Death is unfortunately a part of life. But losing a loved one in an accident is never expected and can be tragic, especially if it was the result of someone else’s fault. Survivors don’t get the opportunity to prepare mentally and financially and have to live with the grief of not getting to say goodbyes. When someone else’s negligence resulted in your loved one’s death, you can take action to get answers, hold individuals and corporations accountable, and seek monetary compensation. At Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, our top-rated Houston wrongful death lawyers help families find answers for why their loved one was killed.
What Is A Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a wrongful death is a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default” that causes the death of a person. Wrongful death is a civil cause of action under Texas law, not a criminal action. A wrongful death claim can be filed regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against the responsible parties. Thus, a wrongful death claim exists if a loved one is killed in a car accident, 18-wheeler accident, workplace accident, or due to a defective product.
What Is The Purpose Of A Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is not just about money. No amount of money can make up for the devastation and pain of losing a loved one. However, a wrongful death claim can find answers, hold responsible parties accountable, prevent similar conduct in the future, and obtain monetary damages to pay for medical bills, and funeral expenses, and help make up for lost wages and benefits.
Common Types Of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death claims can arise from almost any situation where a person is killed in an accident. Companies, employers, and individual persons may all be held responsible for causing a person’s death. Some of the most common types of wrongful death claims our lawyers handle include:
- Car wrecks
- 18-wheeler wrecks
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Road construction accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Hit and Run accidents
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Pedestrian accidents
- Drunk driving deaths
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Assault and battery deaths
- Drowning deaths
- Prescription drug deaths
- Negligent caregivers
- Child abuse and neglect
- Sports and recreation fatalities
- Travel industry accidents
- Domestic violence
Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Claim In Texas?
In Texas, not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. Such action is available only to surviving spouses, parents, and children of the deceased individual. Adopted children and adoptive parents may also file a wrongful death claim. Siblings, whether biological or adopted, cannot file a wrongful death claim.
Survival Actions Under Texas Law
In addition to compensating the surviving qualifying family members, Texas state law also allows the recovery of damages for the person’s estate. These are damages that would have been recoverable by the deceased person if he or she was alive to bring a lawsuit.
A “survival action” is named so because the legal claim being made “survives” and continues even though the injured person has passed away. For example, if a loved one is involved in an accident and is taken to the hospital and survives for some time before passing away, Texas law allows recovery for the mental anguish, pain, and suffering that person experienced and would have been able to recover if he or she had lived.
Also, survival actions allow recovery for medical expenses in trying to save the person or burial expenses. These are debts to the deceased’s estate, not the surviving family members.
Time Limits For Filing A Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits have a time limit, or a statute of limitation, in Texas. Under state law, a person has only two years from the date of the death to file their wrongful death claim unless it meets one of the exceptions:
- The plaintiff is a minor child.
- Negligence of the named defendants was not known during that two-year period.
- Mental or physical impairment that prevented the plaintiff from filing the lawsuit in two years.
For the details on these exceptions, or if the two-year deadline is approaching, talk to an experienced Houston TX Wrongful Death lawyer.
Our Houston, TX Lawyers Handle Wrongful Death Claims
The experienced and compassionate lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP. fight to find answers for your loved one’s death. Call us at 713.981.4100 to talk about your loss.