Accidents happen all the time, often as the result of another person’s negligence or poor decision-making. If you have lost a loved one because of the actions of someone else, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. Each state has different rules and regulations in place regarding who can file a wrongful death suit. In Texas, the parents, children, and spouse of the deceased may have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim. It is important to keep in mind that it was not always this way. Prior to the Wrongful Death Act, the spouses, parents, and children of those killed in accidents could not sue for damages.
Understanding Wrongful Death in Texas
According to Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death claims can be filed by the parents, children, and spouse of the deceased person, as long as their death was caused by the wrongful act, carelessness, neglect, or unskillfulness of another person. So, if you lose your spouse, parent, or child in an 18-wheeler accident, because of a defective product, or an explosion at a construction site, you can pursue damages.
It is important to note that, in some cases, an adopted child may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This is only the case if the adoption was legal and fully completed. With this, adoptive parents may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim for their adopted child. Unfortunately, according to Texas law, the surviving siblings of a deceased individual cannot file a wrongful death claim.
Seeking Damages in Wrongful Death
The damages that will be awarded in a wrongful death claim will depend on the type of accident and the circumstances surrounding the case. In many cases, the damages awarded will depend on the claimant – spouse, parent, or child. Some of the most common damages include:
- Mental anguish – Which includes emotional pain, torment, and suffering
- Financial losses – This includes the loss of the deceased person’s earning capacity as well as the value of care, maintenance, support, advice, or counsel he or she would have given the family
- Loss of inheritance – This refers to what a spouse, child, or parent would have received from the deceased person, should he or she had lived a normal expected lifetime
- Other losses – These include the loss of love, comfort, and companionship
In Texas, the compensation awarded will usually be given out to each one of the approved family members. Depending on the case, a judge or jury will determine how the compensation is divided up. Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of the person’s death. This is a very strict statute of limitations that should not be ignored. Because of this, it is very important you discuss your case with an experienced Dallas wrongful death attorney right away. We will go over your case with you and help you determine what the next steps are. We understand how sensitive these cases can be and are here to help you recover damages for your losses. Please contact a Dallas personal injury lawyer from Rad Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.