What is a wrongful death attorney? Also known as a fatality lawyer, a wrongful death attorney takes on cases involving fatalities caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another party. They also practice other areas of personal injury law. One thing remains true either way, they are always ensuring accountability by seeking compensation for the damages and losses experienced by the victim.
The law in Texas goes on to include that if the fatality happened because of one’s lack of skill, or default, it shall also be classified as wrongful death. Common causes of fatalities in Texas that occur at the fault of someone else includes, but is in no way limited to:
- Auto Accidents
- Truck Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Criminal Activities
- Workplace Accidents
- Plant Explosions
- Gas Leaks
- Unmaintained Machinery
- Defective Products
Losing someone close to you is hard enough in itself, which is why you want to make sure the legal help you embrace is what is going to take a lot off your plate. From ensuring that you know about the options and providers best for your needs to ensure all the facts and proof are brought to light. Ultimately, this is where personal injury lawyers have the chance to be an asset to their clients and not a burden.
How long do I have to sue for a fatality in Texas?
As stated by the wrongful death statutes of limitation in Texas, you only have 2 years from the time that the victim passed to file your claim with the court that has jurisdiction. Certain situations call for this deadline to be exempt, such as:
- Anytime that the defendant was unknown, or negligence is unclear.
- Evidence that the defendant played a part in fraudulent activities.
- When the survivor of the deceased is not 18 years of age at the time.
It is important to note that in Texas, eligible parties that can file a wrongful death claim includes adopted children (must be fully adopted and filed legally), biological children, the surviving spouse, and the parents of the deceased. If you doubt your eligibility to file, it’s best to speak with a lawyer about it.
How do you prove wrongful death cases?
There are specific wrongful death elements in Texas that must be proven in a fatality lawsuit. These are:
- The defendant had a legal duty that they were expected to uphold. This could be as simple as driving in a safe manner that follows all the traffic laws or even keeping a dog on a leash. It depends upon the situation at hand.
- Said legal duty was not upheld by the responsible party. This means that their legal obligation, whatever the situation may call for, was ignored and not something of top priority as it should have been in the first place.
- Not upholding one’s duty led to injuries to another party. When a death or injury happens because of overlooking legal responsibilities, it is clearly the contributing factor.
- When the death happened, it created a financial expense for the surviving family member. This can be lost income, surgery, or even the cost of medications. You just need to prove some form of monetary loss from the fatality or injury caused by someone else.
What is the wrongful death lawsuit settlements average?
Fatality settlements in Houston, Texas DO NOT come with an average amount of pre-defined value that says how much survivors will get when they lost a loved one at the fault of someone else. Even if you heard different, know that anytime a case of this level comes to the surface, it is unique.
The reason for this is that there is a lot of details that weigh in on the value of wrongful death lawsuits, such as the relationship of the person filing a wrongful death suit to the victim who lost their life, any expenses that were incurred as a direct result of the death, and the defendant’s share of the liability.
As far as what types of damages and losses can be sued for in Texas, they are:
Financial Resource Loss
This is common among a victim’s spouse and/or the children that were affected by the loss of their parent. When a person is relied upon to provide for their family and ensure financial stability in its entirety, losing them suddenly has a chance of causing problems. Often this leads the survivor(s) of the victim with a growing mountain of debt and even loss of inheritance. To help those affected in this sense, losses can be included in the wrongful death claim.
You have already been through your share of heartache and tragedy, so the day that you lay your loved one to rest needs to be one of remembrance and not an added expense. If someone else was the cause of the fatality, and it can be proven, all funeral expenses can be sued for.
Loss of Companionship
When a person has put in the time and shared their life with someone that they cared for, losing them is a different kind of situation than anything else. Not only has life changed without warning but losing a significant other can produce a negative impact emotionally, physically, and psychologically. You may need the help of a professional to help substantiate it.
Not only can you seek reimbursement for the medical expenses that your loved one had, but if you experienced any medical issues due to their death, include those as well. This is often one of the most expensive aspects of fatal accidents that see the courtroom, so do not overlook it.
Pain and Suffering
Anyone that has lost a member of their family due to a fatality can be affected by numerous things that can happen. Not only with your state of emotional health/general health but also when it comes to carrying on with your daily tasks, such as being social or going to work. If you suspect sudden changes in your life are due to your loss, document it, and inform your lawyer.
A Proven Approach to Unparalleled Representation in Houston
If you’re looking for the top fatality lawyer in Houston, TX, look no further. We not only have been recognized with countless awards of the legal industry but with top marks on client reviews too.
If you want someone that is going to fight for you, and you alone, that is what I am here to do. My approach hasn’t only been proven to win millions of dollars for my clients over the years, but it has been heard from clients that it makes the situation easier for them to deal with and more hopeful. Call my office at (713) 572-6446 and schedule a free consultation.
Wrongful Death Questions Answered
We know that this is a time where a lack of clarity about how personal injury law works can be a thorn in anyone’s side. Especially given the nature of the circumstances. As a fatality lawyer for almost 20 years, here are the most common wrongful death questions that my clients have had when visiting my office.
Do I have to pay taxes on wrongful death lawsuit settlements?
If funds are received as compensation for an illness or injuries, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies it as nontaxable. You just need to make sure that you keep documentation that serves as proof of where the money came from just in case you get audited in the future and asked about it.
How are wrongful death proceeds divided in Texas?
This depends upon one’s relationship to the victim who lost their life, and how the fatality has affected them overall. Children who lost a parent while being a minor and surviving spouses tend to be who receives the most in Texas wrongful death settlements. If there is a surviving spouse, they will receive the most overall based upon outcomes of past personal injury lawsuits like this. And finally, parents who lose a child before their child had a chance to reach the age of being an adult usually get more.
This is just a rough estimate as to how things are divided in Texas, but the ultimate division is done by the jury (or judge if there is no jury) based upon what criteria must be applied as per state law.
How much does it cost to hire a fatality lawyer in Houston?
Every lawyer is different, so how much they charge does tend to fluctuate from law firm to law firm. In most fatality lawsuits, attorneys will work on a contingency basis. This ultimately means you pay nothing upfront, but rather when you get paid out on a settlement or verdict. In this case, your lawyer is only going to charge the percentage that was previously agreed upon and included in the agreement.
Who ends up paying in wrongful death lawsuits?
If no insurance company is involved, the person that is found to have played a role in the death will be the one having to pay for the damages and losses that were caused. Where an insurance company could be involved, they would also be considered a party in the case and might pay out for fatality lawsuits if their policyholder is proven to be the one at fault.