The tragic loss of a loved one is a difficult time for you and your family, and you may have questions about your rights. My lawyers are here to help.
You might be able to file a wrongful death claim if a person’s negligence or intentional misconduct caused your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one died in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver, because of a dangerous roadway, or because of a defective vehicle, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The accident that caused your loved one’s wrongful death need not be a motor vehicle accident, however. You could file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died while on the job because of unsafe conditions at his or her workplace. If your loved one died while at a business, such as an amusement park, that he or she was visiting you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You could file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died while shopping for groceries or at a restaurant if unsafe conditions at the premises led to his or her death. If your loved one died in a drowning accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim against the owner of the premises on which your loved one drowned. Or if your loved one died from a gunshot because the gun’s owner did not properly store his or her gun, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Tragic accidents can give you the right to file a wrongful death cause of action. But you may also be able to file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died because of a serious illness, like lung cancer or mesothelioma. If your loved one died because his or her doctor committed medical malpractice, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim.
But wrongful death claims can also be based on intentional misconduct. Even if there is a criminal case, such as manslaughter, against the person or persons who caused your loved ones’ wrongful death, you may still file a civil suit for wrongful death. If your loved one died because of a drunk driving accident, even if your loved one was a passenger in the drunk driver’s vehicle, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver. You can file a wrongful death suit if your loved one was elderly or infirm and died from neglect or intentional abuse while in a nursing home or under another type of hospice care. Also, you may still be able to bring a wrongful death claim even if your loved one signed a release or some other paperwork that seems to excuse the negligence or misconduct of the person who caused your loved one’s wrongful death.
You may be wondering who can sue for wrongful death in Texas. If you are the surviving spouse, child, and parent of the deceased, you may bring a cause of action for wrongful death. In Texas, parents may bring a wrongful death claim based on the death of their unborn child or newborn baby.
Many factors deterime how much you can recover in wrongful death cases. You may be able to recover damages for the funeral expenses, and for the lost earning capacity, care, maintenance, services, support, and advice that your loved one would have provided to you and your family. Wrongful death damages may also include your mental and emotional anguish, pain, lost love, companionship, and comfort. Any lost inheritance, including what your loved one would likely have left to his or her surviving family members if he or she had lived to a normal expected lifetime, may also be included in calculating wrongful death damages. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to recover punitive, or exemplary, damages in your wrongful death lawsuit.
But even if you are not the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased you may be able to bring a survival action. The representative of the deceased’s estate could bring a survival action if the negligence of misconduct of another person caused the deceased to suffer before he or she died. Survival actions are brought on behalf of the deceased to recover the pain and suffering associated with the injury that caused his or her death. If the deceased left no will, the surviving beneficiaries could determine who will act as the representative. So, if you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or even close friend of the deceased, you may be able to file a survival action on his or her behalf. Damages for survival actions include any pain and suffering the deceased experienced before he or she died and for the deceased’s medical expenses. Like wrongful death claims, under certain circumstances, you may be able to recover punitive, or exemplary, damages in a survival action.
You probably have many more questions about how wrongful death cases and survival actions work. How do I file a wrongful death lawsuit? How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit? How long does it take to settle a wrongful death case? How long does it take to go to trial if my wrongful death claim does not settle? What do I need to do to prove my wrongful death claim? How much is my wrongful death case worth? What if there is a Medicare lien? In survival actions, how are damages paid to the deceased’s estate? Will a case in probate court impact my wrongful death case? Who pays for damages in a wrongful death suit? My lawyers can help answer these, and any other questions, you have about your case.