Losing a loved one in an accident is devastating, especially when another person’s negligent or reckless action caused their death. In Texas, the surviving family members of victims of serious injuries can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. Family members may be entitled to monetary compensation for the loss of their loved ones. Even if the at-fault party is already charged with a crime, the family can bring a separate civil lawsuit.
Discuss Your Case With a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we’ve successfully represented clients in some of the most complex wrongful death cases imaginable. We understand the high emotional toll these types of cases take on our clients. Our empathetic and effective personal injury lawyers will carefully review your case and walk you through your legal options. We take wrongful death cases seriously and realize that the stakes are high for our clients. Contact us today to learn how we can advocate for your right to compensation.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil lawsuits brought by the loved ones of a deceased individual. The surviving family seeks compensation for their loved one’s death-related expenses, such as medical care and funeral expenses. The family can also seek damages for their loved one’s lost income and the pain and suffering they’ve endured due to their loved one’s death.
The standard of proof is the preponderance of the evidence. The surviving family members must prove, using evidence, that it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused their loved one’s death. Proving liability can be challenging in wrongful death lawsuits. These lawsuits can be complex and require an in-depth investigation and discovery process during which both parties gather evidence and take depositions.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases in Texas
When one person or company’s negligence or intentional act causes another person’s death, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. When the deceased individual would have had a right to bring a personal injury lawsuit had he or she lived, the surviving family has a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Even though the category of wrongful death lawsuits tends to be broad, not every incident or accident that causes another person’s death will qualify. Instead, the plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit must prove that another person’s negligent or reckless behavior caused the accident that resulted in their loved one’s death. A wide range of incidents can lead to these types of lawsuits, including the following:
- Car accidents caused by negligent or reckless driving, including drunk driving
- Workplace accidents caused by a lack of supervision or training
- Workplace accidents caused by malfunctioning or unreasonably dangerous equipment
- Attacks, assaults, or other criminal behavior that caused the death of another person
- Medical malpractice by a healthcare professional
- Drowning accident due to unreasonably safe premises
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective products or drugs that cause the user’s death
Who Can Bring a Lawsuit in Texas?
Losing a loved one is always difficult, but the devastation can be much more difficult when we know that the loss is due to another person’s negligence. Bringing a lawsuit can help you achieve a sense of justice for your loved one’s death while obtaining the compensation you deserve. In Texas, eligible beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim include close relatives of the deceased individual. In most cases, the following individuals are eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Life partners
- Any other dependents
Under Texas law, the spouse and children of the deceased individual have the primary right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. When the spouse or children of the deceased individual is pursuing a wrongful death claim, the parent, sibling, or other relatives will likely not be able to file a claim. If you are unsure whether you’re eligible to file a claim, we recommend consulting with one of the experienced lawyers at Ceja Law Firm PLLC.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Surviving family members who would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit must do so within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a time limit for how long family members can wait before filing their wrongful death claim. In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the victim’s death.
There are a few exceptions to this general rule: for example, when the deceased individual was under 18 at the time of death or the defendant’s negligence wasn’t discovered during the two years. When in doubt, it’s wise to discuss your case with a lawyer to ensure that you will not miss filing before the statute of limitations expires.
No amount of money will earn your loved one back, but recovering financial compensation can help you and your loved ones as you move forward. There are three main types of damages available in wrongful death lawsuits in Texas. Economic damages are available for qualifiable economic losses, such as funeral and medical expenses related to your loved one’s death. Economic damage also includes your loved one’s future earnings and benefits.
Plaintiffs are also entitled to non-economic damages for damages that do not have a tangible value. Non-economic damages include mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of inheritance, and loss of consortium. Finally, plaintiffs may be entitled to punitive damages when the defendant acted in willful or grossly negligent acts.
Contact a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you’ve recently lost a loved one in a preventable accident, we encourage you to contact us immediately. Whether your loved one died in a motor vehicle accident, due to a defective drug, or in a premises liability accident, we are here to help. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, our legal team has the resources and skills necessary to investigate your wrongful death lawsuit. We will immediately begin investigating your building your case. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation.