Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Claims In Texas
Losing a loved one unexpectedly due to the negligent or malicious actions of another often comes with unanswered questions, emotional trauma, and financial burden.
While it is never easy to lose a loved one, filing a wrongful death claim with the experienced McAllen wrongful death attorneys of J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys can help you to begin dealing with the situation.
What qualifies as a wrongful death?
Under Section 71.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death is defined as the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of a party taking the life of another human being.
Examples of wrongful death include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Premise liability accidents
- Medical negligence
- Accidental poisoning or overdose
- Accidental drownings
- Workplace accidents
Who is liable for a wrongful death lawsuit?
A person can be held liable if it can be proven that they acted negligently and showed clear indications of committing a negligent act prior to a person’s death (ex. Driving while impaired, reckless behavior on the road, medical malpractice, selling a defective product, etc.).
In order to establish a wrongful death claim, the following must be proven:
- The responsible party acted in a negligent manner.
- The responsible party’s actions were the sole reason for the victim’s death.
- The decedent has surviving family members, such as a spouse, children, or other legal beneficiaries and/or dependents
- The surviving family members or dependents have suffered financial damages as a result of the death of the victim.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Under Texas law, the following individuals are the only ones allowed to file a wrongful death claim:
- A surviving spouse.
- Surviving children; minors or adults.
- Legal parent(s) or guardian(s) of the deceased.
- A legal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Please note that under Texas statute of limitations, those eligible to file a claim only have a two (2) year window to file a wrongful death claim, starting from the exact date on which the death occurred.
Are wrongful deaths considered a felony?
Wrongful death lawsuits are considered to be civil cases rather than criminal. The specific factors that led up to the incident, however, are reviewed to determine if any additional criminal charges will be given.
How much are wrongful death claims worth?
There is no “fixed average” of how much a wrongful death suit might be worth. Instead, a court will look into the following details and key aspects to determine how much a claim might be worth upon a final verdict:
- The age of the deceased.
- The average wage earnings of the victim prior to their death.
- How losing the victim affected surviving family members.
- The specific factors leading up to the accident.
- The emotional pain and suffering of the surviving family members.
- Funeral and burial fees.
In addition, exemplary damages may be awarded by the state of Texas to surviving beneficiaries if the death was considered to be an intentional act or caused by gross negligence.
How do I file a wrongful death claim?
While starting on a claim can be rather confusing, eligible surviving family members can consult with our Rio Grande Valley wrongful death lawyers of J.Gonzalez Injury Attorneys to get started on a claim.
Our attorneys will walk you through the entire process, step-by-step, and help you file a claim in a precise and timely manner.
How do I prepare a deposition?
By having J.Gonzalez Injury Attorneys represent you, our team of attorneys will help you prepare for a deposition, draft opening statements, and give you an overview of how the legal process will be.