Every unexpected death is a tragedy that will have a profound impact on a decedent’s surviving family members. These people will need to take time to make an emotional adjustment to their new reality. They will also need to think about how to cover outstanding medical bills and funeral costs, as well as evaluate how this event will affect their future.
One option for seeking stability for the future is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the parties liable for the death. However, the fact that a death occurs does not automatically mean that another party is legally responsible. A Gulfton wrongful death lawyer could help families explore their legal options and pursue claims that bring the best chance for success.
When Can Families Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?
An unexpected death has the potential to affect every member of a decedent’s family. It is also true that many deaths are unavoidable, and no amount of precaution can prevent them. However, only deaths that occur as the result of specific circumstances may justify a family’s pursuit of a wrongful death claim.
According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.003, a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate when the death resulted from another’s negligence, act of violence, or omission. Furthermore, this action must be of a nature so that the decedent would have had the right to demand personal injury compensation had they survived the incident.
As a result, any wrongful death claim must center around acts of negligence or intentional conduct that would have spawned a personal injury claim. Common examples include:
- Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
- Collisions that affect bike riders or pedestrians
- Slips and falls, or other premises liability claims
- Instances of medical malpractice or nursing home abuse
- Defective product claims
- Workplace accidents, especially those in the maritime, railroad, construction, or oilfield industries
A Gulfton attorney could provide more information about the basis for wrongful death claims. By collecting evidence of negligence, they could identify a party that should be held responsible.
What Compensation May a Family Seek for a Deceased Loved One?
In some ways, wrongful death claims are akin to most other instances of personal injury. It still falls to a plaintiff to prove defendant fault and how that fault affected the injured parties. However, wrongful death claims are distinctive in a few notable ways.
The first is in naming an appropriate plaintiff for the claim. Normally, an injured party brings the case to court on their own. However, this is obviously impossible in the case of a death. Instead, state law empowers a decedent’s immediate family members to serve as plaintiffs in these cases. These may be parents, children, or spouses. The second distinction is the types of compensation that a plaintiff may seek. State law under TX Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 71.010 separates compensation in wrongful death cases into two categories.
The first is the economic harm that a family suffers because of the death. This can include medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages in the event of a worker’s death. The second covers the pain and suffering that the decedent endured prior to death. The purpose of this portion is to provide comfort for family members who understand that their loved one suffered in the time following the incident.
Reach Out to a Gulfton Wrongful Death Attorney Immediately
If you have recently experienced the death of a loved one, you have the right to seek compensation from the individuals or entities that were responsible. These can include negligent drivers, companies who produced a defective product, or employers who ignored safety precautions. These lawsuits can demand compensation for not just costs associated with the death but also payments for lost companionship and future income.
A Gulfton wrongful death lawyer could help you and your family seek justice. It is important to have someone on your side who understands your pain and is committed as you are to securing your family financially. Contact us today for a free consultation.