The loss of a loved one is an unimaginable tragedy, a void that words can hardly describe. When that loss is sudden and unexpected, the emotional toll can be overwhelming. Picture a normal day turned upside down—perhaps it’s a devastating car accident on a busy Texas freeway or a fatal workplace incident that could have been prevented. These aren’t just accidents; they are life-altering events that leave families grappling with immense sorrow and countless questions.
The challenges that follow are not just emotional but also legal and financial burdens. How do you even begin to seek justice for your loved one while dealing with your own grief? It’s a path no one should take, yet it remains a reality. With complex Texas laws and regulations, it may seem impossible to understand how to proceed with your wrongful death claim. That is where a dependable Texas wrongful death attorney steps in.
At Simmons & Fletcher, P.C., we understand the gravity of what you’re going through. With over 40 years of legal experience in the state of Texas, we’re well-versed in the laws and regulations that pertain to wrongful death claims. No amount of money can bring back your loved one, but we can advocate on your behalf, wielding together our compassion and deep-rooted legal knowledge so you can take your first steps toward finding some form of closure.
Contact us today to speak with one of our Texas wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Texas
When a loved one’s life is abruptly taken due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, Texas law provides a pathway for surviving family members to seek justice. This legal avenue is known as a wrongful death claim. It’s a civil action separate from any criminal charges that may also be filed against the responsible party.
According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.001, a wrongful death occurs when a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” causes the death of another person. This broad definition encompasses various scenarios, from car and truck accidents to medical malpractice, defective products, and workplace incidents.
It’s crucial to note that the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas is generally two years from the date of death. However, there are exceptions which may include:
- Minor Children: If the surviving family members are minor children, the statute may be extended until they reach the age of majority.
- Discovery Rule: In some cases, the cause of death is not immediately known. The statute may begin from the date the cause of death is discovered.
- Criminal Cases: If a criminal case is also being pursued, the statute may be tolled until the criminal case is resolved.
While no amount of compensation can replace your loved one, a successful wrongful death claim may provide financial relief for medical expenses, loss of income, and emotional suffering. At Simmons & Fletcher, P.C., a Texas wrongful death lawyer can guide you through this complex legal process, ensuring that you understand your rights and options every step of the way.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Not everyone is legally entitled to file a wrongful death claim. In Texas, the law stipulates that only certain family members may bring forth such a claim. Under Texas law, the following individuals are eligible:
- Surviving spouse;
- Children, including adopted children;
- Parents of the deceased.
If these immediate family members do not file a claim within three months of the death, the executor of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim unless a family member specifically requests that no claim be filed.
In circumstances like these, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Texas wrongful death attorney to understand your eligibility and the potential complexities involved.
Understanding Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
In the aftermath of a tragic incident, understanding the legal jargon can be overwhelming. Yet, it’s crucial to know what you may be entitled to in your wrongful death claim. Damages in a wrongful death case can be broadly categorized into two types: economic and non-economic damages.
- Lost Earnings: Compensation for the income the deceased would have earned had they lived.
- Medical Expenses: Costs incurred for medical care provided to the deceased before their death.
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: Costs associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members.
- Loss of Companionship: Compensation for the loss of love, companionship, and guidance.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of marital relations.
- Mental Anguish: Compensation for the emotional distress suffered by the surviving family members.
In some cases, Texas law allows for the awarding of punitive damages, which are intended to “punish” the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.
If your family’s life has been turned upside-down by the negligent loss of life of one of your loved ones, talk to one of out Texas wrongful death attorneys about your rights today. Call 800-298-0111 now.