Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Texas?
We all understand that, at some point, our loved ones are going to die. But we like to think it will be at a ripe old age. We never want to imagine that we’ll lose a family member to an accident. Sadly, thousands of people die in wrongful death cases every year.
A wrongful death is when someone’s negligence causes a person’s death. Sure, there are some wrongful death cases that involve intentional acts. But most of them involve negligence.
Your Houston personal injury attorney knows how to prove a wrongful death case. They involve the same elements as any other negligence case. The big difference is that someone dies as a result of the accident.
Many wrongful death cases involve the following types of negligence:
- Dangerous drugs
- Product liability
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents
- Environmental hazards
If you’ve lost a loved one, you’re going to need a Houston wrongful death attorney. He can help you get your loved justice. He can also work to get your family the compensation you deserve.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Houston, Texas?
Under Texas law, an immediate family member can sue for wrongful death. This includes the following individuals:
- Grown children
- Adopted children
If none of these people file a claim within three (3) months of the victim’s death, the personal representative of the estate can file the claim instead.
Some states limit the groups of people who can file a wrongful death suit. Texas is pretty generous when it comes to standing. If you’re an immediate family member of the deceased, chances are, you can file a wrongful death suit.
What Kinds of Damages Can Your Houston Personal Injury Attorney Demand?
When you file a wrongful death suit, you’re actually asking for two kinds of damages. First, you’re asking for damages that your loved one could have demanded had he lived. Second, you’re asking for damages to compensate the family for their loss.
Some of these damages include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills related to the accident
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- The loss of future inheritance the decedent would have received
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance and comfort
The only thing you really can’t include is punitive damages. It is very rare when these damages are allowed in a wrongful death case in Texas. If the defendant acted willingly and intentionally, you may be able to ask for these damages. Your Houston personal injury attorney will review your case to see if this is an option.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
The biggest problem with these cases is the victim isn’t alive to tell his story. That doesn’t mean that there is no statement from the victim. He may not have died immediately after the accident. If you’re lucky, he lived long enough to let your lawyer know what happened.
If this isn’t the case, your lawyer will have to find another way to prove fault. He can use some of the following tools:
- Witness statements – If anyone saw the accident, he can testify as to what happened
- Statements by the family – The decedent may have told his family members what happened. For example, if it was an illness from a dangerous product that killed him, he probably had plenty of time to discuss his case.
- Medical Records – There may be medical records that prove causation. For example, if your loved one died from cancer due to a product like RoundUp, there will be plenty of evidence to show he was sick.
- Similar Cases – If it’s a product liability case or dangerous drug case, there may be other cases just like yours. Your lawyer can use this information to prove causation.
Keep in mind, most of these cases settle. Very few defendants would ever want the bad press of a wrongful death trial. And, your lawyer is going to encourage you to settle as well. Trials are expensive and time-consuming. It’s in everyone’s best interest to negotiate an out of court settlement.
Your lawyer will never accept a settlement without talking to you first. He’ll let you know if he thinks the deal is fair.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
Call McDonald Worley and schedule your free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney in Houston today. He can review your case and let you know if it’s worth filing. He can also let you know what your case may be worth. The consultation is free and you pay nothing until you win your case.