How to File a Wrongful Death Suit

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Posted By | February 2, 2023 | Personal Injury

Every death feels deeply wrong to loved ones left behind, but when that death was preventable and caused by the actions of another, family members suffer further trauma and distress. While nothing can bring a lost loved one back, by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas, grieving family members can achieve a sense of justice as well as gain compensation for the economic and non-economic damages caused by the loss so they can focus on recovering from their grief with fewer financial burdens.

When a loved one dies due to a preventable act of negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing, specific family members left behind can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.

Was Your Loved One’s Death a Wrongful Death According to Texas Law?

When a family member dies a preventable death, it’s particularly tragic for their family members who are not only left behind to grieve but may also suffer serious economic hardships. The first step in the wrongful death claim process is to determine if the cause of your loved one’s death meets the following circumstances:

  • The death was caused by another person or entity’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” 
  • If the at-fault person owed a duty of care to the deceased individual, such as an employer’s duty to keep the workplace safe, or a driver’s duty to obey traffic laws and drive with reasonable care to keep others on the roadway safe
  • If the individual or entity breached that duty of care through an act of negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing
  • If the breach directly caused the family member’s death
  • If the death resulted in economic and non-economic damages for the decedent’s survivors

If your loved one’s death meets the above standards, a wrongful death attorney can evaluate your case and work on the most effective strategy for gaining compensation for damages by reviewing the evidence in your case in a preliminary investigation.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?

Like most states, Texas places limits on those who can file a wrongful death claim in order to prevent lawsuits from those who did not depend on the decedent’s support. Only the following people can file a wrongful death suit in Texas:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • A surviving adult child, either biological or legally adopted
  • A parent, either biological or through adoption
  • A personal representative of the deceased’s estate

What Are the Next Steps In a Wrongful Death Suit?

If you are a qualifying plaintiff for a wrongful death case, your attorney will investigate your case and gather evidence to craft a compelling demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault person. A wrongful death lawsuit is separate from any criminal charges against the party and proceeds regardless of whether or not there is a criminal conviction.

After the insurance company reviews the demand letter, most often they try to settle out of court. An experienced wrongful death attorney will skillfully negotiate to get the highest possible settlement for your damages. If the insurance company does not offer an acceptable settlement, the case moves forward into a lawsuit in court.

An experienced Texas wrongful death attorney understands the serious anguish and economic damages a wrongful death causes loved ones left behind and will argue aggressively in court litigation for compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

While financial compensation cannot undo the injury and bring a lost loved one back, it can help ease the financial burden for their family so they can focus on getting through their grief. A family member who files a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can gain compensation for the following damages:

  • Any medical expenses incurred from the injury before the death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost income and benefits that the loved one would have expected to earn in the remainder of their working years
  • Emotional anguish and grief
  • Loss of consortium (the comfort of a physical and emotional relationship with a spouse or the love, devotion, and support of a parent or child)

While it may be difficult to focus on anything beyond shock and grief after a loved one’s wrongful death, filing a wrongful death lawsuit within Texas’s 2-year statute of limitations can be an important first step toward recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.