a loved one because of another person’s negligence is emotionally and financially devastating in many cases. It can be challenging to think or make decisions. The Texas wrongful death attorneys at The Francis Firm can help.