Wrongful Death Attorneys in Houston, Texas
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Nothing can replace a loved one who has been taken from you before their time. While you grieve their loss, the last thing you are thinking of is filing a lawsuit. However, when a person dies due to someone else’s negligence, the surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.
Wrongful death settlements are an essential part of gaining closure after losing a loved one. They can provide your family with financial security following their tragic loss, and stability in the future while you manage your finances without your loved one’s earning capacity.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death in Texas?
In Texas, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if a death is caused by a wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, neglect, or failure to fulfill an obligation committed by another person or corporation.
In other words, a wrongful death is caused by the negligence of others.
A few examples include deaths caused by:
- A drunk driver
- Vehicle accidents that involve reckless driving, a malfunctioning part, or negligence
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
Anyone can be considered at fault for a wrongful death, including individuals, businesses, and government entities. A person or business can be liable for a wrongful death even if they didn’t commit a crime.
Even if criminal activity caused a fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit does not include criminal charges and will not put the person responsible in prison. Instead, it is a civil lawsuit that seeks damages resulting from the death of a loved one.
To have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that a duty of care was owed to the harmed party, that injury was directly caused, and that you and your family suffered damages. You do not need to prove that the defendant meant to kill your loved one, only that their actions ultimately caused death because of negligence.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The laws surrounding wrongful death in Texas can be complex. The value of a wrongful death case isn’t simple to determine and depends entirely on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death.
An experienced wrongful death attorney will look at every aspect of your case to see what damages you are owed. There are three categories of damages in wrongful death claims.
Economic damages are tangible, quantifiable costs.
- Burial expenses
- Family therapy
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Out of pocket expenses
General damages are intangible costs from a wrongful death.
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of household services
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in cases where the defendant purposefully caused harm or broke the law. They are intended to punish the defendant to discourage them from engaging in further wrongdoing.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The Texas Wrongful Death Statute states that only surviving children, parents, and spouses may file a wrongful death suit in the three months following a wrongful death. If no one has filed a claim after the three months expires, the executor of the estate or a personal representative can then file a suit on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and former spouses are not authorized to file a wrongful death suit within the three-month window. However, if they are heirs of the estate, they may be included in a wrongful death suit filed by the executor of the estate. If you have questions about a wrongful death case in Texas, we can help. Contact our office today, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
Wrongful death is a devastating outcome from someone else’s negligence. Your family deserves justice, closure, and compensation if your loved one was killed by another person acting negligently or recklessly. As you grieve the loss of a loved one, you shouldn’t have to worry about pursuing the person(s) responsible. A skilled wrongful death lawyer will handle the complicated legal aspects of your case, so you and your family can focus on healing.
If you are up against an insurance company, a wrongful death lawyer will handle all communication and documents for you. In the aftermath of a wrongful death, insurance companies will often try to pressure you into accepting their first – and lowest – offer. This tactic works because families trying to heal after the loss of a loved one often feel overwhelmed by the prospect of going back and forth with the insurance company while their medical and personal bills pile up.
In addition to advocating for you against insurance companies and/or opposing counsel, a wrongful death attorney will:
- Provide moral and financial support while you grieve.
- Keep you informed of the entire process, so you don’t have to worry about what’s happening next.
- Investigate the accident and collect evidence or proof of negligence.
- Determine who is at fault, and who should be the plaintiff(s) in your lawsuit.
- Handle all necessary claim paperwork and court documents.
- Determine the true value of your damages.
- Negotiate for maximum compensation from insurance companies, if applicable.
- Represent you in court, if necessary.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas
An incredibly important aspect of wrongful death claims is the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Houston is two years from the date of the incident. If you wait too long to file suit, you will no longer be able to file a claim.
If you were a minor at the time of your parent’s accident, the clock starts ticking once you turn 18, potentially providing you a little more time to file suit.
However, the more time that passes between a wrongful death and your attorney’s investigation, the more that crucial evidence can disappear. The sooner an investigation can begin, the better the chances of finding solid evidence to support your case, such as eye-witness testimony.
Because You Deserve Compensation From Negligent Actors
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Why Choose DeSimone Law Office?
Our injury attorneys are well versed and specialize in vehicle accident laws as well as personal injury and wrongful death claims.
If we cannot recover damages for your accident injury or wrongful death claim, you pay us nothing.
When you call DeSimone Law Office you will speak to an attorney directly – not through a paralegal or secretary.