Need A Wrongful Death Lawyer in Houston, TX?
Death at the end of a long life is a normal and inescapable part of our existence. The untimely and wrongful death of a loved one, however, is not.
Indeed, the loss of a loved one in an accident can be highly traumatic. Furthermore, it raises concerns about supporting oneself and one’s family in the future.
Do you suspect your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence? If so, we want to help you seek restitution for your losses so that you and your family are well-provided for going forward.
To learn more about your rights in filing a wrongful death claim in Houston, TX, contact our wrongful death attorneys today. We will set up a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
The Basics of Wrongful Death in Texas
Wrongful death is defined in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.001 as a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” that results in a person’s death.
When a person suffers a serious injury and dies as a result of another’s accidental or intentional act, the deceased person’s survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party and seek compensation for their losses.
Driving under the influence (DUI), traffic collision, assault and battery, and manslaughter and murder are some of the most common wrongful death claims in Houston.
Texas’ Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
It is worth noting that you do not have unlimited time to file a wrongful death suit in Texas.
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §. 16.003, wrongful death cases in Texas must be filed within two years following a person’s death. With a few exceptions, potential plaintiffs are barred from any form of compensation award if more than two years have passed since the time of death.
The strict statute of limitations in Texas is one of the biggest reasons why you should consult with our Houston wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one.
The Texas wrongful death statute exempts a person provided the following conditions are met:
- The plaintiff is a minor.
- During the two years, the named defendants’ negligence was unknown.
- The plaintiff could not file a wrongful death claim during the 2-year period due to a mental or physical impairment.
Who Can Bring Forth a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Not anyone can file a wrongful death claim in Texas. As per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, you must meet at least one of the following criteria to pursue a wrongful death claim in the state’s civil courts:
- You are the surviving spouse, adult or minor child, or parent.
- You are the surviving legally adopted child.
- You are the surviving adoptive parent.
- You are the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
The plaintiff may be entitled to the following types of damages in a wrongful death action in Texas:
The first category deals with actual economic losses incurred by the plaintiff(s) as a result of the wrongful death. Economic losses are the most common type of damages sought in a wrongful death action and include:
- The deceased’s medical bills
- Funeral and burial fees
- The dollar value of the decedent’s lost income and benefits
Non-economic losses are the monetary value of the survivors’ intangible losses. These include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Exemplary damages.
Texas law also allows a plaintiff to seek exemplary damages—sometimes called “punitive damages”—when a loved one dies due to the defendant’s willful act or omission or gross negligence. Exemplary damages are not intended to be compensatory but to chastise the defendant for their wrongdoing.
How to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
In a wrongful death lawsuit in Houston, TX, the main legal element that you must prove is negligence. Negligence is when a person does something they should not have done or does not do something they should have done.
To prove negligence in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove these three elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased.
- A breach of the duty of care occurred.
- The breach of duty resulted in serious injuries, which resulted in death.
Why Should You Hire a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney?
There is nothing more traumatic than dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, you must be strong and understand your constitutional rights to recover the full compensation following the death of a loved one.
When you hire an experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer, you will have an advocate on your side who will guide you through the nuanced wrongful death claims process, answer any questions you may have, and safeguard your best interests.
Your Houston wrongful death lawyer can help you collect evidence indicating the defendant is unquestionably at fault for the death and speaks to the extent of damages you and other family members have suffered. They can also negotiate a fair settlement amount and are willing to go to trial if needed.
Call our office today for a free consultation
Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence can be the scariest and most agonizing experience of your life. It can also make it hard to know what you should do next. Call us if you have any questions about wrongful death claims in Houston, TX. We have all the answers! Our empathetic and competent Houston wrongful death lawyers can help you understand the state law.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident due to the negligence of another party, please get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation with our legal team and learn more about how our Houston wrongful death lawyers can help you present your case and get you the compensation you deserve.