Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas: What You May Need to Know

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2019 | Firm News, Personal InjuryWrongful Death |

 

flower on grave stone Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle crashes are all events that
claim the lives of thousands each year. Sadly, many of these individuals
leave behind families and loved ones whose lives are forever changed because
of this person’s death.

When someone’s loved one dies due to the wrongful act or negligence
of another person, the family may be entitled to compensation for their
loss. Here’s what you should know about
wrongful death lawsuits in Texas.

Texas Wrongful Death Statute

Texas defines wrongful death as a wrongful, careless, or negligent act
that results in the death of a person. In some cases, this could mean
that an individual acted negligently by failing to perform a certain action
that they should have in order to prevent the individual’s death.

Common wrongful death cases include drunk driving accidents, trucking accidents,
manslaughter, or negligence. Under state law, an individual must file
a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of death.

Keep in mind that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter. This means
that you may still file a lawsuit, regardless of whether or not criminal
charges were ever filed. Civil lawsuits are typically easier to prove
than criminal cases, as
your attorney will just have to prove how the defendant’s actions caused economic
and non-economic damages to you and your family.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

It’s important to know that not just anyone can file a wrongful death
claim in Texas. An individual may only file a wrongful death lawsuit if
that person is:

  • The surviving spouse

  • The surviving child (adult or minor)

  • The surviving parent(s)

  • The legally adopted child of the deceased

  • The surviving adoptive parent(s)

Siblings and other family members are generally are not able to file a
wrongful death claim.

Proving Negligence

To effectively win a Texas wrongful death claim, your wrongful death attorney
must prove:

  1. A legal duty was owed. This means that someone had a legal obligation or
    duty to perform a certain act.

  2. The legal duty was breached. This means that the person failed to perform
    their legal obligation to another person.

  3. The breach of duty caused an actual injury (which resulted in death). The
    breach caused the injury/death of the individual.

  4. There must be monetary damages that occur. The deceased would have incurred
    monetary and/or non-economic damages if the person were still alive.

Potential Damages

Those pursuing wrongful death lawsuits may obtain compensation for damages
in three main types of categories.

Immediate Financial Losses

This would include monetary losses for property damage, medical expenses,
lost wages, pain and suffering for the deceased, and funeral and burial
arrangements.

Long-Term Survivors’ Losses

These damages are related to the losses that the survivors incurred as
a result of the death. Damages for this category include:

  • Lost earning capacity

  • Loss of household income

  • Loss of support and care

  • Loss of comfort and companionship

  • Emotional pain and suffering

  • Lost inheritance

Exemplary Damages

This category of damages is slightly different from the two listed above.
Exemplary damages are typically only awarded in cases where the wrongful
death occurred by a willful or intentional act or by gross negligence.
Courts award these damages as a means to both punish the defendant and
award victims (and their families) additional compensation amounts.

Contact a San Antonio Wrongful Death Attorney

If your loved one was killed due to another’s negligence, we understand
that nothing can truly make this situation right. However, our attorneys
firmly believe that you and your family deserve compensation for what
you have gone through.

The legal advocates at
The Law Offices of Tyler & Peery are here to help you and your family during these times. Contact our San
Antonio wrongful death attorneys at 210-340-0900 to schedule a free
and confidential case review.