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Our lawyers have decades of experience working with family members after fatal accidents. We often handle wrongful death car accident claims, as well as wrongful death suits arising from other vehicle accidents, dangerous premises, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and more.

Initially, you may not feel comfortable turning your loved one’s death into a legal matter. We recommend speaking with an attorney before deciding whether or not to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. A rightfully owed wrongful death settlement can help you move forward. To learn more about Texas’ wrongful death law, schedule a free consultation with The Law Giant by contacting us online or call 866-523-4167.

“Great group of people to work with—very efficient and professional. Alex has put together a great Team!”

– Derek B.

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What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death claims are legal actions brought by certain individuals if a close relative’s death was caused by another’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, or failure to act.

You can think of it this way: If the deceased individual had lived, then they would have had the right to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for their injuries. This lets the people left behind to pursue this right on their behalf.

Every state has its own wrongful death law, and they vary significantly. Texas’ wrongful death statute will not be the same as Oklahoma, Minnesota, or Washington’s law. If your loved one was killed in Texas, you should speak with a local wrongful death lawyer.

Texas law will dictate when a wrongful death claim arises, who may file a lawsuit, who may benefit from compensation, and the type of compensation surviving family members may receive.

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Fatal Accidents May Lead to Wrongful Death Cases

A wrongful death claim does not have to arise from a specific type of accident. Any incident that was caused by another individual’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct can lead to a wrongful death suit.

At The Law Giant, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, our wrongful death attorneys have represented family members and estates after:

No matter what type of accident led to your loved one’s passing, you can call us to discuss your rights and the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Texas Wrongful Death Act

You will find Texas’ wrongful death statute in Chapter 71 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Sections 71.001 through 71.012 all determine who, when, and where wrongful death cases may take place.

For answers to your wrongful death questions, you may consult the statute. However, we recommend contacting a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer. By talking with an attorney about your rights and options, you obtain not only accurate information about the law, but insights based on decades of experience.

Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Texas significantly limits who may file a wrongful death case. To file suit, you must be a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the decedent. All of these surviving family members may file an action together, or one can file for the benefit of all of them.

You cannot file a wrongful death claim if you are a romantic partner, fiancé, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, cousin, or other distant family members.

However, if the surviving family members choose not to file suit within three months of the death, then the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate is permitted to do so unless every surviving family member who is entitled to file specifically requested not to file the suit.

If your spouse, parent, or child was killed by another’s negligence, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Call the wrongful death attorneys with The Law Giant, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers to discuss this option.

Who Can Receive Compensation?

Only the surviving family members who are capable of filing a wrongful death lawsuit may recover compensation. This means a surviving spouse, parents, and children may obtain portions of a wrongful death settlement or court verdict in their favor.

What Compensation Can Survivors Receive?

The close surviving relatives may receive compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses, if paid for by a surviving family member
  • Loss of decedent’s earnings
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of decedent’s household, parental, and spousal services
  • Loss of decedent’s care, support, guidance, companionship, and love
  • Surviving family member’s mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Surviving family members mental health care expenses

It is important to note that the compensation the survivors receive is not subject to the decedent’s debts. If your loved one left behind debt that the estate is dealing with, your wrongful death settlement or jury award will not be put toward those expenses.

How Much Compensation Does Each Survivor Receive?

How much compensation each surviving spouse, parent, or child is entitled to can be a difficult question. This is especially true when there are numerous individuals with differing relationships with the decedent. It may not seem fair for each person to receive an equal portion.

This issue is unique in each case. If your wrongful death case goes to trial, it is up to the jury. If the jury decides in your family’s favor, then it also decides how much compensation to provide and how much to give to each survivor.

However, many wrongful death cases do not get to trial. Instead, they are settled out of court. In this situation, it may be up to you and your family to decide how compensation is distributed. This can be a sensitive conversation and one you should have with an experienced wrongful death lawyer.

If you and other adults agree on how to divide the compensation, then this is a smooth process. We will help facilitate who will receive certain portions. However, if another adult beneficiary disagrees, then it may be necessary to hire separate law firms to work on the case together or file separate wrongful death lawsuits.

When the decedent leaves behind minor children, it is essential that their interests are protected. You may ask for a guardian ad litem to be appointed, or the court may do so. The guardian ad litem is a legal professional who makes a recommendation to the court regarding what is in the best interests of the children involved.

Benefit From a Lawyer Negotiating Your Wrongful Death Settlement

When you believe another person, business, or municipality is responsible for your spouse, parent, or child’s death, you should speak to a wrongful death lawyer. Pursuing compensation on your own is ill-advised. By hiring a lawyer, you increase your chance of a successful outcome and are more likely to obtain compensation.

Also, by having an experienced wrongful death lawyer representing your interests, you are more likely to maximize a settlement. This is based on a number of factors. To begin with, a lawyer is better equipped in determining an appropriate value for your claim. Many families undervalue their financial and emotional injuries after a loved one’s death.

Next, a lawyer is not afraid to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This does two things. It gives your attorney the opportunity to gather additional evidence through the discovery phase of the suit. It also shows the other party and their insurer that you are serious. It puts pressure on them to settle to avoid the time and cost of a trial.

Additionally, a lawyer will negotiate. Unless your family receives a phenomenal first settlement offer—which is rare—your attorney is going to decline the initial offer and provide a counter demand. This is the beginning of negotiations, during which your lawyer will fight hard for you to receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.

Many different factors influence a potential wrongful death settlement. To discuss how much your family’s claim may be worth, call The Law Giant, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers as soon as possible.

Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Every state limits how long you have to bring a wrongful death claim. This deadline is known as a statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years.

You typically have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. If you file a lawsuit after this date, it will almost surely be dismissed by the court.

However, there are various exceptions in which the time to file a wrongful death lawsuit is extended.

A common exception is based on when you actually or reasonably should have discovered that your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence. If you did not learn that someone else was at fault for weeks, months, or years later, then you still may have time to file suit. However, call a wrongful death attorney as soon as you know you may have a claim to avoid waiting too long. You also might have more time if you were a minor when your parent died, or you were physically or mentally incapacitated for a period.

We understand how difficult this time is for you and your family. You do not want to get into a legal mess. We are here to guide you through the wrongful death lawsuit and insurance claim process. This increases the likelihood of you receiving fair compensation as quickly as possible.

To learn more about the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, contact our veteranat The Law Giant, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers.