Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things someone can go through. Not only does coming to terms with your loss feel insurmountable, but add in the fact that their death was caused by the actions or negligence of another, and it can all become too much. In Texas, a wrongful death case arises when a loved one loses their life due to the fault of another person or corporation.
If you are dealing with the death of a loved one and believe there is a wrongful death claim that can be made, it’s essential to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
Elements of Wrongful Death
In Texas, the right to bring a wrongful death claim is statutory, meaning it became a right when the state legislature passed the Wrongful Death Act. Under that act, “if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default,” then you have standing to bring a wrongful death claim against the other party.
However, it’s important to note that not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. In Texas, the Act only grants the surviving spouse, children (including adoptive children), or parent of the deceased the right to file. This means that siblings, cousins, or other relatives have no standing to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent.
Another important thing to know is that in Texas, the statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the incident. This means if you do not bring a claim within two years, you lose the right to file one altogether.
What to Expect
The first step, aside from hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer, is figuring out what category your claim falls under. Did your loved one die as a result of medical malpractice, a motor vehicle accident, while working at their job, or from a defective product? All of these are different categories under which a wrongful death claim may be filed and each carries with it different circumstances and requirements. Once you and your lawyer have determined the proper category, you can proceed with gathering evidence and documents to show that you have a valid claim.
An important thing to note before we move on to damages is to remember that it’s essential to act quickly. This is because you can be sure that insurance and other companies will also be working quickly to disprove your case. Wrongful death claims are serious accusations and both people and companies know that their reputations and bottom lines are on the line. They can go to great lengths to make finding the truth difficult, so make sure to stay three steps ahead by getting in touch with your lawyer immediately.
In general, the damages awarded for wrongful death claims will be monetary and the judge or jury will determine how the money is to be divided. Typically, all of the money will be paid to the surviving family and is often based on how much each member of the family was impacted. For instance, if the children are young and are still under the full-time care of the surviving spouse, then the judge can award the majority of the money to the surviving spouse so that they can continue to care for the children.
Contact Capshaw & Associates Today
At Capshaw & Associates, we understand how difficult losing a loved one is, and we want to help make things easier for you and your family. If you are suffering the loss of a loved one and want to talk about your options about bringing a wrongful death claim, contact us to set up a free consultation today.