If your loved one has been killed due to the negligence, carelessness, or misconduct of another, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. In the midst of grief, it can be difficult to place an economic value on your loss, but a wrongful death lawsuit is more than that; it is a way to speak up for your lost loved one, enact justice on their behalf, and receive recovery for your harms and losses. Then, you can begin to heal without the added stress of sudden financial burdens.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Texas, only a deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit, and these parties may file independently or jointly. Siblings and grandparents are not eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If none of the eligible family members file a claim within three months after the individual’s death, the deceased’s estate executor may bring a claim, unless prohibited by the family from doing so.
What Damages May Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Case?
The types of damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit include economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages cover losses such as loss of household income, loss of inheritance, funeral costs, and medical costs for any treatment the deceased received prior to their passing. Non-economic damages cover losses such as mental anguish, loss of emotional support, and loss of companionship. Punitive damages serve a different purpose from compensatory damages in that they are specifically designed to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct.
In order to receive these damages, you must prove that the defendant had a duty of care, that they breached that duty of care, and that their actions caused your relative’s wrongful death. Furthermore, you must prove your relationship and demonstrate financial and emotional losses in order to be awarded damages.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
Every wrongful death case presents a unique set of factors that influence the outcome, and the civil laws governing wrongful death claims can be quite intricate. For that reason, you may need the guidance and advocacy of a wrongful death lawyer who can help you determine who could be held legally liable and what damages you may be entitled to. They will prove that the defendant’s actions caused your loved one’s death and present evidence of the financial losses and emotional suffering your family has endured.
At FVF, our seasoned Austin wrongful death lawyers have settled wrongful death cases including construction site fatalities, industrial fatalities, traffic fatalities, and catastrophic accident fatalities. With our network of probate and estate lawyers, we can help you navigate the complexities of managing your deceased loved one’s affairs.
Many families feel that they should wait to take legal action until their lives settle down, but it’s important to move quickly and decisively due to the three-month statute of limitations. Your lawyer will also want to begin preserving evidence and strategizing on your behalf as early as possible.
We understand that this is a difficult time for your family, and that the legal complexities of losing a loved one can add confusion and distress to an already trying period of life. That’s why we offer free, no-commitment case consultations — so that you can receive clarity before making these substantive decisions about your future. Our goal is for you to leave your conversation with FVF feeling less overwhelmed and more confident about your next steps, whatever they may be. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Austin.