Regardless of the cause, wrongful death is one of the most devastating things that can happen to any of us. The laws and procedures differ from state to state. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years. The state of Texas does not have a cap on compensation from wrongful death, either.
In the case of a suspected wrongful death, it is your right to find an attorney to advocate for your rights to compensation. Expert lawyers will guide you towards the best conclusion possible and help you seek out the justice you deserve.
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to Texas Statutes section 71.001, wrongful death equals “wrongful acts, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one person or institution that causes the death of another. A lawyer from your jurisdiction will help guide you through deciding if it is wrongful death and what your next step is.
You can file a wrongful death suit if you are a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the person who died. A person can singly pursue compensation with a lawsuit or as a group. After three months, if a family member has not filed a wrongful death claim, an estate can then seek out compensation unless a family member refuses to allow it.
An adult child can file a wrongful death lawsuit over the loss of a parent. Adopted children could do the same if they were legally adopted. However, they cannot make a wrongful death claim on their biological parent. Surviving siblings cannot file a wrongful death claim, whether biological or adopted.
Regardless, it is always best to check with a professional attorney so that you are able to seek justice and damages after a wrongful death if you qualify. Most attorneys do not charge a client until after a settlement or judgment.
Types of Damages
Three types of damages are available to the survivors in a wrongful death claim – economic, punitive, and non-economic.
Economic damages are the value of the financial contribution that the deceased family member would have made. The funeral and medical expenses connected to the wrongful death is an example of this type of compensation. Others include loss of earnings, loss of pension plan, loss of inheritance, and the value of goods and services that would have been provided if not for the wrongful death.
Punitive damages are the primary way that you will get justice and alert others to the dangers of what you went through. Punitive punishes the defendant for their bad behavior that led to the wrongful death. It is not always possible to seek punitive damages.
Non-economic damages are hard to prove, but they are the parts that hurt the most when we lose a loved one. Pain and suffering are only one example of non-economic damages. Others include the loss of care, protection, and nurturing from the deceased family member, the loss of love and companionship, and consortium loss.
In Texas, the compensation received from a wrongful death claim is dispersed among living family members, and the amount for each is up to the court to decide.
When seeking compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is up to the survivor and their attorney to get calculations for the amount of the damages. It requires calling and hiring expert witnesses such as economists and actuaries. It is another reason why hiring a lawyer is so critical.
Understanding Your Rights
The first thing to understand is that even if you only suspect a loved one died due to negligence; you have the right to hire an attorney. You do not want to navigate the court system alone. Nor should you be alone during such a traumatic time.
It is best not to wait to acquire a lawyer and file a wrongful death claim. Civil lawsuits have a statute of limitations of two years. Also, if you wait too long, memories fade, and paperwork gets lost. In order to see a positive outcome from a civil lawsuit, you want to go into it with a fresh recollection and up-to-date and recent information.
Wrongful death action is super complex and can apply to an array of different areas of law. Two examples are medical malpractice and car crash fatality. You will want a personal injury attorney that specializes in a specific field or has expert knowledge over several.
The most important thing to understand is that you are not the bad guy when seeking wrongful death compensation. You lost someone dear to you, and it is your right to seek justice in whichever ways you can. It cannot be stressed enough that you do not have to journey through the court system alone. You deserve a lawyer or firm that fits your specific needs and with whom you can build a relationship of trust.