Have You Suffered the Wrongful Death of a Loved One?
During a time of grieving, it can be difficult to clearly consider the circumstances and decide if the death of a loved one was caused by the wrongful acts of another. Consulting with a qualified wrongful death attorney in Houston, TX or your local area can assist in trying to make sure that the right party is held responsible for the pain, suffering, and financial losses that result from a wrongful death.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Different states have their own statutes which dictate the requirements for a wrongful death case. Most of these are based on the same historical laws of the United Kingdom, specifically Lord Campbell’s Act of 1846. Here in Texas, it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit for up to two years after the death of a loved one, with some factors extending this statute of limitations.1
Texas statute 71.001 defines wrongful death as one caused by “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person.1 There are a number of ways that one person can wrongfully contribute to the death of another person.
Scenarios Where Wrongful Death Might Occur
Some of the types of cases where wrongful death claims may be pursued include:
- Motor vehicle or motorcycle accidents. A wrongful death accident often involves a drunk driver, inattentive driving, reckless driving, or other negligent behavior on the part of the other motorist, which causes the death of your loved one. Fatal car accidents are one of the most common reasons to consult with a wrongful death attorney.
- Bicycle or pedestrian accidents. Inattentive drivers can easily cause death to a bicyclist, either by collision or by “dooring” a cyclist into busy traffic. Pedestrians also have no protection from vehicles and drivers who do not yield, and they may be fatally injured by a motorist. Some accidents are caused by unsafe sidewalks or a lack of designated crosswalks and bicycle lanes, leading victims to consider a wrongful death claim against the municipality itself. Sometimes the law may make pursuing wrongful death claims against governmental entities difficult.
- Defective Products or Unsafe Merchandise. The producer or manufacturer of a defective product may be held liable for a wrongful death claim. In fact, distributors and designers of defective products might be held responsible as well. Some examples of products where defects might cause fatalities include:
- Pharmaceutical drugs and medications
- Children’s toys or car seats
- Home appliances and power tools
- Cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and other motor vehicles
- Fall protection equipment
- Medical malpractice. When healthcare providers are improperly trained or make errors in their work, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. Under Texas law, they can be held liable for pain and suffering as part of a successful wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the specific medical death lawsuit categories are:
- Defective medical equipment
- Hospital employee or EMT negligence
- Surgical or medication mistakes
- Improper treatment or delayed treatment
- Birth-related injuries
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Nursing home neglect. Many residents of group homes or assisted living facilities are unable to protect themselves against neglect and abuse. When death occurs because of improper care or abusive treatment, families may file a claim against the care facility for the wrongful death of their loved one.
- Accidents in the workplace. Employers who fail to provide safe working conditions may be responsible for fatalities that happen on the job. Properly maintaining machinery while providing safety equipment and training to employees is just the beginning of an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment.
Wrongful Death Damages and Compensation
A wrongful death settlement can cover damages beginning the moment the negligent act occurred, such as hospital bills. It can also cover losses of surviving family members well into the future.
In the midst of the emotional impact of losing a family member, it can be difficult to focus on financial support and legal matters, but, when the loss of a loved one was caused by the negligent acts of a person or company, you may be entitled to be financially compensated for the heartache and monetary losses you and your family will endure.
By engaging a wrongful death lawyer early, you can let an experienced attorney handle the necessary work while all of the evidence is still fresh. They can talk with any insurance company and law enforcement agents on your behalf while trying to make sure that your settlement amounts cover all outstanding expenses and protect your family’s future.
The types of damages compensated in a Texas wrongful death claim include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of consortium for surviving spouse and children
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of earning capacity and financial support
- Exemplary damages (elsewhere known as punitive damages)
Who Is Eligible to File for Wrongful Death Compensation in Texas?
Bereaved families in Houston and all over Texas may file a wrongful death lawsuit as individuals or as a group. These parties are eligible:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving minor and adult children, including adopted children
- Surviving parents, including parents of adopted children
- Executor of the estate (unless family members specifically refuse) (these claims may not be characterized as wrongful death, but as survivorship claims).
In Texas, the compensation will be divided up between the surviving family members, which the Court or jury may determine. A wrongful death case can (and should) be filed even if criminal charges are also underway related to the fatality.
If Your Family Has Experienced Wrongful Death
When the unthinkable occurs to a loved one or family member, the impact can be devastating. Your grieving and the emotional recovery of you and your family members must come first. We understand that seeking legal representation may be the last thing you feel like doing.
However, if you feel the death of a loved one was caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another, standing by your rights can be part of the healing process. When you need a wrongful death attorney in Houston or the surrounding area, contact us for a consultation.
Choosing a personal injury and wrongful death law firm with over 25 years of combined experience and a compassionate understanding of your loss will provide the confidence you need and help restore security in the days to come.
Have You Lost a Loved One?
When the unthinkable occurs to a loved one or family member, the impact can be devastating. The thought of hiring a lawyer to investigate legal claims surrounding the untimely death of a family member will never be your first priority. Your grieving and the emotional recovery by you and your family members must come first. The emotional toll resulting from a tragic death may seem too much to overcome at first, but it is important for your own life (and often, for the lives of surviving children) to begin the healing process and plan for life moving ahead. When that time comes and if you feel a third party may be responsible for the death of your loved one, call the lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP to help understand your rights.
At Johnson Garcia LLP, we’ve unfortunately been involved in many tragic cases where lives have been lost due to catastrophic workplace accidents, automobile accidents, construction site collapses, explosions, burns, fires, or other events. Handling these type of cases is often difficult because there is no amount of money that can replace a life. That is why hiring the right lawyer is so important. When you hire Johnson Garcia LLP, you’re getting a trusted, experienced guide through the legal process in your most challenging time. You are getting lawyers who understand the compassion needed for you and, equally important, the toughness needed for the parties responsible for the death of your loved one.
Choose an Experienced Legal Council
The path to recovery of appropriate damages after the wrongful death of a loved one can take many different routes depending on the type of case and the underlying facts. Some cases may involve an early settlement that is in the best interest of our clients. Other cases, however, require a longer fight to hold the responsible party or parties accountable. You need legal counsel who can recognize the difference.
At Johnson Garcia LLP, we have represented those companies and insurers faced with wrongful death claims so we know the strategies and the most effective way to resolve these cases on the best terms – even if that means telling your story to a jury and asking them to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Keep More of Your Damages
The recovery of damages following a wrongful death can be critical to your future. When a loved one or spouse has been unexpectedly taken from your life, your household often faces an uncertain economic future because you’ve lost someone you depend on forever. At Johnson Garcia LLP, we understand the economic challenges that you may face moving forward. That’s why we offer a flexible fee arrangement for the most serious claims. Under our “no recovery, no pay” promise our clients don’t pay anything toward their cases unless we recover money damages on their behalf! Instead, we are compensated only by taking a percentage of the damages recovered from the responsible party. Johnson Garcia LLP evaluates each case independently and, for those most serious cases, we offer flexible fee arrangements to ensure you recover the most! Contact the lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP to make sure you can keep the greatest amount of your damages at 832-844-6700.
Frequently Asked Questions
*Our FAQs are intended solely for informational purposes and should not be relied or construed upon as legal advice. Each case presents different facts that must be evaluated independently under law.
My spouse died from an accident at work. I'm not sure if anyone was at fault, but I'd like to know. How can I find out?
Call Johnson Garcia LLP now. We can initiate an investigation into the accident to determine whether there are valid legal claims. The lawyers of Johnson Garcia LLP have been involved in investigating some of the world’s largest disasters and are not intimidated by dealing with large corporations. We know how to find answers and will be committed to holding the right parties responsible for their actions in they contributed to the death of your loved one.
How long do I have to bring a legal claim after the death of a loved one?
It really depends. Under the law, there are often “statutes of limitations” or other rules that require lawsuits to be filed within a specified time. If claims are not brought within the required time frames, the right to recover damages and hold the responsible party accountable may be lost forever. That is why you need to understand your rights as soon as possible so you don’t lose them.
I think my spouse's employer had workman's comp. Can I bring a lawsuit to hold the responsible party accountable for the death?
It depends on the nature of the employment. Or most cases, this will not be a problem. Under certain types of compensation statutes (like the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (“LHWCA”)), however, an action against the employer may be precluded but claims against other responsible parties can be pursued. No matter what the situation, we will help you find the answers. Call Johnson Garcia LLP now for a case evaluation.