Regardless of the circumstances, the loss of a loved one is arguably the most painful experience in a person’s life. Losing a loved one due to wrongful death can make the grief all the more difficult to endure. If someone’s negligent actions caused injuries that resulted in your loved one’s death, then that may be considered “wrongful death”. In these cases, the surviving family members generally have the right to pursue legal action. The laws vary quite a bit from state to state, however. Therefore, consulting with one of the knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys from Stevenson & Murray is in your best interest. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
Enduring the loss of a loved one due to wrongful death is one of the most trying circumstances that one can go through. All of the emotions you are likely feeling may seem insurmountable and suffocating. You should spend your energy attending to you and your family’s needs in order to start the healing process. Do not add the stress of pursuing a wrongful death claim alone — you already have so much to contend with. Allow one of our local Houston wrongful death attorneys to help take some of the stress off when it comes to pursuing appropriate compensation in a wrongful death claim.
The strongest defense a family has in a wrongful death claim is an experienced wrongful death attorney. Since opening our doors, we have dedicated our careers to building a sterling reputation out of successfully representing wrongfully injured victims and their families. We are here to help during this difficult time and go to great lengths to get our clients justice. Our attorneys advocate for our clients, defending their rights, and we can do the same for you. By providing us with the details of your case, we can identify your options and start working on your claim. The last thing you want to do is wait to contact us.
When someone’s negligence or misconduct causes someone’s death, the remaining survivors or family members may file a wrongful death claim against the parties responsible. The claim then seeks to compensate the claimants for their losses, including the loss of wages and companionship, as well as funeral and medical expenses. Once approved, settlement money is paid to surviving spouses, parents, children, or to the estate.
Some of the most common wrongful death claims in Texas occur as a result of negligence, car accidents, drunk driving, manslaughter, assault and battery, and murder. In the US, common wrongful death claims include truck and bicycle accidents, defective products, and work-related accidents or construction-work accidents.
Work-related wrongful death claims are often filed due to railroad worker injuries, manufacturing accidents, barge and towboat accidents, transportation industry accidents in general, and asbestos and mesothelioma diagnosis. Other reasons for wrongful death claims include nursing home abuse and medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims often cite such negligent acts as misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose and surgical errors or mistakes made during treatment as responsible for the wrongful death of a victim.
To prove wrongful death, the party filing the claim must prove to the court that the defendant had a duty to care for the wrongful death victim’s safety. By their negligence, they did not follow their duty, and as a result, the victim died. This is often difficult to prove, especially when insurance companies are involved because they are in the business of dismissing and diminishing claims. This is one reason a wrongful death attorney is so important to have by your side.
Other reasons you need a Houston attorney who is educated in Texas wrongful death laws with successful past claim experience include:
During your wrongful death case, the law will often take age into account when it assesses the survivor’s losses. Due to the fact that your loved one cannot be replaced, the law is at a disadvantage to truly compensate you for the loss. Money is one measure that the legal system can objectively use to reflect what has been lost.
When an adult suffers a wrongful death, it is usually easier to calculate what the economic losses would be to survivors and can compensate accordingly. It is much more challenging to quantify the loss of a newborn, a child, or an elderly family member, as it largely comes down to the loss of companionship and love. Due to these and other contributing factors, the amount of awarded compensation and how it is determined will vary from case to case.
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one due to wrongful death, the last thing you may want to think about is how your legal rights are affected. The unfortunate truth is, however, that the law allows legal action to be taken only for a limited period of time after an incident involving wrongful death. This time period is called the statute of limitations. When this period has elapsed, you will no longer have the option of filing a lawsuit. Further, the specific statutes of limitations for filing will vary from state to state. For this reason alone, it is highly recommended that you seek professional Houston wrongful death attorneys if you are thinking about pursuing a legal claim.
The “Discovery Rule” can ultimately affect when the above statute of limitations clock starts ticking. Typically, that clock starts from the time of the incident. However, say for example that your loved one did not realize he or she was injured from the incident until it was too late. If this is the case, then the statutes of limitations clock begins upon the discovery of the injury — not the time of the incident. That being said, this is only an option in states that recognize the Discovery Rule. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you determine state-specific rules and regulations that apply to you and your case.
Legal actions for wrongful death are often complex, especially when the harmful acts of several parties are contributing factors in an individual’s death. Some parties may settle the matter before the case goes to trial while others may want to contest the claim and see a case all the way to an end verdict. No matter who the defendant is, the amount and type of financial recovery the plaintiff can make depends on the law of the state in which the case takes place.
When going through such a traumatic circumstance, there are many resources you can try in order to start pursuing legal action — as well as the healing process. The following are some helpful links on the subject of wrongful death that you may find useful:
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
This governmental agency, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), provides comprehensive information on workplace safety and health. This could be a useful resource if your loved one suffered a wrongful death while he or she was at work.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA is part of the U.S. Department of Labor. It is responsible for protecting all employees of the United States by proposing and enforcing workplace safety and health measures. This is another helpful resource for those pursuing a wrongful death claim for a loved one who suffered a wrongful death in the workplace.
Medline Plus: Grief
While it is a difficult thing to face, it is important to pay attention and take care of yourself in the event that you lose a loved one. In order to effectively start a healthy grieving process, do not bottle up emotions, but rather find an outlet to release them. This website explores the stages and effects of grief and provides helpful information about how to take the first steps.
The CDC offers numerous links to information on how environmental factors like hazardous waste, carbon monoxide and asbestos can affect your health. If your loved one suffered a wrongful death due to harmful chemical exposure, this could be a useful resource to reference.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
This governmental agency provides information on recalled, potentially dangerous products and offers safety tips for the home. If your loved one suffered a wrongful death due to a malfunctioning or otherwise defective product, this could be an important resource to check.
A: While there is no average amount for a wrongful death lawsuit because cases vary so significantly from one to the next, the families of most wrongful death victims receive anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000. Many final settlement awards are kept confidential, but we do know of some claims that were awarded to be as much as tens of millions of dollars.
A: The statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of death. There are some workarounds and exceptions to this law, which is why it is important to speak to a knowledgeable Houston wrongful death attorney who is educated on Texas wrongful death laws.
A: The most critical evidence in a wrongful death claim is the medical records of the deceased. These records can reveal the cause of death and provide necessary definitive proof that their death could have been prevented. Furthermore, the information must be accurately reviewed by legal professionals to find indications that confirm the deceased’s death was the direct result of the defending party’s negligence.
A: In cases unrelated to a medical malpractice claim, there isn’t a cap on wrongful death settlements in Texas. Medical malpractice claims, however, are a complicated area and involve caps on non-economic damages but not on punitive or economic damages. Economic damages are end-of-life medical expenses, losses of wages and potential future wages, and funeral expenses. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where gross negligence is found to be responsible for the death of the victim and is more so a way to punish the defendant. Non-economic damages include loss of companionship, loss of assistance in raising the family, and loss of consortium, as well as mental pain and suffering and other things that you cannot specify a dollar value for. Thus, the cap for punitive damages is in total $750,000 (that is $250,000 per individual, hospital, or facility).
If you have suffered the death of a loved one, then you may feel like your whole world is coming down around you. It is an unfortunate, emotional and overwhelming position to be in — and often, an entirely preventable one. Take comfort in knowing that there are professionals who can fight by your side. Any of our local Houston wrongful death attorneys know what it takes to secure you and your family’s future.
If you have questions about a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, we encourage you to contact the Houston law office of Stevenson & Murray, Attorneys at Law today to discuss your rights and legal options in a free consultation. During this initial meeting, you can sit down with a leading personal injury and wrongful death trial attorney to go over your case and discuss what steps to take next. Call today to see how we can help you.
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