There is a lot of misinformation out there about the modern legal system. For those who have recently lost a loved one, they may have heard about wrongful death lawsuits but may not know enough to feel confident on the topic.
Don't miss out on connecting with support your family needs because of a lack of information. Familiarizing yourself with wrongful death lawsuits can help determine if your family might be able to file one and how such an action could benefit you.
How does Texas define a wrongful death?
Sometimes, a combination of multiple circumstances influences what happens, making it hard to place blame. However, sometimes it is obvious how one person's actions directly led to the injury or death of another.
Wrongful death claims in Texas involve neglect, wrongful acts, defaults and carelessness that lead to death.
Whether the issue was negligence on the part of one individual or an illegal action, the victim or their surviving family members may be able to take legal action against the person responsible. Examples of wrongful death circumstances involving motor vehicles could include someone driving while drunk or texting while driving.
Other examples of wrongful death could include a failure to maintain a property resulting in a fatal accident or striking a pedestrian with a vehicle while fleeing the scene of a crime. If the circumstances leading up to your loved one's death involved either criminal acts or obvious negligence, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
What can you seek in the wrongful death lawsuit?
Families will have different claims in their wrongful death lawsuits depending on the circumstances of their family and the position of the individual who died. Typically speaking, you can only file a claim for provable losses related to the death.
These could include the cost of medical care and funeral expenses, as well as property damage and lost wages that would have been earned by the deceased. Other costs, such as loss of support or the services that your loved one provided for your family -- ranging from cleaning and child care to maintenance and vehicle repair -- can also be part of the figure.
In the event that it was a criminal act or gross negligence that led to your loved one's death, you may also be able to seek punitive damages against the other driver. Punitive damages are an extra amount intended to penalize the person who caused the accident and hopefully deter them from engaging in similar behaviors in the future.
Get help with your wrongful death claim
There are many rules that govern wrongful death claims, from limitations on how long you can file them to the exact compensation you can seek. Your best option will typically involve working with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney to navigate the court system and advocate on behalf of your family after a tragic loss.