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Wrongful Death in Texas

When a loved one is killed due the negligence of another, his or her family members may have a claim for wrongful death. It is important to choose a law firm that understands the types of wrongful death damages that can be recovered and how to properly present those damages. Damages that a spouse or family member may suffer include the loss of the decedent’s financial support, loss of inheritance, employer benefits and the pain and suffering or other burdens of the family member as a result of the death.

At Armstrong & Lee LLP, we handle wrongful death cases involving car, truck or train accidents, product defects, workplace injuries, maritime accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, fires and explosions, nursing home negligence, or other catastrophic injuries.

Who can sue for wrongful death in Texas?

Generally, there are two types of wrongful death cases.

The first type of case is one brought for the loss of a child, spouse, or parent for the things they experience as a result of the death of their family member.

  • Loss of a child. If the decedent is a child, the parents can file a lawsuit in Texas. There is perhaps no greater pain to manage than the death of a child. If the child’s death could have been prevented by someone acting with reasonable care, then the pain is magnified. What could have been done differently? How do we make sure those responsible are held accountable?  We help parents and families recover damages for the loss of a child. Although nothing can bring the child back, seeking the maximum recovery for the agony and devastation that families have suffered ensures that the responsible party is held responsible and possibly prevent future deaths.
  • Loss of a spouse.  We help widowed spouses recover for their pain and emotional suffering as well as their spouse’s lost wages and benefits where possible. Each situation is different, and the types of damages that may be available to spouses vary from case to case. We will fight for the maximum recovery.  Our goal is to make your life is as emotionally and financially secure as possible.
  • Loss of a parent.  When tragedy results in the loss of a parent, the children have a claim for wrongful death.  Children can bring suit for their loss of financial support and emotional pain, among other things.

The second type of case is one brought on behalf of the estate of the deceased family member for the things that the person who died experienced and the damages that their estate has suffered.  This type of case is to compensate for the pain and suffering that the person who passed away experienced before they died.

What types of damages are available for wrongful death?

The damages available to children, spouses, and parents of a deceased person include loss of financial support, loss of inheritance, employer benefits, and the pain, suffering, and mental anguish that the family endures as a result of the loss of their loved one.  Family members may also seek recovery for loss of comfort, care, attention, and household services that the deceased person provided.  A jury or other fact finder decides what is a fair and reasonable amount for these damages.  The jury would consider the age of the person who passed away, their earnings and earning potential, the type of work that the person performed, and the relationship and closeness between the family members.

The damages available to the estate of the deceased person include the pain and suffering that the person experienced before they passed away.  The estate’s damages can also include financial obligations the person incurred as a result of the negligence that caused their death.

In appropriate cases, punitive and exemplary damages can also be awarded to punish the defendant for their conduct and attempt to deter similar actions in the future.

Can common-law spouses sue for wrongful death?

Yes, a common law spouse can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death.  Texas makes no difference between couples who were formally married and those who are married by common law.  The factors necessary to prove common law marriage include that the individuals agreed to be married, live together as a married couple, and represent themselves to others as married.

The attorneys at Armstrong & Lee LLP have experience representing common-law spouses and understand the types of evidence and witnesses necessary to prove the existence of the marriage.  We would be glad to speak with you about the unique facts of your case.

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Texas?

The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Texas is two years.  In many wrongful death cases, it is important to act as soon as possible to secure evidence necessary to prove that the defendant caused the family member’s death.

Because situations vary widely, it is important to consult with experienced and capable personal injury attorneys about what rights and remedies you may have. The attorneys at Armstrong & Lee LLP are standing by to help you chart a path forward on your claims relating to the loss of a loved one.  Consultations are always free.  We are standing by, ready to start the process 24-hours a day.