Nearly every day, lives are needlessly lost in our community due to the carelessness, misconduct or neglect of individuals, co-workers, or companies. A car accident, a truck accident, a boating accident, medical malpractice, a workplace accident or a construction accident can all cause a wrongful death. If you or someone you love has been the victim of this type of carelessness, our wrongful death lawyers in Tyler and Longview can help.
As explained further below, Texas law allows the immediate family of a person killed through the fault of others to file what is known as a "wrongful death" claim to seek compensation for their loss. Our wrongful death attorneys in Tyler and Longview understand that no amount of money will make up for the loss of your loved one. But there are legitimate reasons for nevertheless filing a wrongful death claim. Those responsible for your family member’s death should be held accountable. Compensation may provide financial security to your family, particularly when a family's breadwinner is lost. And a jury verdict or settlement often gives a family a sense of closure, allowing you to move forward.
What is a wrongful death claim?
When a family member dies in an accident as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person, Texas law considers that a wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims can arise from many different circumstances, regardless of whether they occur on the job, on the highway, in a recreational setting or from an unsafe product or substandard health care. Texas laws created wrongful death claims to allow bereaved family members to recover damages under certain circumstances when a parent, spouse or child dies due to the fault of another.
Compensation that may be recovered through a wrongful death can include:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of household services
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses
- Loss of the deceased family member’s affection and companionship
While almost any scenario can lead to a wrongful death, there are certain situations that are more likely to result in Texas wrongful death actions. Some examples are:
Whatever the cause, if your loved one’s death was caused by another party’s carelessness, misconduct or negligence, you could be entitled to recover damages by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. You have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death case under Texas law.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Texas?
The Texas civil code allows the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased person to file wrongful death claims. One or more of those relatives may bring a lawsuit for the benefit of all parties. If none of the entitled relatives brings a wrongful death claim within three months after the death, the deceased person’s executor or administrator is entitled to file a case, unless all of the relatives say not to file an action.
The law provides that the court divides the damages among the people who are entitled to recover for the wrongful death.
What damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit?
The law that governs wrongful death claims in Texas is known as the Texas Wrongful Death Act. The Act allows certain family members to recover the actual damages that arise from the injury that caused the death. The Act also allows family members to recover "punitive damages" if the death was cause by the willful act or gross negligence of the responsible party. In essence, punitive damages are intended to punish this willful or grossly negligent behavior, largely in hopes of preventing this behavior again in the future.
Damages in wrongful death actions may be awarded based on the following factors:
- Loss of the deceased’s earnings to support the household
- Loss of companionship and household services
- Funeral and medical expenses
- Mental pain and suffering
- Lost contribution to children’s education and upbringing
- Loss of inheritance
Many clients often ask thoughtful questions about how their deceased family member's debts will affect their wrongful death claim. Fortunately, the Texas Wrongful Death Act makes clear that the damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit are not subject to the debts of the deceased person.
Do I need a lawyer for my wrongful death case?
Because of the complexity of wrongful death cases and the potential damages, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney if you believe someone was to blame for your loved one’s death. We understand that someone who has lost a loved one has many questions and concerns. A Tyler and Longview wrongful death lawyer at Roberts & Roberts will listen to you and address your questions. Our goal is to answer your legal questions so you can make an informed decision with your family’s future in mind.
We cannot predict the future or guarantee results. But we can try to answer your questions and keep you informed during the recovery process.
How much does it cost to hire a wrongful death lawyer?
When you hire our wrongful death lawyers, we do not charge you anything unless we are successful and obtain a settlement or judgment on your behalf for your wrongful death claim. More specifically, we work on a contingency fee, meaning that we are only compensated through a percentage of the recovery that we obtain for you.
Importantly, there is no charge for the initial consultation, nor is there any commitment. If you are interested in discussing your claim and learning whether you may have rights, contact us today. We are here to help.
Why should you hire our wrongful death lawyers?
Roberts & Roberts has built a national reputation for standing up for our clients in significant personal injury, serious accident and wrongful death cases in East Texas. The law firm, based in Tyler, has been featured in dozens of television programs, including ABC Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, Fox Business News, CNBC and NBC’s Dateline. If you suspect that another person’s actions caused your loved one’s death, you should have a knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death lawyer review the facts. Our qualified lawyers will discuss your legal options free of charge.