Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer
Houston Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death occurs anytime someone is killed due to the negligence of another person or company. If your spouse, parent or child has been killed and you suspect that their death was the unnecessary consequence of someone else’s negligence, you should always consult a wrongful death lawyer to look into the circumstances as soon as possible.
We understand that your life has been devastated and forever altered by the actions of some careless individual or corporation that placed your loved one in harm’s way. We understand that you are grieving a precious loss. However, you need to be aware that the sooner you give a Texas wrongful death lawyer the opportunity to start investigating why your loved one was killed and the underlying facts and circumstances that led to their wrongful death, the more likely we are to be able to uncover the truth before the responsible parties can hide the truth, “lawyer up’ if the actions were criminal, or even destroy or dispose critical evidence.
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we realize that no amount of money can ever replace your loss. But, we have helped the heirs and loved ones of victims of numerous wrongful deaths uncover the truth about their death and obtain a recovery to help offset the past and future costs and income loss associated with their loss.
Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
Parents, Children and Spouse as Wrongful Death Beneficiaries
In short, 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 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) and take control of the investigation. Additionally, the decedent’s estate has the right to bring a survival cause of action for the personal suffering of the decedent. Consulting an accidental death attorney can help make this process simple and effective.
Other Relatives and Former Spouses
Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and former spouses of the deceased are not granted a cause of action by the Texas Wrongful Death Statute. (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 not specifically given rights under the statute have none. However, some of these persons may qualify as heirs to the estate for purposes of a survival action. Our Houston wrongful death attorneys can help you understand this further.
Parents Claims for Unborn Children
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 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 due 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 an auto accident, slip and fall or other accident. The right to bring the claim belongs to the fetus’ mother and father alone.
What is the Deadline To Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are two dates to be aware of. Texas Law 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. During this period, they and they alone 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 lawsuit must be filed by some of the beneficiaries or the estate during this time 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 2 year statute of limitations runs.
Damages a Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Pursue
There exists a wide array of damages that may be sought in a wrongful death claim. 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 Society & Companionship – 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 have anticipated receiving had the loved one lived a full life and passed those things on
Additionally, you are entitled to seek punitive/exemplary damages if the wrongful death is caused by the willful act or omission or the gross negligence of the defendant.
Furthermore, the estate has the right to bring a survival action.
Accidental Death Attorney in Houston to Serve You
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we understand that the loss of a loved one is catastrophic. We have helped numerous families and estates of victims recover millions from the loss of a loved one since the 1970’s and we would be honored if you give us the opportunity to represent you. Our accidental death attorneys 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 on other states on some occasions.
Our office is in Houston, Texas, next to Memorial City Mall. We are conveniently located near to 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.