When someone dies due to the negligence or intentional acts of another person or organization, survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Texas law, the surviving spouse, children and parents can seek compensation for loss of income, loss of consortium, mental anguish, funeral expenses, pain and suffering and other related damages.
Often, wrongful death cases are complicated and can be difficult to prove, but with the help of an experienced McKinney attorney who has over 36+ years of experience and a thorough understanding of the process, it is possible to obtain a fair resolution–whether by way of settlement or jury verdict.
Wrongful death is when a person dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another. The surviving members of the victim’s family can bring suit for damages. A personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the only one who can bring suit for wrongful death. Actions for personal injury, pain and suffering, or expenses incurred prior to the decedent’s death, are also brought by the personal representative of the estate.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a loved one dies, there are financial damages that follow. Not only those from medical bills or funeral costs, but also loss of income and support from that loved one. Pecuniary injuries include loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses. Most states allow for just compensation for the pecuniary injuries that resulted from the decedent’s death. Just compensation would include if a parent dies, the heirs of that parent could recover loss of income and loss of parental support and guidance. When deciding loss of income, the court considers the decedent’s earnings at the time of death, the last known earnings if unemployed, and potential future earnings.
In addition to damages for wrongful death, a family may be able to recover for pain and suffering their loved one suffered prior to death. These are called “survival actions.” The estate’s representative can bring a case on behalf of the deceased to help the surviving family. A survival action allows an estate to pursue a personal injury claim that the individual could have initiated, had they survived. In contrast to a wrongful death case where damages go directly to family members, survival action awards go to the estate and are distributed according to the wishes of the deceased.
What Parties Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death?
A close relative can file a wrongful death lawsuit against an individual or organization responsible for a loved one’s death. An exception to this occurs if the person dies in the workplace. In many cases, workplace casualties result in death benefits that are included in workers’ compensation. However, there may be exceptions where a lawsuit is an appropriate action. The following shows some of the parties that may be liable in wrongful death cases.
- A driver or trucking company responsible for a fatal traffic accident.
- The manufacturer or distributor of a defective product that causes a fatality.
- Family members can sue in civil court when a victim is intentionally killed.
Dedicated Wrongful Death Lawyers in McKinney and North Texas
It is important if your loved one has died due to the negligence or misconduct of another, that you speak with a trustworthy attorney as soon as possible. If you would like help with your wrongful death claim, contact Lucé Law, PC online today or call (972) 632-1300.