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If a person dies due to a wrongful act in the State of Texas caused by negligence of another person, breach of contract or default, the deceased person’s family or estate may file a civil suit for legal remedy due to the death and any personal or financial losses related to it. A wrongful death claim is a civil action toward financial compensation against the negligent individual causing the death. Criminal charges are not part of the civil action, but may support it if guilt is determined for vehicular homicide, DUI, or medical malpractice causing the same death. Even when a negligent party is acquitted for criminal actions, civil court cases may still grant financial compensation because the burden of proof is not as stringent for civil actions.
Filing a claim.
In Texas, surviving spouses, children and parents can file a wrongful death claim, but if it has not been done in three months, the personal representative of the estate can file it on behalf of a deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members formally listed in the suit, unless the family decides not to file a suit. Adult children and adopted children may file wrongful death claims over the death of a parent (or adoptive parent), but an adopted child may not file a claim for the wrongful death of a biological parent. Similarly, the adoptive parents may file a wrongful death claim if their adopted child suffers an untimely death. Texas law does not allow surviving siblings to file a wrongful death claim for the loss of a brother or sister, whether biological or adopted.
Statute of limitations.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Texas must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases. The deadline may be postponed, under a few very specific circumstances, which is why an experienced attorney with personal injury and wrongful death actions can help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires in each individual case.
Because a wrongful death action is a civil claim brought to court by a representative of the deceased’s estate, the liability is expressed only in monetary damages. If criminal activity surrounds the wrongful death, those damages may be punitive and do not result in payment to family members.
Damages that surviving family members receive are based on:
The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:
A settlement amount of damages may be proposed with the assistance of experts, such as economists who can be used to assess earning potential and the amount of income lost due to a tragic death, or medical experts may be brought in to examine the extent of pain and suffering endured by the victim prior to death. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible for comprehensive information on wrongful death claim actions. An experienced professional at The Blizzard Law Firm can help with actions toward compensation for losses and damages.