Looking to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Houston?
One of the most challenging situations to ever face in life is losing a loved one. On top of it, if this loss happened due to another party’s negligence, the pain and frustration and multiplied. If you lose a loved one due to the carelessness or negligence of a company/person or an incident, you have the right to compensation for the loss you had to bear due to the wrongful death. There is no replacement for a loved one’s life; the law still intends to give you the right to get justice to some extent.
When dealing with such a situation, you may have other questions popping in mind, in addition to the grief and despair for the loss. We offer a free consultation with our Houston wrongful death lawyers, providing services 24/7. You have to bear no cost got this consultation right now; however, if you chose to hire us for your case, no payment is demanded upfront!!
What are the wrongful death laws in Texas?
Each US state has its own set of legislations to administer what happens after someone dies, and another person/party is to blame. You must have an attorney to evaluate your case when a beloved of yours passes away, and this attorney must be very familiar with the Texas Wrongful Death Statute and can also tell you the applicability of law in your case.
A statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Texas is set out by this law, which is the deadline to take formal legislative action after the person’s death. In general terms, this statue is usually two years from you’re your loved one’s death date. In exceptional cases, the deadline may get some extension. Still, you can not be sure if one of these exceptions applies to your case as well without getting a keen analysis by a wrongful death attorney knowledgeable in the matter.
If you are assuming that you still have some time to file the claim, chances are you may lose the right to seek any justice or compensation after the tragedy. Moreover, there should be no waiting to call the lawyer and close the two-year limit. These wrongful death cases may become very complicated and need elaborative investigations and inquiries, evidence collection, and preparing for the filing before the attorney can file them. To ensure that your claim is one of the strongest possible ones, you must provide the attorney with ample time before the stature of limitations.
The safest thing to do is call a wrongful death law firm as soon as you believe you might have a case in that regard.
What is Wrongful Death?
Under Texas law, the following are the causes of wrongful death:
- Wrongful act
There can be significant variations between the particular cause of wrongful death. Wrongful death claims may result from one or more of the following fatal incidents:
- Violent assaults
- Motor vehicle incidents caused due to dangerous roads or by negligent drivers
- Nursing home abuse
- Slips, trips and falls provided by hazards on another party’s property
- Hospital errors or medical malpractice
- Defective/dangerous products causing incidents
- Accidents at the construction site
- Dog bites/attacks
- Hazardous conditions or faulty electrical systems causing a fire
As there are so many cases that can base a wrongful death lawsuit, the best way to be sure about the legal rights you have is discussing what you believe happened with a Texas wrongful death lawyer having experience in the same.
Who can File Wrongful Death Suits?
There are only certain people who can pursue a wrongful death claim, making the matter even more complicated. Just because your childhood friend died due to an illegal act, does not qualify you for having legal rights regarding their death, regardless of how much you are affected by the event. Instead, the following are the people who can file for wrongful death claims in Texas:
- Parents and adoptive parents
- Surviving spouses
- Children, both adopted and adult children.
- Siblings are excluded from filing death claims by the Texas law.
If no one from the above-specified parties allowed takes action for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the person who is designated as the executor or personal representative of a deceased person’s estate qualifies to file the claim. If you were appointed as a representative and think that the death was wrongful, you should consult with an attorney about the steps you should or can take to receive compensation on the estate’s behalf.
WrongFul Death Claim VS Criminal Case
Wrongful acts leading to death also include criminal offenses sometimes. Prosecutors and law enforcement authorities can place the party responsible under arrest and also issue homicide-related criminal charges. In such a situation, most surviving family members that the primary source of obtaining justice for their loved one’s loss is a criminal case. However, there are certain limitations with a criminal case, and so you should go with a civil wrongful death claim instead.
A criminal conviction might have the meaning that the party considered wrongful is sentenced to prison and may need fines that should be paid to the court. These punishments, however, do very little to compensate the surviving family members with their loss or cover the financial losses they may have suffered.
The primary source that provides direct compensation addressing the losses of family members is explicitly a claim for wrongful death in the civil court. This case is very different from the criminal proceedings, as if they were to enter a criminal conviction, it may have been used as evidence for a wrongful act in a civil case. Nevertheless, there may still be a viable wrongful death claim even if the party was not convicted due to the different legal standards in civil and criminal cases, so you should always check the rights you have on the civilian side.
Possible damages to claim for:
There may be a variation in every wrongful death claim’s value; significant compensation can be sought by family members for their massive losses. Wrongful death claims can involve damages for the following items under the law:
- Emotional and mental suffering, anguish and despair
- Lost financial support and income of the deceased person
- Lost love and companionship
- Lost value of inheritance if the deceased was expected to have a more substantial estate had they lived longer
- Lost services, maintenance, support, care and counsel of deceased
These damages are summed up and granted as a single settlement or award. However, the court holds power to decide the proportion of loss of each family member bringing up the claim. The damage award will then be divided among the claimants by this proportion or percentage value of the loss.
A court may award claimants with ‘exemplary’ damages in case of a wrongful death claim that results from a specific egregious act like a violent intentional act or act of pure negligence. This damage award is not based on the damages lost but based on the court’s desire to deter and punish wrongful acts. Such damages are awarded case-by-case, and the attorney looking after your case may advise better if they are available in your case or not.
How does a Wrongful Death case proceed?
There will be unique circumstances with each wrongful death case, but certain rules and procedures govern the legislative process in each. Following is an overview of the wrongful death legal process.
1. Free Case Evaluation
This is the first step in any wrongful death case, that is to schedule a free of cost consultation with an attorney who can analyze and evaluate your scenario. Ann experienced lawyer shall listen to your story and advise you if there is a viable wrongful death claim in your case or not. This consultation is always free, so there is nothing to lose by calling just to have a discussion about your rights.
Next up, in most cases, an investigation is conducted to identify any liable parties potentially and collect evidence about their wrongdoing. This usually demands resources like medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, etc. Resources needed to gather evidence about the wrongful death shall be accessible by a qualified law firm.
3. Calculating Damages
Another crucial step in a wrongful death claim is to calculate thee losses so you are aware of how much can be sought in the claim. Some damages like medical treatments’ costs before death are usually easy to quantify than others and can be provided proof of using the bills issued for these treatments. However, others like loss of emotional suffering or loss of companionship are more difficult to quantify and calculate. Hence, you must always take an attorney’s help in this matter who is familiar with such calculations.
4. Drafting and filing complaint
Once the parties responsible for the wrongful death have been identified, and the value of the claim is understood, the attorney can start the complaint drafting procedure, which is a legal document filed with the court to begin a case formally. Specific requirements must be met by the wrongful death complaint, which includes stating facts to support your wrongful death cause of action, identifying defendants, and the legal relief you seek. Your case is strong when the complaint is more persuasive.
5. Pretrial Process
The pretrial process between the initial pleadings and trial is the longest stage of litigation, that too, if your case gets that far. This step involves conferences with the defendants, a discovery period during which evidence and information are exchanged with the defendant to the attorney, can build up the case, motions filing in court, and much more. You should have an attorney that can handle the pretrial process in a very efficient manner.
4. Settlement negotiations
One of the most important aspects of any civil case is perhaps the settlement negotiations between the two parties. Although you may have filed a claim in court to resolve, there is still a chance with you and the defendant to negotiate among yourselves to settle the case any time out of the court. During such negotiations, the attorney can use all the information gathered while discovering to convince the other side that you have a very strong case that shall prevail at the trial. Instead, a favorable settlement would be agreed upon by many defendants than the risk of losing and paying in excess due to the verdict of the test. Hence, most cases result in settlement agreements, and a skilled wrongful death attorney shall continue the negotiations through the whole process up to the trial date.
6. Jury Trial
Most cases are unable to make it till the trial. However, some parties are still unwilling to make reasonable settlement offers to lead to the cases being presented in front of a judge or jury. Therefore, you must be sure that the attorney has experience with the trial and is confident enough to protect your rights when presenting in front of the court.
Why Pusch & Nguyen are the best Wrongful Death Lawyers you can get in Houston?
The deceased person is often the breadwinner who leaves behind people who relied on them for food, shelter, clothing, and of course, love, compassion, and affection. A wrongful death attorney who is experienced and compassionate can help you guide through this process, be respectful, and protect your rights of the fact that you are suffering from grief.
- We believe in high respect, family values, and integrity.
- Our staff and attorney will be there for you always.
- Having an experience of decades, we with our team shall work tirelessly to recover most of your wrongful death claim.
- Pick an Attorney with Sympathy, Strength, and Compassion
We have represented spouses who lost their husbands or wives, children who lost their parents or parents who lost their children, etc. to wrongful deaths for many years. We are having a family of our own, realize your loss and feel it like our own and deal the wrongful death cases suffering tragic losses with a big heart.
If you think your loved one was lost due to a wrongful act or negligence by another, you should call us right away and talk about it. Do not sign anything unless you speak to us as you might be losing some or even all the compensation due to you.
Our attorneys do everything possible for you to recover the most on your claim, and take pride in treating you as our family. You can simply call or email us and let us know about your wrongful death claim.
No charges for the consultation!