Wrongful Death Cases in Texas
Losing a loved one is an extremely painful experience. It can be even more painful, however, if he or she died because of someone else’s negligence, legally called wrongful death. If you lost a loved one because of another person’s unintentional or intentional negligence, the Texas wrongful death attorney at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death
It is more difficult in wrongful death cases to determine who has the right to file a claim. In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, and parents can file a wrongful death claim and may file individually or as a group.
If the surviving spouse, children, or parents do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the loved one’s death, the person who represents the deceased’s estate may file. The only reason the representative could not file after this time is if the surviving spouse, children, or parents specifically request that the representative does not pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
In Texas, an adopted child has the same right to file as a biological child, as long as the parents had legally adopted him or her. An adopted child cannot file a claim for a biological parent if another family legally adopted him or her.
Texas law does not allow siblings to file for the wrongful death of a brother or sister, regarding both adopted siblings and biological siblings.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The potential damages are slightly different in wrongful death cases than they are in standard personal injury cases. Texas courts can award damages for the deceased’s lost earning capacity and any lost inheritance that family members would have received if he or she were still alive.
Wrongful death damages also address emotional difficulties more than other personal injury cases. The family can receive compensation for any lost care, support, advice, and counsel that the deceased person would have provided them. The court can also award damages for lost love, companionship, comfort, and society. Additionally, the court can order the defendant to compensate the family for any mental and emotional pain that they suffered because of the wrongful death of the loved one.
Some Texas wrongful death cases also involve exemplary damages. The court awards exemplary damages when a willful act, omission, or gross negligence caused the wrongful death. Exemplary damages are more about punishing the defendant than compensating for the family’s pain and suffering.
Once the court has decided on the amount of damages the defendant must pay, the court splits the money between the family members. The court determines how much each person will receive in compensation based on how much pain and suffering they have experienced because of the wrongful death.
Texas Statute of Limitations
For any wrongful death case, there is a statute of limitations that determines how long after an incident someone can wait until he or she is no longer eligible to file a claim. In Texas, the court allows you two years after a wrongful death to file a claim. There are a few exceptions to this statute of limitations, so always speak with a Texas wrongful death lawyer before making any assumptions.
Texas Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one because of another person’s intentional or unintentional negligence, you need help from an experienced attorney with a thorough knowledge of Texas wrongful death laws. The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., can give you guidance. We will represent you and fight for the court to award you damages so you can begin to move on from this tragedy. Contact our lawyers today for a consultation.