Do I Have a Texas Wrongful Death Case?

There is nothing that can be said or done to replace the tragic loss of a loved one. The pain felt from such a loss is worsened when it was caused by a negligent or reckless act.

In addition to navigating your grief, you may now potentially have to navigate new financial pressures and explore your legal options. If you are unsure about whether a claim for wrongful death is feasible, our Carrollton wrongful death lawyers are here to guide you.

In this article, we go over the specifics of wrongful death claims in Texas, including who has the right to bring forth a lawsuit, types of potential compensation, and the burden of proof you must meet.

How Does Texas Law Define “Wrongful Death”?

In Texas, a “wrongful death” occurs when an individual dies due to the negligence or intentional action of a person or company. It’s helpful to think of it this way: If the deceased person lived, they would have had the right to file a personal injury claim and seek justice for their injuries. With a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members can pursue this right on their behalf.

There are many types of fatal accidents that can be the basis for a wrongful death claim, including:

  • Workplace injuries
  • Car, truck, or Uber accidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents 

No matter what type of accident or injury led to your loved one’s death, you should contact a Carrollton wrongful death lawyer to go over your legal options. They can answer any questions you might have, and their insights may help you decide if you want to pursue a lawsuit.

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

Not everybody can file a wrongful death claim in Texas. According to Texas law, only the following people have the right to bring forth a suit:

  • the deceased person’s surviving spouse
  • children or adopted children of the deceased
  • parents or adoptive parents of the deceased
  • the Executor or Administrator of the Estate of the deceased

No matter what type of accident or injury led to your loved one’s death, you should contact a Carrollton wrongful death lawyer to go over your legal options. They can answer any questions you might have, and their insights may help you decide if you want to pursue a lawsuit.

What Damages Are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Case?

In a successful Texas wrongful death case, “damages”—or the sum of money that is awarded to the surviving family members—can cover tangible losses and intangible losses.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, “damages” refers to the losses incurred by the surviving family members. In a wrongful death case, the survivors of the descendent may be awarded a sum of money to cover the tangible and intangible losses during their time of grief.

This includes immediate costs for funeral arrangements or damages that don’t have a specific monetary value, like emotional and mental anguish after losing a loved one.

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit might include:

  • Lost household earning capacity
  • The medical treatment costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
  • The deceased person’s pre-death “pain and suffering”
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of any inheritance as a result of the death, including what they would have saved or left to surviving family members
  • Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided their surviving family members
  • Loss of love and companionship, and consortium the deceased would have provided their spouse
  • Mental pain and anguish experienced by the surviving family

In some cases, a court might also award “exemplary” or “punitive” damages if the death was a result of an intentional or grossly negligent act. Their aim is not to compensate the family, but to make an example of the negligent party and deter others from engaging in the same behavior.

It’s important to note, that only the surviving family members who are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit may recover compensation, except for heirs, who may recover the value of the decedent’s estate.

Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Case

Before any damages are awarded, the surviving family must prove that the wrongdoer was negligent, and that their negligence caused the death.

In order to make a successful wrongful death claim, these four elements must exist:

  1. Defendant(s) owed a duty to the deceased
  2. The Defendant(s) breached that duty
  3. As a result of the breach, the death was proximately caused by the Defendant(s)
  4. Damages have resulted from the death (which is a given in a death case).

Let’s look at an example of how these four elements come into play:

John Doe was driving his car and approaching an intersection with a green light. As he went through the intersection, a vehicle, driven by Jane, collided with him. When police arrive at the scene, they conduct an investigation and determine that Linda ran a red light.

In the above example, Jane, the defendant, had an obligation to John to obey the ‘Rules of the Road’ and drive carefully while operating a motor vehicle. Jane’s actions (running the red light), establish that she failed to obey the traffic laws and breached the duty of care she owed to John.

The plaintiff must also prove that the death was a direct cause of the defendant’s actions.

An experienced Carrollton wrongful death lawyer will launch a thorough investigation into your loved one’s death. Through their work, they can determine the actual cause and collect all of the vital evidence relating to your case, so that you can get the justice your family deserves. 

Get Justice For Your Loved One By Talking to a Carrollton Wrongful Death Lawyer

Filing a wrongful death claim will never make up for the loss of a loved one. However, it can give you a sense of closure and provide you with the financial resources you need to heal and provide for your family.

At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we’re here to help navigate your legal rights and help you through your toughest times. We understand the complexities of Texas wrongful death laws, we know the system, and we know how to get meaningful results.

Contact us today to discuss your case with a Carrollton wrongful death lawyer.