A wrongful death case is one where a victim dies due to wrongful or negligent acts caused by another person. It is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between murder, accident, or wrongful death. Hence these cases are very sensitive. Some cases of wrongful deaths have established that a person who was convicted for this act was supposed to have a responsibility or duty of taking care of the victim. It is very painful to lose a loved one because of an act of carelessness, negligence, or stupidity, which could have been easily avoided.
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases Houston
5 Common types of wrongful death cases are:
1. Product Liability
When we buy something, we trust the seller to provide us with goods that have been tested for safety. However, this does not prove to be true at times. The recently increasing cases of smartphones bursting into flames while in the consumers’ pockets have wrecked the lives of people. Some vehicles that have dangerous parts that malfunction causing unfortunate death is another issue. The manufacturers are then held responsible for the wrongful deaths of the victims.
2. Car Accidents
Every year, more than 30,000 lives are lost in car accidents, and several more have to suffer prolonged recovery. This means a reduction in family income and increased medical bills. Drunk driving is the most common cause of car accidents apart from reckless driving, road defects, overtaking, speeding, etc. Hence a legal representation in a car accident is necessary to help you recover your losses.
3. Workplace Accidents
People who work in extremely hazardous workplaces such as manufacturing factories, gas or oil refineries, coal mines, construction sites, etc. run a high risk of mishaps. They rely upon their employees to secure the workspace for them, but sometimes due to unfortunate circumstances, mishaps can lead to death.
4. Pedestrian Or Cycling Accidents
Simple negligence in looking at both sides of the road before crossing can prove to be very hazardous. Cyclists who lack the protection that most vehicles have are prone to more accidents. Drivers who fail to scan the roads before making a turn or driving irrationally in a populated area are charged under these claims.
5. Medical Malpractice
Fortunately, most doctors and nurses are very efficient in their jobs at providing the best care to patients in curing them. But there are some negligent practices sometimes on the part of hospital staff that can cause the death of the patient while under the care of best doctors or staff.
How Long Does It Take To Settle Wrongful Death Claims?
The lawsuit for a wrongful death claim is not so easy to manage and usually takes years to settle down. But sometimes it can be settled within a matter of months. This usually depends upon the clarity of the death scene.
On average, it takes up to 1 to 4 years for a wrongful death lawsuit to settle. If the victim’s family does not hire a legal professional and is ready to settle with a lesser amount, the matter might end in weeks.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit And What Is The Deadline For Filing It?
According to the legal guideline, not every loved one, friend, or relative can file a lawsuit against wrongful death on behalf of the victim. The state of Texas allows only the surviving family members of the victim’s family to do so.
These may include the adult children either biological or adopted, spouse even if they are separated at the time of death and parents, either biological or adoptive. However, grandparents and step-children or step-parents cannot file a lawsuit.
According to the rule, a lawsuit for wrongful death has to be filed within two years from the date of death of the victim. So a lawyer for wrongful death settlement should be hired within these two years.
Reasons For Filing A Lawsuit For Wrongful Death
There can be multiple reasons why the victim’s family might want to get back at the person/company whose negligence caused the death of their loved ones. The two most common reasons are:
- Seeking financial compensation
- Setting justice for the victim.
In some cases where the negligence has been gross, there are chances of punitive damage as a result of punishing the wrongdoer.
What Damages Are Available In Wrongful Death Cases In Houston?
Meaning of the term ‘Damages’
The term ‘Damage’ refers to a sum of money given by the court of justice to compensate for the loss of a loved one who died due to wrongful acts.
When a person dies due to the negligent behavior of someone else, it becomes very tough for a family to manage the costs, especially if the victim was a breadwinner. The matter becomes worse if the deceased had financial responsibilities such as schooling, children, loans, and basic living expenses. While it may be impossible to recover the amount of mental pain, anguish, and torture faced by the family, other damages can be recovered when a lawsuit is pursued.
These damages usually include loss of the past and future income, mental anguish, and emotional torture due to the incident, loss of companionship, loss of household of business assistance, and loss of inheritance.
Survival Action Vs. Wrongful Death Claims
When there is a death due to an act of negligence, there are two types of claims available for the family, namely Wrongful Death Claim and Survival Action Claim.
The survival law set by the state allows the estate of the deceased person to be awarded damages incurred from the moment of injury to the time of actual death. In other words, the decedent’s estate can recover the costs of medical bills, earnings, funeral charges, burial expenses. Along with that, compensation for the pain and suffering faced by the decedent before death is compensated.
Wrongful Death Claim
If, however, the death occurred instantly after the accident, the estate would be entitled to get compensation for the pain and suffering only when it can be proved. In such a case, lost earnings cannot be compensated as the victim died immediately.
Whatever be the cause, the death of a loved one is always a great loss for us. Money can become an issue for a lot of people, but at the end of the day, no amount of money can reimburse their actual worth. It is only fair to hire the best lawyers in your town to get after the person who caused such a tragedy. Most examples of wrongful death settlements receive timely and adequate justice. It is not about the money but a sense of fairness that the deceased owed. By punishing the wrongdoer, you are not only saving the lives of a lot of people but also setting a good example for the younger generations to follow.