Losing a loved one unexpectedly is overwhelming. The pain of accidental death is further increased when the death was due to someone else’s negligence. If your loved one died due to injuries suffered as a result of another party’s negligence, you should retain a qualified personal injury attorney. Every day, Burress Injury Law works tirelessly to represent the families of wrongful death victims to hold all responsible parties fully accountable for their negligence.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death in The State of Texas?
When a person’s death is caused by another individual’s negligent behavior (whether accidental or intentional), the victim’s loved ones can file a wrongful death claim. Car and big truck accidents, other negligence-based incidents, or intentional acts (including crimes) are just some of the tragic events that can give rise to wrongful death claims.
There are several elements of a wrongful death claim. Another party’s neglect, carelessness, or wrongful act must have resulted in an injury that caused an individual’s death. Had the victim survived their injuries, he or she would have been able to pursue a personal injury claim to seek damages. However, since they are unable to do so, a loved one has the opportunity to proceed with a wrongful death case on their behalf.
There are major differences between wrongful death claims and criminal homicide cases. A criminal homicide conviction results in jail or prison time, probation, and fines paid to the state, among other penalties. In a wrongful death civil case, the defendant’s court-ordered punishment is to pay the decedent’s survivors financial compensation.
Damages and Liability in a Texas Wrongful Death Case
In Texas civil courts, a deceased individual’s spouse, children, and parents are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Siblings are not included in these eligible parties, whether adopted or biological. The wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas requires the lawsuit to be filed (and diligent attempts to serve the lawsuit on the responsible parties) within two-years of the incident giving rise to the individual’s death. However, if the lawsuit is not filed after the first three months after the death, a personal representative or administrator who oversees the individual’s estate may file the claim instead. The only exception to this rule is if the eligible family members request that the wrongful death claim not be filed. Recoverable economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death
- Loss of earning capacity of the decedent
- The loss of services your loved one provided such as home maintenance, domestic responsibilities, or taking care of your children
- Lost inheritance suffered by family members
You may also recover compensation for the intangible losses you suffered because of your family member’s tragic death. Recoverable non-economic damages may include:
- Loss of the companionship, comfort, and support your loved one provided
- Mental anguish and emotional suffering
In some cases, punitive damages are also available. These are damages above and beyond the damages that compensate the victim’s family for these losses. Punitive damages are intended to act as punishment for wrongdoing and a deterrent against similar behavior in the future.
Contact Our Frisco, TX Personal Injury Attorney
The steps our justice system can take could never fully alleviate the pain of losing a loved one. However, with help from a Collin County personal injury lawyer, the financial burden can be lessened and you can start the healing process. If you or a loved one has lost a family member in a wrongful death accident, contact Burress Personal Injury Law to schedule a free consultation by calling 214-726-0016.
Burress Injury Law is a highly rated personal injury firm based in McKinney, Collin County, Texas. As of the date of this publication, we have recovered more than $150 Million on behalf of our clients. We have a winning percentage higher than 99.9% and we maintain a perfect 5.0-star Google rating after hundreds of client reviews. Our attorneys have tried more cases than any other injury law firm in Collin County.