How To Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorney for Your Wrongful Death Case

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

Knowing what to do after the loss of a spouse, child or parent when you believe you might have a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming. The skilled personal injury lawyers at Ceja Law Firm PLLC will immediately begin representing your best interests if you decide to hire our firm. There are certain steps and considerations to keep in mind if you decide to hire an attorney to represent you:

  • Hiring: Hiring a personal injury attorney for a wrongful death claim can be an essential step to ensure that the legal rights of the deceased person’s family are properly protected and pursued.
  •  Research and make a list of potential attorneys: Make a list of personal injury attorneys who have experience with wrongful death cases. You can start your research online, or ask for recommendations from people you trust. When looking online, consider checking their website, their ratings, client testimonials, and any available case results.
  • Initial consultation: Once you have a list of potential attorneys, arrange for initial consultations. These are often free, and they’ll give you an opportunity to discuss your case and get a feel for the attorney’s style and approach.
  • Ask important questions: During your consultations, ask about the attorney’s experience with wrongful death cases, their track record of success, and their approach to your case. You should also ask about fees and how they are structured – many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.
  • Comfort and trust: You should feel comfortable with your attorney and trust them to handle your case effectively and professionally. They should be able to explain the legal process to you in a way you understand and be accessible for you to ask any questions that you might have.
  • Legal fees: As mentioned, many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they take a percentage of any settlement or court award instead of charging an upfront fee. Make sure you understand the details of this arrangement, including what percentage they take and whether you will be responsible for any out of pocket costs if you do not win your case.
  • Formally hire the attorney: Once you’ve found an attorney that fits your needs, you will need to formally hire them. This usually involves signing an agreement for them to represent you.  It will outline the terms of your relationship, including fees, responsibilities, and how disputes will be handled.

Always consult with a licensed personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction to get advice tailored to your individual needs. Generally speaking, here is a summary of information surrounding the wrongful death claim statutes as outlined in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, specifically Chapter 71. These statutes define the procedures, eligibility, and damages related to wrongful death claims in the state. Here are some key points regarding wrongful death claims in Texas:

  • Who can file a claim: According to the Texas Wrongful Death Act, the surviving spouse, children (including adopted children), and parents (including adopted parents) of the deceased person are generally eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If none of these individuals file a claim within three (3) months of the death, the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim.
  • Statute of limitations: In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally two years from the date of the person’s death. If you want to try and recover compensation for the loss of a loved one, you have two (2) years to file a wrongful death claim, usually starting on the day of your family member’s death.
  • Basis for claim and burden of proof: According to Texas Statutes section 71.001, a plaintiff can legally file a wrongful death claim so long as the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default” of one entity is responsible for an otherwise preventable fatality. In a wrongful death claim, the burden of proof rests on the party filing the claim (the plaintiff). The plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the defendant’s negligent or wrongful actions caused the death of the individual.
  • Damages: Damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death claim can include economic damages (such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and loss of future earnings) and non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and mental anguish the person experienced before dying). Punitive damages may also be awarded in cases involving gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

It’s important to note that the information provided here is a general overview, and specific circumstances may affect the application of these laws. If you have lost a spouse, parent or child due to what might qualify as a wrongful death situation under Texas laws, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, who is knowledgeable with respect to the wrongful death law in Texas. Our legal team has the resources to thoroughly investigate your claim and to develop an effective strategy on your behalf, all while protecting your rights. Contact Ceja Law Firm, PLLC to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your case.

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.