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At Begum Law Group, our Brownsville personal injury lawyers are here for you and your family during this difficult time. We cannot reverse your circumstances, but we can assist you in holding those responsible for your loved one’s passing accountable. Recovering compensation through a wrongful death claim can help you through difficult financial times and put your mind at ease as you grieve.

It’s time to get justice for your loved one and secure your family’s financial well-being. Call The Law Giant today. To schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help, call 956-982-1800 or contact us online. There is no risk in speaking with us because we don’t charge anything up-front, and are only paid when you recover compensation.

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What is Wrongful Death?

If you lose a loved one to someone else’s misconduct, you may have a claim for your losses under the Brownsville wrongful death statute. The theory of liability is that certain family members suffer damages due to the victim’s passing, and they should recover compensation for these losses. Though there are some shared concepts with personal injury cases, wrongful death actions are quite different. A wrongful death attorney can tell you more about how these claims work, but a few points may help you understand Texas law.

Preventable injuries are the leading cause of death for Texans aged 1-44
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Acts Giving Rise to Liability

The wrongful death statute refers to many different types of acts that may allow for a claim when a person dies as a result. Negligence is common as grounds for liability, but intentional conduct may also lead to a wrongful death claim.

Potential Beneficiaries

Under the law, only the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents can recover compensation for a wrongful death claim. If the deceased individual was adopted or adopted children, these individuals are included in the definition of beneficiaries. Unlike some other states surviving siblings can’t file a claim for wrongful death.

People with Standing to File a Claim

Any of the people designated as beneficiaries can bring a cause of action for wrongful death, either together or one acting for all. If these individuals don’t file a claim within three months after the decedent’s death, one of two people must pursue an action for wrongful death:

  • The person appointed as executor under the victim’s will; or,
  • If there was no will, the individual appointed by a probate court as the decedent’s personal representative.

Wrongful Death is a Civil Claim

It’s important to note that wrongful death is a civil cause of action where parties with standing sue for damages caused by their loss. The distinction is important where intentional conduct was the cause of the victim’s death. In such a situation, there may be criminal charges for homicide or manslaughter. However, these are cases for the State of Texas to bring. If convicted, that person may be subject to criminal penalties, which can bring emotional closure to family members. Only a civil claim for wrongful death will allow compensation for beneficiaries.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case

If you have standing as a beneficiary and can prove a case based on negligence or intentional conduct, the Texas wrongful death statute allows you to recover a unique type of damages. A claim for wrongful death focuses on the losses you suffer, as opposed to the victim. If you’re the surviving spouse, child, or parents of the decedent, you may suffer such damages as:

  • Lost earning capacity for the income the victim would have made if alive;
  • Funeral, memorial, and burial services;
  • Medical bills the deceased incurred between the time of injury and death;
  • Emotional distress, pain, suffering, and anguish;
  • Loss of companionship, for the surviving spouse;
  • Loss of care, comfort, guidance, education, advice;
  • Loss of other services the decedent would have been able to offer to surviving beneficiaries;
  • Other damages which your wrongful death lawyer can explain in more detail.

Wrongful Death Versus Survival Actions

When you discuss your situation with our legal team at Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers, our wrongful death attorneys may also talk to you about the potential for filing a survival action. The theory of liability is separate from a wrongful death action, which refers to the losses of the spouse, children, and parents. Instead, the decedent’s own losses are the focus. In a sense, such a case is akin to a personal injury claim, except that the victim was killed instead of suffering injuries.

In a survival action, the estate of the deceased may be able to seek pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages. The term “survival” refers to the claim that survives the decedent’s passing, not the spouse, children, and parents. Because the losses belong to the victim, the estate is the entity that brings a survival action. Still, by operation of Texas probate laws and the Brownsville wrongful death statute, these individuals may ultimately benefit from filing a survival claim.

Accidents and Wrongful Death Cases

Statistics reveal that auto collisions are both frequent and deadly, so it’s common for a claim to come out of a wrongful death car accident. Annual reports published by the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) from 2015-2017 show that there were 29 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in Brownville. However, there are many other wrongful death scenarios.

Truck Collisions

A semi or 18-wheeler is significantly larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle, which is why so many of these incidents are deadly. Thirteen people lost their lives in recent crashes, according to Texas DOT reports covering the time between 2014-2017.

Motorcycle Crashes

The size of the vehicle and lack of a protective metal shell are contributing factors in many fatal motorcycle accidents. Though Texas DOT reports that the number of deaths dropped from 2015 to 2016, more than 9,000 riders died in motorcycle crashes.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

Those on foot or non-motorized cycles often share the road with vehicles at intersections, crosswalks, bike path, and other direct traffic encounters. Drivers aren’t always as cautious about pedestrians and bicyclists as they are with other cars, trucks, and motorcycle riders. Collisions can be deadly when motorists don’t exercise proper caution.

Hazardous Products

When a mistake in manufacturing, design, or labeling makes a product dangerous, the consequences can be deadly. Defects in autos, electronics, household appliances, medical devices, and children’s products may give rise to a cause of action for wrongful death.

Dangers on Property

Though slip and falls aren’t often fatal, premises-based accidents can be deadly. Electrocution, falls from a staircase or balcony, and fires are the most serious types of incidents that lead to wrongful death claims.

Intentional Conduct and Wrongful Death

Killing another human being is a crime in Texas, but the criminal sanctions for a conviction do nothing to ease the hardships suffered by the victim’s spouse, children, and parents. Through a wrongful death claim, family members can receive compensation as a form of financial support now that their loved one is no longer around to contribute.

Even non-premeditated acts can lead to a wrongful death claim. Drunk driving that leads to involuntary manslaughter charges is an example. Texas DOT’s report on Fatalities in Crashes Involving DUI, reveals that there were 15 such deaths in 2017.

We Assist with Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Most wrongful death cases begin by filing a claim with the insurance company that provides coverage for the responsible party. In the case of a fatal motor vehicle accident, this would be the driver’s insurer. Likewise, a Brownsville property owner usually carries a policy covering the premises, and health care providers have medical malpractice insurance.

These entities are your start off point and share a common feature in a wrongful death claim: They are businesses driven to increase profits and please shareholders. Employees are motivated to serve these interests, not yours. Insurance companies will employ various practices to reject your wrongful death claim entirely or find reasons to offer a low-ball amount to settle the matter.

Our lawyers know wrongful death settlement strategies well, so we’re prepared to fight against them. We’re adept at using all available legal tactics and tools to fight for your rights as a surviving spouse, child, or parent who lost a loved one.

The Law Giant Can Pursue Litigation in Wrongful Death Cases

Some insurance companies are unwilling to settle your claim for a fair, reasonable amount. In such situations, it may be necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit to get the compensation you and your family deserve. At Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers, our wrongful death lawyers are just as skilled in the courtroom as they are in negotiations with insurers. We will assist with the entire litigation process, including filing your case, discovery, depositions, motions, court hearings, and trial.

Our attorneys can also advise you on the wrongful death statute of limitations, which is two years from the death of your loved one. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it’s wise to take action quickly. Your wrongful death claim is barred once the statute of limitations expired.