Death at the end of a life long-lived is a normal part of life. However, the wrongful and unexpected death of a loved one is not.
Indeed, losing a loved one to an accident can be traumatic and emotional. Additionally, it raises questions about providing for oneself and one’s family moving forward.
At Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C., our Texas wrongful death lawyers empathize with what you’re experiencing.
Our lawyers want to help you and your family seek recovery for your losses. To learn more about your rights in pursuing a wrongful death claim, call our wrongful death lawyers. We will schedule a free case review to discuss your case.
Wrongful Death Claim: The Basics
As found in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.002, a person maintains a cause of action to bring forth a wrongful death suit against another. When an individual suffers an injury that results in death due to another’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default, then someone can file a suit.
Essentially, in order to bring forth a successful wrongful death claim, you must prove that the party against whom you’re filing suit, or their agent (via the theory of vicarious liability) acted in a negligent and wrongful manner, and that the death of the decedent would not have occurred but for this negligent or wrongful act.
These criteria may apply to a number of different accident and situation types. Our wrongful death attorneys have served the families of those who have been wrongfully killed in:
- Car accidents;
- Large truck accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Slip and falls;
- and More.
If you believe that someone caused your loved one’s death due to negligence, please contact our law firm. We will review your claim for free and help you determine whether or not you have a case.
Who Can Bring Forth a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death action. This is stipulated in Texas Code Section 71.004.
One of the individuals listed above can bring forth the action for the benefit of all. The code continues to read that if none of the above–the spouse, children, or parents of the decedent–choose to bring forth a wrongful death claim, then the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate maintains the right to bring forth the wrongful death action.
Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Action
Filing a wrongful death action is both a legally-intensive process and extremely emotional for loved ones.
As such, understanding the types of damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death suit and their worth is recommended.
In Texas, the types of damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death suit include:
- Economic losses. Economic losses are the most common type of damages that are sought in a wrongful death suit. These damages refer to actual economic losses suffered by the plaintiff(s), typically as a result of medical expenses incurred by the deceased prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, and the value of the decedent’s lost wages, benefits, and loss of earning capacity. A plaintiff maintains the right to seek the full value of economic losses.
- Noneconomic losses. Noneconomic losses are more difficult to calculate, as these losses refer to the value of intangible losses suffered by the plaintiffs, such as the value of emotional anguish, loss of consortium, loss of comfort and care, and pain and suffering.
- Exemplary damages. Texas law allows for the recovery of exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, when the death of the individual is caused by the “willful act or omission or gross negligence” of the defendant. Exemplary damages are not compensatory in nature; instead, they are intended to punish the defendant for their egregious action.
The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Actions in Texas
Those who believe that they may have a wrongful death action and want to file a lawsuit as such do not have an unlimited amount of time to do so.
Rather, wrongful death actions in Texas must be brought within two years of the individual’s death. If more than two years pass from the time of death, any potential plaintiffs are barred from recovery, with few exceptions. The strict statute of limitations is one of the primary reasons that it is essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the wrongful death of a loved one.
Why Work with a Wrongful Death Attorney
It can be extremely difficult to lose a loved one, and even more challenging to understand your legal rights pertaining to the recovery of damages after a loved one’s death.
When you work with a skilled wrongful death attorney, you’ll have an advocate on your side who is committed to guiding you through the process, answering any questions, and protecting your best interests.
Wrongful death claims can be difficult to win; you must gather evidence that proves that the defendant should be held liable for the death and that speaks to the extent of damages you and other family members have suffered. This may require working with various experts, interviewing eyewitnesses, organizing a variety of documents, and more. In addition to simply establishing fault and damages, negotiating for a fair settlement amount is also a key part of the process, and is one that sometimes requires litigation to resolve.
Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
If you have lost a loved one, please call our Texas wrongful death attorneys at the office of Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. today for a free consultation. We understand the hurt and frustration you’re experiencing, and can provide you with the support and assistance that you need. Reach us by phone or by sending us a confidential message today.