Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things imaginable. It can be especially devastating when their death was the result of the negligent actions of another.
There is no way to turn back time and undo the actions that resulted in your loved one’s death. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can allow you to hold the responsible party accountable and provide valuable compensation to help you recover and move forward in the aftermath of their passing.
Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit is complicated, and we understand you may have some questions. Below are some frequently asked questions about wrongful death in Texas. When you are ready to discuss your potential claim, contact the Texas wrongful death attorneys at Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP, and see how we can help you move forward today.
1. What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Texas?
Under Texas law, a wrongful death occurs when an injury causes an individual’s death and the underlying injury was caused by the wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default of another. A wrongful death action must be brought by a loved one on the deceased’s behalf.
2. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
Only specific individuals may bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one. Texas law specifies that a wrongful death action is for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. However, if none of the parties permitted to file such an action do so within three months after the death of the injured individual, the deceased’s executor or administrator may do so.
3. Who Can Be Held Liable for Wrongful Death in Texas?
Any person whose wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default results in another person’s death may be liable in a wrongful death action. The Texas wrongful death statute defines “person” as “an individual, association of individuals, joint-stock company, or corporation,” or a trustee of one of these. Thus, both individuals and entities can be held liable for wrongful death in Texas.
4. What Are the Elements of a Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a type of negligence claim. To win on a negligence claim, you must prove four elements: (1) that one party owed a legal duty to another, (2) someone breached that legal duty, (3) the breach of that duty caused an injury, and (4) the injury resulted in damages. In a wrongful death claim, the injury must also result in death.
5. What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is two years. This means that any person entitled to file suit must typically do so within two years from the date of their loved one’s death. Failure to do so can result in forfeiting your claim entirely. Thus, be sure to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as practicable to preserve your rights and remedies.
6. How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take in Texas?
How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take in Texas? No two wrongful death lawsuits are the same. Thus, the amount of time it takes to resolve will vary from case to case. Some that reach an early settlement resolution may take a matter of months. However, it is not uncommon for a wrongful death lawsuit to last multiple years.
7. What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Examples of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit include compensation to the deceased’s survivor(s) for:
- Loss of financial support;
- Loss of inheritance;
- Employer benefits;
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish endured; and
- Loss of comfort, care, attention, and household services that the deceased provided during their lifetime.
Additionally, in certain limited circumstances where the death was the result of the willful act, omission, or gross negligence of the defendant, exemplary damages may also be recovered.
8. What Is the Average Payout for a Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
There is no accurate average payout for a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. This is because the amount of damages available will vary depending on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding each case. If you are wondering what damages you may be entitled to recover, speak with one of our Texas wrongful death attorneys today.
9. How Is an Award of Damages from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Divided?
Any damages awarded at the conclusion of a Texas wrongful death lawsuit will be divided among all individuals identified in the lawsuit entitled to recover who are alive at that time. The jury will determine the proportion and division of shares. It is also important to note that any damages recovered through a Texas wrongful death action are not subject to the debts of the deceased individual.
10. Do I Really Need a Lawyer for My Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
There is no requirement that you must hire an attorney for your Texas wrongful death lawsuit. That said, doing so is often one of the most important steps you can take for your case. When dealing with such a complex and emotionally charged process, having an experienced legal professional in your corner can go a long way toward getting you the results you need and deserve.
Contact the Wrongful Death Attorneys at Armstrong Lee & Baker Today
Navigating a wrongful death action is never easy, but you don’t have to go through this process alone. When you are not sure where to turn, know that you can put your trust in Armstrong Lee & Baker.
Our wrongful death attorneys will fight zealously for your rights with compassion and commitment at every step along the way. We understand the devastating emotional and financial burden losing a loved one can have, and we want to help you get what you deserve so that you can move on with your life.
Contact our team for a free consultation and see how we can help you recover today.