The pain and anger of losing a loved one because of the negligent actions of another person can be overwhelming. No amount of monetary compensation can undo a tragedy, but it is one way to obtain justice and hold the responsible parties accountable for their carelessness or negligence.
The Austin wrongful death attorneys at the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS devote themselves to helping families navigate these difficult times. Call us today to discuss your legal options during a free consultation with an Austin injury attorney.
Texas law defines wrongful death as the death of a person due to injuries caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, lack of skill, or wrongful act. (Texas Civil Code 71.002). When those circumstances exist, a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued against the at-fault party. Common wrongful death claims involve:
Wrongful death liability varies from case to case. For example:
An Austin wrongful death attorney can help you find the best source of compensation for your loved one’s loss and any other damages.
The four elements of a wrongful death claim are highlighted below.
It must be established that the defendant owed the deceased some duty of care. For example, a driver owes others on the road a duty to follow traffic rules and drive safely.
There must be proof that the defendant’s duty of care was breached by their negligent action (or inaction). For example, a driver who causes an accident by running a red light or driving while intoxicated.
The death of the deceased individual was a direct result of the defendant’s breach of their duty of care.
The death resulted in significant financial damages and tangible losses.
Under Texas wrongful death laws, you have the right to seek compensation for:
The court may also award punitive damages to punish the defendant for their egregious behavior that resulted in the deceased’s death. In addition to punishment, punitive damages are used to prevent similar behavior from occurring in the future. Your Austin wrongful death lawyer can help you pursue these damages if they are appropriate in your case.
In Texas, wrongful death actions can be filed by the immediate family of the victim, including spouses, children, and parents. These parties may file a claim together or individually. As long as the adoption was legally completed, adoptive parents and children may claim wrongful death after the death of the other. Other family members, such as siblings and cousins, do not usually have a right to file a lawsuit, and adopted children may not seek compensation for the death of a biological parent.
When eligible parties fail to file a claim three months after the date of death, the executor of the deceased’s estate may file the claim instead, unless all surviving family members have requested that they not do so. Regardless of who files, the claim must be made within two years after the person died, or it may be barred by statute. To learn more, speak with an Austin wrongful death attorney at our firm.
A person who is injured by the negligence of another party has the right to sue for damages. When an individual dies before they can file a lawsuit, the right to file passes to their heirs and the estate. As a result, the right to file a personal injury lawsuit ‘survives’ the death of the victim and allows their heirs to recover the damages instead.
In many situations, you can bring both a survival action and a wrongful death claim. Both types of claims must prove many of the same facts regarding damages and negligence, but there is a significant difference in the types of damages which can be recovered.
Bringing both a wrongful death claim and a survival suit can help maximize your compensation and hold the responsible party fully accountable when a loved one is lost in a preventable accident.
Several factors will determine the value of a wrongful death lawsuit. When determining the potential amount of compensation, considerations include the nature of the accident or injury that caused or led to the death, the medical bills incurred, and the victim’s age and health at the time of death.
In a wrongful death settlement, several economic damages may be included such as medical bills, lost income, and funeral and burial costs. There is also the possibility of non-economic damages, including the family’s loss of the companionship, love, care, and comfort that the decedent provided. These are all losses that tend to be unique to the victim and their family, so there are no average or typical wrongful death settlements.
In light of all these factors, it’s imperative you hire an Austin wrongful death lawyer to help you pursue a wrongful death claim. Although it can be difficult to put a monetary value on human life, you still have a right to compensation for the loss of your loved one.
When a preventable death occurs, it is a tragedy, but a wrongful death lawyer in Austin, Texas can help you get the compensation you need to move forward. Even though money can’t bring back a lost loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide you with justice and closure.
If you have lost a loved one because another party was reckless or negligent, speak to an experienced Austin wrongful death attorney at the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS about your potential claim. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. Call (512) 800-0000 or contact us online.