What Is a Wrongful Death Case- Texas
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When a loved one dies in an unexpected accident, surviving family members may be left with substantial debt and heartache. If you are the survivor of a wrongfully deceased individual, filing a wrongful death claim may help you receive compensation from the responsible party.
Wrongful death incidents invoke a specific set of Texas laws that can be applied differently depending on the specifics of the incident itself. Knowing what to do and who to contact after a wrongful death incident may be crucial for prompt recovery.
what is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death occurs when an individual is killed because of another person or group’s negligence or general misconduct. Generally, a wrongful death action is a civil tort claim that allows certain surviving family members to hold negligent parties responsible for actions that led to the death of their family member. Some states also permit criminal proceedings in these fatal situations. However, wrongful death actions themselves are solely aimed to allow civil recovery to compensate grieving loved ones for any incurred costs, expenses, or trauma.
Every state permits some sort of wrongful death action in the civil court context. Typically, every jurisdiction has its own wrongful death statute with individualized criteria and procedure for bringing a lawsuit. These specifics vary by state, but many statutes share similarities. According to the Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death claims in Texas can be filed by a party if the death in question was caused by the wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, neglect, or default of another person, corporation, or organization.
Like other states with personalized wrongful death statutes, Texas applies its statute carefully to all wrongful death cases within its borders. Wrongful death cases may be affected by any subsequent caselaw and court rulings. Individuals without any experience with the legal system will find these statutes and rulings difficult to apply to specific cases.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that fits the guidelines of Texas’s Civil Code, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney may be able to help you seek legal recourse for the loss of your family member. Zinda Law Group personal injury lawyers in particular have handled many wrongful death cases for Texas clients; they may be able to help your family, too.
CAUSES OF WRONGFUL DEATH ACCIDENTS
There is a variety of different circumstances that can cause a wrongful death to occur. These accidents can range in predictability and brutality. Despite the endless possible causes of wrongful deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the leading causes of fatal accidents in the United States. The most common causes of wrongful death incidents include the following:
- Medical malpractice
- Bicycle accidents
- Defective products
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Criminal activities
Although these situations are some of the most common ones to give rise to wrongful death claims in Texas, the list is not exhaustive. Thus, you may still qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit even if your situation does not fit squarely into one of the previously mentioned causes. Due to the many different types of wrongful death actions, it may be difficult to determine if a wrongful death action is the right claim type for you. If your loved one was recently killed in an accident, an attorney may be able to help.
who can bring a wrongful death claim in texas?
Although every state has some sort of wrongful death statute, the specifics of those statutes differ by jurisdiction. Texas’s wrongful death statute is extensive and contains specific limitations on why, when, and who can bring a claim seeking legal redress.
In Texas, a wrongful death action may only be filed by certain members of the victim’s family. Typically, this includes the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased, including adoptive ones. These claims may be filed as a single claim or a joint action taken as a familial unit. Unfortunately, judicial decree has established that siblings of the deceased cannot file a wrongful death claim in Texas courts, regardless of the family’s dynamic or history.
In addition to direct compensation for the members named in the lawsuit, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code also allows for the recovery of damages for the estate of the decedent. These damages typically include any amount that the decedent would have been able to recover if they were alive to bring a lawsuit themselves.
damages in a wrongful death case
Damages refers to the sum of money the law imposes for a breach of a duty or violation of some right. Plainly, damages are the monetary award that successful plaintiffs win from a civil lawsuit. When pursuing a wrongful death case, there are many different types of damages that an aggrieved party may request. The damages received may vary depending on the specifics of your particular claim. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of guidance, advice, and counsel
- Loss of life assistance
- Loss of inheritance
- Funeral and burial costs
- Mental anguish
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost household services
Some courts occasionally award punitive damages in an attempt to punish the responsible party even further and prevent future death or injury. Damages in wrongful death lawsuits may be awarded for a variety of reasons depending on the particular relationship between you and the deceased party. Damages may also depend on the severity of the responsible party’s negligence and the reasons behind the ordeal itself. If you are planning to file a lawsuit and want to seek the highest compensation possible, contacting an attorney may help. If contacted, a wrongful death attorney can help you calculate your damages and determine what you would be willing to accept from the liable party.
how long do i have to file a wrongful death claim?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, whether civil or criminal. In Texas, wrongful death cases have a two-year statute of limitations. This means that surviving family members must file their lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death to be eligible for a hearing. Although the statute of limitations is usually absolute, there are a few exceptions to the two-year cutoff in wrongful death cases.
Exceptions to the Standard Statute of Limitations Time Period
Specifically, the statute of limitations may be suspended if the defendant is absent from the state or dies unexpectedly. Alternatively, wrongful death claims involving product liability may have even a shorter statute of limitations than other claims. In most cases, Texas law only allows new cases involving defective products to be brought within 15 years of the product’s original launch; this limitation may hurt injured parties if they are unaware of their claim’s requirements. Additionally, a court can alter or amend a statute of limitations period if the victim is a minor or if there were other delays in the investigation of the original death.
Ultimately, while there are some exceptions to the statewide statute of limitations, victims should avoid relying on them. To guarantee your chance to be heard, you should bring your claim within the allotted two-year period. If you fail to bring your claim within the allotted time period, you may lose your opportunity to file altogether.
Call zinda law group’s TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS near you for help
Wrongful death claims can involve complex legal issues. These issues may require extensive legal analysis and research. Texas’s wrongful death statute allows family members of victims to recover from responsible parties if the plaintiffs can satisfy the statutory (legal) requirements. Applying these requirements to a particular case can be difficult, especially for a person with little experience with the civil court system.
If your loved one was killed in a wrongful death accident, you should contact a Texas wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to help you and your claim move forward in the court of law by helping you evaluate your legal standing, assess your evidence, and seek compensation accordingly.
Confidential, Personalized, 100% free Consultations
At Zinda Law Group, we have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you pursue the highest compensation possible. Zinda Law Group may be able to provide you with personalized and quality consultation about the specifics of your legal claim. The sooner you contact our office, the better we may be able to serve you.
If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Texas lawyers. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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