The unexpected death of someone you love caused by negligence or a wrongful act is devastating. While monetary compensation will never replace your loved one, it can help with unexpected financial burdens such as funeral costs, medical bills, and lost wages and support. A compassionate and competent personal injury attorney could help you navigate the legal complexities of your case, assert your rights, and explain what you may be entitled to. Let an experienced Round Rock wrongful death lawyer carry the legal burden for you and fight to gain justice for your loved one.
Definition of Wrongful Death
Under Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death claims can be filed by certain parties if the death is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person or corporation. A member of the deceased’s family brings the action in civil court seeking compensation for their economic and non-economic losses. The most common wrongful death cases arise from car accidents, construction accidents, defective products, and medical malpractice. Notably, an individual could file a wrongful death claim even if criminal charges are also filed in connection with the death.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Only certain family members of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim:
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving parents
- The surviving children, adult or minor
- Legally adopted parents
- Legally adopted children
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate
Siblings, biological or adopted, and grandparents of the deceased are not entitled to file a wrongful death claim. A Round Rock attorney experienced in the legality of who may file a wrongful death case can offer guidance if necessary.
Statute of Limitations
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by surviving family members within two years of the decedent’s passing. There are some limited exceptions to this rule, but once the statute of limitations has passed, the individuals lose their right to be compensated for their loss. Because these lawsuits can be complicated and emotional, a local lawyer could help ensure a wrongful death claim is properly brought before the specified deadline.
Damages for a Wrongful Death Civil Action
Damages for the action are intended to compensate the surviving family and the estate for losses resulting in the untimely death of their loved one. The types of damages recovered vary and often depend on who files the claim (i.e., spouse, parent, or child).
Damages which are often sought in wrongful death actions include:
- Loss of the deceased’s earning capacity
- Lost care, support, and guidance the deceased would have provided the surviving family
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Lost love and companionship
- Lost inheritance (what the deceased would have left to the family had they lived their expected lifetime)
Exemplary damages may be recovered in certain circumstances. Also known as punitive damages, exemplary damages are meant to be a punishment to the defendant rather than compensation to the family. These damages may be recovered when the wrongful death is caused willfully or by gross negligence. They are meant to deter the willful or grossly negligent act in the future.
Obtaining just compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one or punishing the willful act of another are legal matters that a seasoned and knowledgeable Round Rock lawyer could assist an individual with along the way.
Talk to a Round Rock Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Losing a loved one unexpectedly is traumatic, emotional, and life-altering. However, a compassionate and caring attorney skilled in the legal complexities of wrongful death law could help ensure you and your family are compensated for justly.
If you consider filing a legal action, call an experienced Round Rock wrongful death lawyer today for a free consultation.