You are devastated by the loss of your loved one in a tragic accident. You naturally feel that someone should have to pay for what happened. However, just because you feel this way does not mean you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. In order for family members to be able to sue for wrongful death, the circumstances of the tragedy have to meet some specific requirements. We provide an overview of wrongful death here.
What Makes a Death Wrongful?
Under Texas law, a person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual's death if the injury was caused by the person’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default. In other words, if your loved one’s death was caused by another person who acted negligently or carelessly, you may have grounds to sue for wrongful death. Examples of fatal accidents that could result in a wrongful death claim include motor vehicle crashes, construction accidents, slip and falls, defective or dangerous equipment, and others. In some cases, a criminal act can lead to a wrongful death claim in addition to a criminal charge. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions taken by a wronged party and are unrelated to criminal charges that may be pursued by a prosecutor. An experienced wrongful death attorney will examine the circumstances of your loved one’s death to determine if you have cause to file a lawsuit.
What Damages Can You Recover?
In Texas, only the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the victim can file for wrongful death damages. The damages you can recover include the following:
- Pecuniary damages. This category includes medical and funeral expenses, as well as loss of maintenance, support, care, services, and counsel they would have received from the decedent.
- Loss of companionship. This puts a monetary value on the loss of the love, comfort, and companionship for family members as a result of their loved one’s death.
- Pain and suffering. You may also be compensated for the emotional and mental anguish the family experiences as a result of the death.
- Punitive damages. In cases where the action that caused the death is found to be intentional or grossly negligent, a judge may also award damages as punishment for the guilty party.
These damages can add up to a significant settlement, but you will need an attorney on your side to ensure you are awarded everything you are entitled to.
Call Us to Learn More
You are heartbroken and confused following the sudden death of your loved one. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss whether you have cause for a wrongful death claim. Texas limits your time to file a lawsuit to two years from the date of death, so do not delay in learning about your options. We handle wrongful death cases with the utmost respect and compassion.