Seeking a Wrongful Death Lawyer to Help You and Your Family in Houston?
There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing a family member in an accident that could’ve been prevented.
While no lawsuit or amount of money will bring your loved one back to you, a wrongful death lawsuit can help with the unexpected financial burden you are suddenly facing.
Losing someone you love is hard, and it’s important that you do not hesitate to consult with an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney.
Understandably, you may be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit to recover damages from the party responsible for your loved one’s death.
It is not to be confused with a criminal trial.
If the responsible party committed a crime in the process of injuring your loved one, as in a drunk driving accident, any criminal charges that party might face are in addition to and separate from your wrongful death claim.
Can I Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not every family member is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in Texas.
Only close relatives are eligible to bring suit. Spouses and children have the first right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the deceased did not leave behind a surviving spouse or children, parents are next in line to bring a claim.
Some states allow siblings to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but Texas law expressly excludes them.
What Needs to Be Done Immediately After a Loved One is Killed?
After your loved one has died, it’s important to contact a wrongful death attorney in Houston as soon as possible.
Wrongful death claims tend to be complicated, which is why you want someone with legal expertise on your side.
Holding the responsible party liable won’t bring your family member back.
However, some victims’ families find a small bit of comfort in holding the negligent party financially responsible.
It can also provide security for those who were financially dependent on the person who passed away.
Don’t assume that because criminal charges are pending, you will be compensated through the court system.
A civil wrongful death lawsuit is different than any potential conviction in a criminal court.
These are two separate legal actions.
At Johns Law Firm, our Houston wrongful death attorneys can explain whether you have a valid wrongful death claim.
If you do, we can get to work right away.
Our experienced legal team will conduct an independent investigation, ensuring we collect vital evidence that will be used to prove negligence against the defendant.
What Fatal Accidents Can Be Cause for a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
The easiest way to define wrongful death is any death that was caused by someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional actions.
The defendant’s actions must have led to your family member’s death.
Some of the most common types of circumstances that lead to wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Auto accidents;
- Commercial truck accidents;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Medical malpractice by a medical professional;
- Criminal actions like assault, robbery, carjacking, and more;
- Workplace accidents;
- Nursing home neglect or abuse;
- Construction site accidents; and
- Defective products, including medical devices.
Numerous incidents can lead to a wrongful death.
It’s important to speak with a skilled attorney who can inform you about your legal rights.
Difference Between Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Survival Actions
Survival actions are meant to compensate for injuries and damages to the victim.
This is a claim filed by the decedent’s estate and seeks financial compensation for any claims the victim could’ve pursued had they survived.
Damages can include medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and more.
This is different than a wrongful death claim, which compensates surviving family members for their financial and emotional loss.
Any financial recovery in a survival claim will go to the victim’s estate.
The money will be divided among surviving family members based on provisions in the decedent’s will.
If the victim passed away with no will, then Texas law on intestate succession will apply.
Intestate succession is the legal term for how a decedent’s assets are handled under Texas probate law.
Damages in a Texas Wrongful Death Claim
In awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, the court considers a number of factors, including the following:
- The parties’ life expectancy,
- Closeness of the relationship between the parties and the deceased,
- Amount of income provided by the deceased that was available to the surviving family members; and
- Value of the household services that were provided by the deceased.
A Houston wrongful death attorney can assist you with calculating and proving your losses
Qualifying survivors are entitled to claim compensation for their losses in wrongful death claims.
Damages you may be entitled to claim to include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of household services
- Loss of love and affection
Statute of Limitations in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Like other types of personal injury claims, you have only a certain amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.
This deadline is one reason why you don’t want to delay in contacting an attorney.
It’s not uncommon for people to struggle with working through the grief and sudden changes that come with losing a family member.
However, if you delay in seeking legal representation, there’s a risk you might accidentally miss the filing deadline.
Under Texas law, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit no later than two years from the date of death.
That may seem like a long time, but it can slip by before you even realize it.
If you miss the statute of limitations, the court will most likely reject your claim entirely.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Houston, TX, Today
If your family member was killed due to someone else’s actions, you need someone on your side who can fight for the compensation your family deserves.
Let our experienced Houston wrongful death lawyers review your case and determine whether you have a valid claim in Texas.