Losing a family member or loved one is devastating no matter the circumstances. But when another party’s reckless or negligent behavior causes the death of your loved one, it is not just your own grief you have to worry about. You now have funeral costs, and probably medical bills as well, all due to another person’s negligence. In cases like these, hiring a Houston wrongful death attorney may be an option for your family. 

Houston Wrongful Death Claims 

When people suffer serious injuries like spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, they can bring personal injury claims on their own behalf against the people responsible for their injury. 

Wrongful death victims do not have this ability.  However, in wrongful death cases the family of the decedent can bring a wrongful death claim against the person responsible or company. Even if the person responsible is already being tried by the Texas criminal courts for murder or manslaughter, the family can still bring a civil suit against them. In fact, if a fatality results from the actions of a company or corporation and not an individual, this type of claim is the only legal recourse in Texas.  

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What is a Wrongful Death in Texas?

In Texas, the definition of wrongful death is when a person’s negligence or intentional acts cause the death of another person. These laws are in place to provide options to the families of the decedent in such situations. 

What Incidents May Qualify as Wrongful Death in Houston?

The definition of wrongful death is somewhat broad, so it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney if a family member was recently involved in an accident that resulted in death. To qualify as wrongful death, the negligent or reckless behavior of another person has to lead to the accident.

This encompasses a variety of incidents, some more obvious than others:

  • Car accidents that result in death
  • Workplace accidents that result in death
  • Assault, attacks, or other criminal actions that lead to the death of another 
  • Malpractice by a doctor who failed to identify or treat an ailment correctly
  • Drowning accidents due to property damage/premises liability 
  • The use of a defective product that results in death
  • The use of prescribed drugs that results in death

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

In Texas, a wrongful death claim can only be filed by certain members of the decedent’s family. This includes the surviving spouse, the children, and the parents of the decedent. 

There are some cases where an adopted child can file a wrongful death claim. The adoption must have been legally and fully completed. Adoptive parents can also file a claim for their adopted child. 

These claims can be filed as a single action, or the members of the family can group together to file a claim. 

Unfortunately, under Texas law, siblings cannot file a claim. Texas law also excludes grandparents and other members of the family. The claim must be filed by the spouse, parents, or children of the decedent.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

A wrongful death claim must be filed within a certain time frame. In Texas, surviving family members are required to file their lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death.  

What Damages Can You Recover For Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death claims in Texas can get you most of the same damages a personal injury claim can get you. Namely:

  • Loss of past and future wages
  • Medical bills incurred by the decedent before death
  • The decedent’s conscious pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses
  • The claimant’s loss of consortium
  • The claimant’s loss of counsel
  • The claimant’s loss of the parent/child or husband/wife relationship
  • The claimant’s past and future pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses incurred by the claimant related to mental health treatment

The pain and suffering include both the pain and suffering the family has suffered, as well as any pain and suffering the deceased suffered before their death. 

If the decedent was the breadwinner of the family, a wrongful death settlement can compensate their family for the money they would have earned had they lived and continued to work. In addition to these damages, the decedent’s family can also win compensation for mental anguish and the loss of love and companionship. 

Some of these damages have real, tangible values, while other damages will be less tangible. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney. An experienced attorney like Trey Barton can use his experience and knowledge to determine the amount of damages you may receive.  

To schedule a free consultation, call 832-916-2526 or fill out the online form today!

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When the insurance company calls you, call me! The insurance company is interested in resolving your case for the smallest amount of money possible. They don’t care about you, your family, your injury, or what it will take to make you whole. They want to resolve your case before you have a chance to speak to a personal injury attorney that knows what you are entitled to recover. Act now to protect your legal rights! Contact me today for a free case evaluation.