Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas: What You May Need to Know
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.
To effectively win a Texas wrongful death claim, your wrongful death attorney must prove:
A legal duty was owed. This means that someone had a legal obligation or duty to perform a certain act.
The legal duty was breached. This means that the person failed to perform their legal obligation to another person.
The breach of duty caused an actual injury (which resulted in death). The breach caused the injury/death of the individual.
There must be monetary damages that occur. The deceased would have incurred monetary and/or non-economic damages if the person were still alive.
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
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) 774-6445 to schedule a free and confidential case review.