Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death suit can be brought for the accidental or intentional act of another that results in a person’s death. A wrongful death suit requires things: (1) an injury that causes a person’s death or the death of a fetus; (2) the injury is a result of another individual’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default”; and (3) the injured individual could have filed a personal injury suit if they were alive. For more information see Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 71.001- 71.003. While the elements of each case will vary depending on the facts, the family members will have to prove the same elements that the deceased individual would have had to prove in a personal injury suit. A wrongful death lawyer will be able to recommend the best course of action based on your specific needs.
Texas law allows a deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents, to file a wrongful death suit. This means that siblings and grandparents of the deceased are not allowed to file a wrongful death suit. Family members may file individually or jointly. However, if these individuals do not file suit within three months after the individual’s death, the personal representative or executor may file the claim on behalf of the estate. The personal representative must list all the surviving family members detailed above in the action.
There is a variety of damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death suit. Possible damages include lost earning capacity, mental pain, anguish, lost love, companionship, and comfort, and lost inheritance including what the individual could have left to family members if they had survived. Funeral costs and any medical costs for past treatment may be recovered. In addition, damages for lost care, maintenance, services, support and counsel that the individual could have provided if they had survived are recoverable. Lastly, punitive damages may be recoverable.
Texas has a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death suits. For more information see Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003. It is important to note that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter, and a separate criminal action may be brought. This means that the evidence standards for the two cases differ. In addition, a survival claim is different from a wrongful death claim. A survival action is common when the deceased did not die immediately, therefore, the deceased estate may be able to recover for their pain and suffering.
For help with your wrongful death suit, call Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced lawyers will discuss your case with you and help you understand your legal options.