A “personal injury” occurs when one party’s actions harm another party, and a “wrongful death” occurs whenever a victim of such an incident does not survive the encounter. Wrongful death claims mirror personal injury claims in some procedural respects, but these two types of cases are distinct from one another and pertain to different damages. For example, if your family recently lost a loved one due to an act of negligence, disregard for others’ safety, or intentional misconduct, you likely have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.
Stevenson & Murray is an experienced team of attorneys who routinely assist clients with difficult wrongful death claims. Whether your loved one died due to an act of intentional harm from another party, a workplace accident, or an act of negligence, it is essential to understand the special rules that apply to wrongful death claims and what you need to do to file your claim successfully.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in the state is two years from the date of the death. This time limit may seem like plenty of time in which to file your case, but it is vital to connect with a reliable attorney as soon as possible and start building your case to have the best chance of winning. If the cause of your loved one’s death cannot be immediately determined, the statute of limitations may “toll” or pause until the cause of death is discovered.
The initial aftermath of any unexpected death can be incredibly difficult for any family. You may not know immediately how or why the death occurred, and addressing the many effects the death is likely to cause for your family can be very challenging while struggling with the emotional side of the situation. Your wrongful death attorney will be invaluable for helping you prove exactly how the death occurred and the scope of the resulting damages.
Proving Fault for Wrongful Death
Time is a critical factor in any wrongful death claim, but it is an especially important consideration when the cause of the death in question isn’t immediately clear. Connecting with legal representation you can trust as soon as possible significantly improves your chances of reaching a positive outcome in your claim. Your legal team will have more time to compile the evidence needed to prove liability for the death in question, and they will also be more likely to uncover every available channel of compensation for your family.
Stevenson & Murray develops comprehensive wrongful death claims on behalf of our clients. We can help you understand the legal mechanisms in play and what you can expect as your case unfolds. Meeting the statute of limitations is just the first step toward success with your wrongful death action, and our team is ready to provide ongoing support through all the proceedings you face.
FAQs About Texas Wrongful Death Law
Q: Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Texas?
A: The right to file a wrongful death claim falls to the victim’s surviving spouse, children, and parents, and the family may select a single personal representative of the deceased to represent the family in their wrongful death case. If the deceased had an estate plan in place, it might include their preference for who they wish to act as their personal representative and/or the executor of their estate.
Q: Who Receives the Case Award From a Successful Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
A: While a personal injury case focuses on the victim’s damages, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the losses the victim’s family suffered. In the state, the case award from a successful wrongful death claim will go to the surviving family of the deceased, such as their spouse and children. If the deceased did not have any immediate family, their personal representative might still recover damages suffered by the estate, but the total recovery they can claim will be limited.
Q: Will the Defendant in a Wrongful Death Case Face Jail Time?
A: It is possible for the defendant responsible for causing a wrongful death to go to jail if the behavior that caused the death in question exceeded the scope of typical negligence or if they acted with the intent to harm the victim. For example, if a driver causes a fatal accident due to driving while intoxicated (DWI), they face heightened penalties for DWI and may face a criminal negligence and/or vehicular manslaughter charge. However, if the death occurred because of unskillfulness, carelessness, or general negligence of any kind, it is unlikely that the defendant will go to jail.
Q: How Much Is a Wrongful Death Claim Worth in Texas?
A: The total value of a wrongful death claim depends on the severity of the death’s economic impact on the surviving family, the manner in which the defendant caused the death, and various other factors. When it comes to economic damages, the plaintiff can seek lost financial support and household services provided by the deceased, and the surviving family can also claim compensation for the pain and suffering from the unexpected death.
Q: Is It Really Necessary to Hire a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney?
A: There may not be a strict rule that you must hire an attorney for your impending wrongful death claim, but reliable legal counsel is invaluable in any wrongful death case. Your legal team can make the emotional aspect of your case easier to manage by handling your legal affairs so your family can mourn in peace. An experienced attorney is also ideal for maximizing your case award. The compensation you receive cannot return your loved one to you, but it can make your family’s adjustment to your new reality a bit easier to manage.
Stevenson & Murray understands how difficult it can be to approach a wrongful death claim in the aftermath of an unexpected death. However, with ongoing support and guidance, we can help you address the challenges and obstacles you face in your wrongful death proceedings as effectively as possible. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our team and learn more about how a wrongful death attorney can assist your family in this difficult time.