Wrongful Death Lawyers in Houston, TX Fighting to Bring Justice to Families of Victims
The untimely loss of a family member is traumatic enough without having to deal with the fact that the death was caused by a wrongful act caused by a negligent party. Fatal accidents can cause family members to suffer financial hardship, especially if the deceased was the primary source of income, along with severe emotional distress.
If you feel that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Often the only way to hold a responsible party accountable for the fatal accident is to file a claim to recover damages based on their negligent actions or inactions.
The Redwine Law Firm of Houston, TX, has vast experience in successfully handling wrongful death lawsuits. Our Houston wrongful death lawyers have been able to obtain maximum compensation for the family members of wrongful death victims. We are passionately committed to holding responsible parties responsible by pursuing non-economic and economic damages related to your loved one’s death.
Contact our law firm and ask to schedule a free consult with one of our Houston wrongful death lawyers. We will be happy to review your potential case as well as explain your rights as well as your legal options going forward.
What is Considered to be Wrongful Death in Texas?
Under the laws of the state of Texas in order to successfully prove a wrongful death claim, there must be four elements present to support your case. These elements must be proven in order to support your claim that your loved one’s fatality was caused by someone else’s negligent conduct. The elements that must be present to substantiate your claim are:
Duty of Care
When making a wrongful death claim the first element that you must be able to establish is that the defendant owed the deceased a “duty of care.” One of the most critical elements that a plaintiff must demonstrate in their wrongful death lawsuit is that the defendant’s failure to exercise a duty of care directly caused the death of their loved one. Texas defines a duty of care to be the legal obligation to act in a way that will protect the safety of those around you and that a failure to exercise such care might reasonably cause injury.
For example, a construction company must ensure that there are safeguards in place to protect its workers. If they fail to provide such safety measures then they have failed in their duty of care.
Breach of Duty of Care
Once it has been determined that the defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent, the plaintiff must then establish that the negligent party breached the duty of care. To put it simply, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s failure to act in a responsible manner lead to the death.
For instance, if a worker from a construction company that failed to implement safety measures dies as a result of their breach of duty of care, they may be held liable. Breach of duty of care can include both unintentional as well as unintentional acts. Simply because the construction company did not mean for any of its workers to be injured or even die as a result of their inaction to ensure that workplace accidents would not occur does not mean that they could not be potentially held liable for the death.
Even if it is proven that the defendant’s actions constituted a breach of duty of care, it still must be established that those actions led to the death of the decedent. Under Texas law, the burden of proof for the breach of a duty of care lies on the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must be able to show that the breach directly caused the untimely loss of their loved one.
The final element that must be proven by the plaintiff is that due to the negligent actions of the responsible party, they have suffered damages due to the death of their loved one. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include the expenses and costs that are incurred by the plaintiff after their loved one passes away due to their fatal accident.
Some of the most common damages recovered in a wrongful death claim verdicts are:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Other death-related expenses
- Mental anguish
- Medical expenses incurred by the defendant as a result of the injury that lead to their death.
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Loss of emotional support
- Loss of companionship
Who is Eligible to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Under Texas law, there are only certain individuals who are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. When you bring a wrongful death claim in Texas you are essentially filing a personal injury claim on behalf of your loved one for the injuries that they suffered as a result of the accident that led to their death. Since they are unable to file the claim themselves, you are bringing it on their behalf.
A surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased are the only family members who are allowed to initiate a claim. Other surviving family members such as siblings of the deceased are prohibited by law from bringing forth a claim. In addition, any other individuals who may be named in a will are also barred from bringing a claim.
Texas law stipulates that in order to be considered a spouse, you must have been legally married to the deceased. If you do not meet these requirements then you have no legal right to file a wrongful death claim.
If you are the child of the deceased you must be a legal adult and be considered to be the legal child of the wrongful death victim. In other words, if you were adopted as a child by another family, you will not be permitted to file a claim. However, if the deceased adopted you you do possess the legal right to bring legal action on behalf of your loved one.
Any immediate family member who meets the legal criteria as described has up to three months’ time to file a wrongful death claim. Be that as it may, it should be noted that each individual does not need to file their own individual wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. One individual can file on behalf of the other eligible family members.
It should be understood that family members who qualify to file a claim only have three months to do so. After this period of time has elapsed, only one other person has the legal authority to bring a wrongful death suit.
Additionally, if three months have passed, the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate is also legally authorized to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the family is permitted under law to request that the administrator not pursue a claim.
If you are uncertain as to whether or not you meet the legal requirements to pursue a claim, please schedule an appointment with a Houston wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Our attorneys will be happy to review your case as well as answer any legal questions related to the wrongful death claims process.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Texas has a strict time limit when it comes to filing wrongful death claims. The statute of limitations states that family members have two years from the date that their loved one died to file a wrongful death suit. It should be noted that the clock does not start running until the date of death. In some cases, a wrongful death victim may have suffered injuries but did not die immediately.
In order to recover compensation for the death of your loved one you need to be certain that you file your wrongful death lawsuit in a timely manner. Obviously, many families have a difficult time after their loved one has passed away in a fatal accident. They may also struggle with the decision as to whether or not they should file a wrongful death claim at all. The two years that you are permitted under the statute of limitations may seem like a long time but can quickly get away from you with all of the other issues that you may be forced to deal with after your loved one’s death.
If the statute of limitations runs out, you will no longer retain the right to seek financial compensation for your loss. If you do attempt to pursue a claim after the specified time period has expired the responsible parties in the case can seek to have the charges dismissed. Nevertheless, there are certain circumstances in which a wrongful death suit may be brought after the two year time period has elapsed.
How Can Your Law Firm Help My Family With a Wrongful Death Case?
If you have tragically lost your loved one due to what you believe to be wrongful death, you need to speak with our Houston, Texas wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible. Filing a wrongful death claim can be a very complex and confusing process to attempt to navigate on your own.
Our main overall objective is to obtain settlements that are in the best interests of our clients. This can include all the damages that you and your family have suffered due to the victim’s death. We also recognize the fact that although no amount of monetary compensation can truly make up for your loss, sometimes the only way to hold the responsible party accountable is by filing a claim for economic damages as well as punitive damages.
If we agree to take your case, we will immediately begin to investigate the accident to determine who is at fault and should be held liable for the avoidable accident. Our Houston, TX wrongful death attorneys will also work with the insurance company on your behalf. In many cases involving wrongful death claims, the insurance company will attempt to assign a great deal of blame to the accident victim in order to avoid paying out a large settlement. We are familiar with these deceitful tactics and are not intimidated by insurance representatives.
If you still have questions or concerns regarding your ability to file a claim, you need to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Houston wrongful death attorney from the Redwine Law Firm. Contact our law offices by calling 214-575-8300 and ask to schedule a free initial consultation today.