Houston Wrongful Death Law Firm Helping Families Nationwide
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is never fun, but sometimes it is simply the right thing to do. A Houston wrongful death lawyer fights to help families get justice after a loved one is wrongfully taken from them by another party’s negligence. If your spouse, parent, or child has been killed and you suspect that their death was the unnecessary consequence of someone else’s negligence, consult a Houston wrongful death lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury and Accident Lawyers for a free case evaluation to determine your rights. Call 800-298-0001 today. Our personal injury lawyers have helped the heirs and loved ones of victims of numerous wrongful deaths to uncover the truth about their deaths and to obtain a recovery to help offset the past and future costs associated with their tragic loss.
Establishing Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim
As you can imagine, establishing negligence in a wrongful death claim can present a new set of challenges than in a run-of-the-mill personal injury claim. After all, when your loved one died, your star witness was lost. An experienced Houston wrongful death attorney can locate and interview independent eyewitnesses, subpoena videotapes, and reports from the area, and work with investigators to determine the cause of your loss. Acting quickly to preserve evidence is very important. If you suspect a loved one’s death was caused by the negligence of another, family members may have the right to file wrongful death claims and should consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer promptly.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim brought against a person or company that has negligently caused the death of a person. It can involve any type of negligent conduct from misuse of a motor vehicle to on-the-job accidents to dog attacks. Only certain heirs, relatives, and representatives have a right under the law to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent individual.
Wrongful death lawsuits are not the same as the typical personal injury lawsuit. Under Texas wrongful death law, the parties that may bring a claim are defined by statute and there is a different set of damages that may be recovered. It is important that your wrongful death lawyers know the differences and bring a claim on behalf of only those parties entitled to recover. Thus, you need to hire a skilled wrongful death lawyer to give yourself the best opportunity to win your case.
Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Parents, children, and surviving spouses have the right to bring a claim for wrongful death in Texas. A three-month window exists under the Texas Wrongful Death Statute wherein only surviving children, parents, and spouses can file a wrongful death suit following a loved one’s death in Texas. If after the three months is up, none of the above persons have filed a wrongful death in the decedent’s name, the executor or administrator of the estate (who may be an unfamiliar appointee of the Courts) can then file a suit on behalf of the beneficiaries (spouse, children, and dependents). Additionally, the estate of the deceased person has the right to bring a survival cause of action for the personal suffering of the decedent. Wrongful death lawyers can help make this process simple and effective.
Other Relatives and Former Spouses
Surprisingly, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and former spouses of the deceased are not granted a cause of action by the Texas Wrongful Death Statute and they may not sue for the wrongful death of their loved one. (Siblings are granted a cause of action under some other State’s wrongful death statutes.) Under Texas common law, there was no claim for the wrongful death of another. Thus, those people not specifically given rights under the statute have none. However, some of these persons may qualify as heirs to the deceased person’s estate for purposes of survival action. Determining the proper parties in wrongful death cases can be difficult–which is why it is important to consult with a skilled injury law firm that understands wrongful death law.
Why Hire Simmons and Fletcher: Top-Rated Wrongful Death Lawyers in Houston?
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers, we understand that the loss of a loved one is catastrophic. We have been helping families and estates of victims recover from the loss of loved ones since 1979 and we would be honored if you give us the opportunity to represent you. Our accidental death attorneys have decades of experience and will travel across the State of Texas to handle these types of claims and we have even sought and obtained court permission to represent wrongful death victims in other states on some occasions.
Our office is in Houston, Texas, next to Memorial City Mall. We are conveniently located near both Houston and Katy, Texas. Give us a call and let us explain your rights to you. The initial consultation is always free and you don’t pay a dime unless we make a recovery on your behalf. Call us now at 713-932-0777 for more information. You are not alone. Let us help you navigate the legal process.
Never hire a lawyer just because you think he is a “wrongful death lawyer near me.” Hire a lawyer with experience in accidental death claims who knows your case is worth traveling to fight for. Call Simmons and Fletcher today.
What Clients Say About Us
Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ” I cannot express enough what this firm has done for me and my family! From the very beginning my legal assistant, Jeannette, was there to guide me every step of the way. She kept me updated on my case, was prompt, and put my mind at ease by answering all of my questions. I am truly grateful for the compassion and hard work my attorney, Mrs. Cantrell showed me. If you are looking for hard-working and trustworthy, Simmons & Fletcher is the firm for you!” – Miriam F., an actual client.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Claims
Why Do I Need a Skilled Houston Wrongful Death Attorney?
While it is true that no amount of money can bring back your lost loved one, hiring a skilled wrongful death attorney after you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful act of another can not only help provide compensation for the loss and for future needs, but it can also provide closure for the family. Furthermore, bringing a wrongful death lawsuit is a means by which a negligent company actor can be taught a lesson so as not to injure others in the future.
Do Parents Have Claims for Unborn Children in Houston?
The parents of an unborn child are specifically included under the protection of the wrongful death statute and thus, may bring an action for an unborn fetus that dies or fails to be born due to the negligence of another. It does not, however, allow anyone to bring a claim against the mother of the unborn child or against a physician under the following circumstances:
1) if the death is the intended result of a lawful medical procedure performed by the physician or health care provider with the requisite consent;
2) a person who dispenses or administers a drug in accordance with the law, if the death is the result of the dispensation or administration of the drug; or
3) a physician or other health care provider licensed in this state, if the death directly or indirectly is caused by, associated with, arises out of, or relates to a lawful medical or health care practice or procedure of the physician or the health care provider.
The exclusions 1-3 above prevent lawsuits for fetus deaths caused by legally obtained abortions against the mother of the child or the doctor.
Claims for unborn children may be brought when a pregnant mother is in an accident, whether it be a truck accident, car accident, slip and fall accident, or medical malpractice. The right to bring the wrongful death claim belongs to the fetus’ mother and father alone.
What is the Deadline To Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Houston, Texas?
There are two deadlines to be aware of when bringing a wrongful death claim in Texas. The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code gives the surviving spouse, children, and parents of a wrongful death victim, a three-month window in which to bring a cause of action against those who are responsible for the accidental death. Within three months of the loss, only the surviving family members above have the right to bring a lawsuit. After the three-month window, the executor of the estate may bring the claim. Second, a two-year statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the wrongful death. A wrongful death action must be filed by some of the beneficiaries or the estate within two years or the cause of action is forever lost. The surviving spouse, children, parents, and the estate all have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit from the 90th day after the death up until the two-year statute of limitations runs.
Do not hesitate to get legal advice from a Houston wrongful death law firm today. Call 1-800-298-0111 for a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney at a firm in Houston with experience.
What Damages Can a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Pursue?
There exists a wide array of wrongful death damages available in wrongful death claims. Wrongful death beneficiaries may seek all the damages of a normal personal injury lawsuit plus damages to the estate, the familial relationship, and directly to the immediate family members.
Some of those damages include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity – money that the decedent would have reasonably been expected to earn and provide as a means of support to the beneficiaries
- Loss of Household Services – the reasonable value of the services such as chores and assistance that the decedent would have provided to the family had he not been killed
- Loss of Companionship & Society- the reasonable value of the loss of the love, counsel, and emotional support the decedent would have provided to the family
- Mental Anguish – the value of the suffering and anguish you have endured due to the loss of a loved one
- Loss of Inheritance – the value of the assets you would have reasonably anticipated receiving had the loved one lived a full life and passed those things on.
Additionally, you are entitled to seek punitive damages if the wrongful death is caused by the willful act or omission or the gross negligence of the defendant.
Furthermore, survival action damages are available to the estate of the deceased person.
What Does a Wrongful Death Attorney in Houston Cost?
A wrongful death attorney can be retained on a contingency fee contract so that it costs you nothing unless the attorney wins your case and you recover damages. This usually runs between 33.33% if the case settles without a lawsuit and 40% if a lawsuit must be filed and remains the same so long as there is no appeal of any judgment. Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and options at 1-800-298-0111.
For What Types of Cases Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Brought?
All the causes of personal injuries that may be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit may also be the causes of wrongful death claims. So any injury caused by another that results in a death opens up the possibility of a wrongful death claim assuming there is a surviving wrongful death beneficiary to bring it. The most common types of accidents resulting in wrongful death claims are car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, on-the-job injuries, pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, medical malpractice, product liability claims, and animal attacks. Additionally, they may be the result of conduct that is punishable under both criminal and civil law.
Understanding Survival Claims vs Wrongful Death Claims
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and a Survival Claim?
A wrongful death cause of action is a legal action brought for the damage done to specifically defined relatives as a result of causing their loved one’s death. A survival action is a lawsuit brought to recover the personal injury damages of a person who died in conjunction with or subsequent to his/her injuries. The right to bring a survival action is created by statute and given to a defined set of people.
What Do Survival Statutes Do?
Survival statutes are laws passed to prevent the extinguishing of a personal injury victim’s cause of action upon his death. At common law, a personal injury claim was considered personal. As a result, the death of an individual resulted in the claim for personal injuries being extinguished. This created the ironic situation where it was to the advantage of a negligent actor to cause the death of someone rather than just cause injury to someone since that would relieve the negligent actor of liability. Many state legislatures decided early on that an individual who negligently or recklessly causes someone else’s death should not benefit from those actions to the detriment of the victim. In order to prevent this, the legislatures of most states adopted survival statutes.
What is the Texas Survival Statute?
The Texas Survival Statute can be found in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.021. The Texas Survival Statute reads as follows:
- (a) A cause of action for personal injury to the health, reputation, or person of an injured person does not abate because of the death of the injured person or because of the death of a person liable for the injury.
- (b) A personal injury action survives to and in favor of the heirs, legal representatives, and estate of the injured person. The action survives against the liable person and the person’s legal representatives.
- (c) The suit may be instituted and prosecuted as if the liable person were alive.
Thus, under the Texas Survival Statute, the death of a person does not result in his personal injury cause of action dying with him. Rather, the cause of action for his right to pursue losses including pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, past medical expenses, physical impairment, scarring, disfigurement, etc. is preserved like a property right and passed onto the heirs, legal representatives, and estate of the deceased person. Furthermore, the injuries can but do not have to be the cause of the death—unlike the wrongful death statute.
Talk to a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
Don’t let time run out on your claim. If you have had a loved one wrongfully taken from you due to someone else’s negligence, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers for a free consultation. Learn your legal rights and options with no obligation. if we take on your case, you pay no attorney fees or attorney expenses unless you win. Talk to a personal injury lawyer in Houston today by calling 800-298-0111.