What You Should Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas
- November 26, 2019
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According to the Texas Statutes section 71.001, wrongful death is a civil action that is defined as a wrongful act committed due to carelessness and neglect. It’s brought when the negligence of one party causes the death of another.
Wrongful death claims are not only limited to auto accidents and medical malpractice, but also encompass assault and battery, manslaughter, and murder. The blog will discuss how the state law of Texas handles wrongful death claims.
Statute of limitations
In Texas, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the death of the victim. However, there are some exceptions that allow the plaintiffs to pursue the case, such as:
- The plaintiff is a minor child.
- The negligence of the named defendants wasn’t identified.
- The plaintiff suffered from a mental or physical impairment.
- The lawsuit couldn’t be filed due to fraud.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not every individual can pursue a wrongful death claim. In order to file a claim, the plaintiff must be the surviving spouse, biological child, legally adopted child, parent(s), adoptive parent(s), or representative of the estate of the diseased.
The wrongful death claim is not a criminal case, but a civil matter. Hence, you can file a wrongful death claim irrespective of the fact that whether criminal charges are filed against the defendant or not.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claim
In Texas, the plaintiff can obtain several kinds of damages. Firstly, they will recover damages that the victim may be entitled to obtain. This may include medical expenses, lost wages funeral expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
Secondly, the plaintiff may obtain damages in respect of the losses that they have incurred due to the wrongful death, including but not limited to, emotional suffering, lost support and care, lost earning capacity, among others.
Finally, the plaintiff may also be awarded exemplary damages in a Texas wrongful death claim. These punitive damages are handed out in case of gross negligence in order to set an example out of the defendant.
For a wrongful death claim to be successful, the plaintiff must prove the negligence of the defendant. It includes providing either they did something that they should’ve have done or vice versa. The four elements that the plaintiff must prove are:
- A legal duty was owed
- The legal duty was breached
- The breach caused an actual injury
- The monetary damages occurred due to the injury
Need a lawyer?
We understand that when you lose someone you love, it can be an overwhelmingly difficult and upsetting time. You may not be in the best frame of mind to make a decision that’s in your best interests.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side to protect your legal rights. They will evaluate the case and suggest the best possible outcome.
If you’re based in Richmond, Texas and want to learn more about the laws in wrongful death claims in Texas, contact us today! At The Estes Law Firm, we’ve got a team of experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer Richmond who can provide you all the answers you need.
If you want to discuss your case in detail, give us a call at (713) 533-8895 to schedule a free consultation.