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Wrongful Death

When the worst has happened, the wrongful death attorney at Dibrell Graham Law ensure that families get the greatest possible financial compensation.

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Texas Wrongful Death Attorney

When the worst has happened, the wrongful death attorney at Dibrell Graham Law ensure that families get the greatest possible financial compensation. While no amount of money can ever bring back the spouse or child who was lost, it can bring some justice.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

Many accidents leave somebody injured, either with relatively minor sprains or fractures or serious injuries, such as those to the spinal cord, a major organ, or the brain. In either case, when the injury is the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, the injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit. When the injury is fatal, it becomes a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil cause of action, meaning the goal is to recover monetary damages. There may also be a separate criminal charge.. However, even if a perpetrator was acquitted of manslaughter or homicide, they can still be held legally responsible for the financial harm they caused. In a wrongful death lawsuit, certain family members can seek compensation that allows them to have a more financially secure future. Specifically, Texas law states that a person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.

Specifically, Texas law states “A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”

A wrongful death lawsuit may arise from negligence, careless behavior or an intentional act that leads to a death in cases of:

  • 18-wheeler collisions
  • Tanker truck collisions
  • Company vehicle collisions
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect incidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents; including passenger cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks
  • Boating accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products liability
  • Property liability
  • Bicycle or pedestrian accidents

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Under Texas law, the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, siblings and grandparents are unable to file a claim; nor can stepparents, foster parents, former spouses, aunts or uncles, cousins or stepchildren who were not legally adopted by the decedent.

If a person who is permitted under Texas law to file a lawsuit does not do so, the executor or personal representative of the estate may file on behalf of the legally recognized beneficiaries.

In addition to wrongful death lawsuits, survival action may also be filed in cases where the decedent experienced suffering and pain before passing away. Any damages (financial compensation) awarded by the court in a survival lawsuit that do not go directly to surviving family members are distributed among the decedent’s estate. A legally recognized entity can file a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action, or both.

What is the deadline to file a wrongful death claim?

The deadline for filing depends on several factors and generally starts not from the date of the accident, but from the date of death.

  • There is a time limit for filing a claim that starts from the date of the wrongful death. Specifically, the Texas statute of limitations states, “A person must bring suit not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues in an action for injury resulting in death. The cause of action accrues on the death of the injured person.” Missing the two-year window means losing the ability to file a wrongful death claim. There are several exceptions to this statute. Contact Dibrell Graham Law today for a free consultation.

What types of compensation can be pursued in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit?

“Compensatory damages” are the monetary award made to surviving family members in a wrongful death lawsuit and include:

  • Loss of earning capacity: Income that the decedent would have been reasonably expected to make
  • Loss of earnings: This is different from loss of earning capacity and refers to loss of actual income
  • Funeral costs: If paid by a decedent’s surviving family member
  • Loss of inheritance: The value of the assets that would likely and reasonably go to heirs if not for the wrongful death
  • Loss of household services: The reasonable cost of services that would have been otherwise provided for by the decedent
  • Loss of parental services: Although it is impossible to replace the love of a parent, the court awards compensation for the loss of nurture, guidance, care, and education
  • Loss of society and companionship: A reasonable value to offer compensation for the loss of love and emotional support that a deceased spouse and/or parent would have provided to his or her family
  • Mental anguish: The loss of a loved one causes much emotional and mental suffering which may be incalculable. A reasonable value is awarded by the court.
  • Mental health care: Compensation for mental health care/psychological treatment services

Lastly, surviving family members may sue for punitive (or exemplary) damages. These may be awarded when the wrongful death was caused by either gross negligence or severe misconduct. It is separate from compensatory damages.

Benefits of having an experienced lawyer negotiate your wrongful death claim

Perhaps most importantly, a wrongful death attorney brings a steady hand and cool head at a time when families are still reeling from the loss of a loved one. Wrongful death cases may be complex, with many moving parts, deadlines to meet, and opposing counsel and insurance companies to deal with. Your attorney takes those critically important details off your shoulders so you survivors have time to grieve and put their lives back together. Here are just some of the ways in which a lawyer can help:

  1. A skilled wrongful death attorney knows how to value a claim—including those items that are difficult to put a price tag on. A knowledgeable attorney knows how and where to look for every avenue of compensation.
  2. An attorney is familiar with insurance companies and how they will make every effort to undervalue a wrongful death claim (and how not to let them get away with it).
  3. Attorney are expert negotiators and will fight to get surviving family members full and fair compensation for their loss.
  4. If a satisfactory deal cannot be reached by negotiation, a trial-tested attorney is not afraid to file a wrongful death lawsuit to maximize financial compensation.

Talk to a Dibrell Graham Law attorney and put justice on your side

Everyone says it, but it’s still true: No amount of money can replace the loss of a beloved family member. But compensation can help pay the mortgage, put food on the table, help ensure that children get an education, cover medical bills, and provide a more secure financial future. Learn more about how we can help you get the best possible compensation by contacting us online or calling us at (512) 522-5330.

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