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What Is Considered a Wrongful Death in Texas?

Wrongful death in Texas is a death that occurs as a result of another person’s negligence or at their own hands. Aside from the emotional toll these deaths have on surviving family members, they can also be costly to those left behind. From funeral costs to loss of income, the expenses can amount to tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases. In Texas, families who suffer this kind of loss are entitled to compensation for their losses by filing lawsuits against the responsible parties.

If you have lost a loved one in an accident that you believe was wrongful, contact an experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer to learn more about your legal options. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to obtain the compensation you deserve for your losses. 

What Happens After A Wrongful Death?

When an accident results in the death of a person, family members should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney they trust right away for accurate information about what needs to be done next. That lawyer can help them file a wrongful death lawsuit and guide them through the legal process. In some cases, the wrongful death lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement with the responsible party or their insurance company on behalf of the family. However, if a fair settlement is not reached, the case will likely go to trial.

What Damages Are Recovered in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The damages that are recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. However, they may include compensation for medical expenses incurred before death, funeral and burial expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. It is important to note that these are just some of the damages that may be available to wrongful death plaintiffs. Other damages are also possible, and it is best to speak with a wrongful death lawyer to learn more about your specific case.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Texas, the following people are typically able to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

– The spouse of the deceased;
– The children of the deceased;
– The parents of the deceased;
– The siblings of the deceased.

It is important to note that these are just some people who may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are other people, possibly caretakers or other family members, but most cases favor the immediate family only. It depends on the situation and who the survivors are in the family, if there are any. If you have lost a loved one, it is best to speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer to learn more about your rights and options.

When Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There are different types of wrongful death lawsuits you may pursue. Most wrongful deaths occur in car accidents, workplaces, hospitals, and nursing homes. These are examples of each that may give an idea if you have a case.

– Car Accident
If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit after being involved in a car accident, you must be able to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the death. For example, it is vital to show that the person operating the other vehicle was not paying attention and hit your loved one, causing them to die.

– Workplace Accident
To file a wrongful death lawsuit after a workplace accident, you must be able to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the death and that the victim worked for the company at the time of their death. For example, if your loved one was killed in a construction accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the construction company.

– Hospital Accident
If your loved one died due to an accident that occurred while they were receiving medical care in a hospital, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you will need to be able to prove that the hospital staff was negligent and that their negligence caused your loved one’s death. For example, if the accident occurred due to a medical device malfunction or an operating error, you may file a wrongful death against the hospital and its staff.

– Nursing Home Accident
If your loved one died due to an accident that occurred while they were receiving medical care in a nursing home, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you will need to be able to prove that the nursing home staff was negligent and that their negligence caused your loved one’s death. It is also important to note that for this suit to be successful, it must show the victim was injured when receiving care from another party, another patient, or nurse at the nursing home.

What Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Do For My Family and Me?

When you meet the attorney, these are some questions that will let you know that they are the right lawyer for your loved one’s wrongful death situation. 

Under Texas law, the most commonly asked questions about wrongful deaths in Texas are:

– What will the damages cover? These damages may help pay medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income (for both present and future earnings), loss of earning capacity (past and future), contributions to Social Security benefits (past and future) if your loved one was working before their death, loss of inheritance (future), pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium (companionship).

– What is the statute of limitations? This is the time limit in which you have to file a lawsuit. In Texas, it is two years from the date of the death. There are some minimal exceptions to this rule, so you should check with an attorney as soon as possible.

– Is it okay for me to handle my own case? There are various reasons you might be allowed, or required by law, to represent yourself in your wrongful death claim. Usually, this occurs when the damages do not exceed $100,000 but can also apply when there is no evidence supporting negligent behavior (ex: medical malpractice) or where there is only one defendant (the person who caused your loved one’s death). If you take on your case, you will need to strictly follow all the filing deadlines and procedural rules. Sometimes this is hard for people without legal experience.

– Are there free initial consultations? An initial consultation with an attorney does not obligate you to hire that attorney. It is your choice whether to file a lawsuit, so contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Texas for more information on how they can help protect your rights and the rights of your loved ones if someone else’s negligent behavior caused their death. The bottom line is that it cost nothing.   

Find the Right Attorney

Each wrongful death lawsuit is unique, and the available damages vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. An attorney specializing in wrongful deaths will review the situation and inform you of which routes to take. They can almost determine which side the court will take if the attorney has the years of experience to back it up.

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