How To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Houston, TX

wrongful death attorney
Render illustration of Wrongful Death title on Legal Documents

Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, made even more tragic when caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. In Houston, Texas, families who have suffered such a loss may seek justice and compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal action aims to hold the responsible party accountable and provide financial support to the surviving family members.

Who Is Eligible To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Texas?

In Texas, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is limited to specific individuals. The law prioritizes the deceased’s immediate family, including:

  • Spouse: The surviving spouse has the primary right to file a claim.

  • Children: Both biological and adopted children can file a claim.

  • Parents: The deceased’s parents are also eligible, regardless of whether the victim was a minor or an adult.

If the spouse fails to file a claim within three months of the death, the right to file passes to the children and parents. In cases where there are no surviving spouse, children, or parents, siblings may have standing to file, but this is less common.

Wrongful Death Damages Are Different From Personal Injury Damages

While both wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits stem from someone’s negligence or wrongful act, the damages awarded in each case are distinct.

Personal Injury Damages

In a personal injury case, the injured person seeks compensation for their losses, which may include:

  • Medical Expenses: Costs of treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and ongoing care.

  • Lost Wages: Income lost due to the inability to work during recovery.

  • Pain and Suffering: Physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury.

  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship or support from a spouse.

Wrongful Death Damages

In a wrongful death case, the surviving family members seek compensation for their losses resulting from the death, such as:

  • Loss of Financial Support: The income the deceased would have provided to the family.

  • Loss of Services: The value of the household chores, childcare, or other services the deceased provided.

  • Loss of Companionship and Guidance: The emotional toll of losing a loved one’s love, companionship, and guidance.

  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: Costs associated with laying the deceased to rest.

Personal injury damages are awarded to the injured person, while wrongful death damages are awarded to the surviving family members. Also, personal injury damages focus on the individual’s losses, while wrongful death damages focus on the family’s losses due to the death.

Given the complexities of wrongful death damages and the emotional toll of losing a loved one, contact a Houston wrongful death attorney for help. They can accurately assess the damages in your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the compensation your family deserves.

Survival Actions

In addition to a wrongful death claim, Texas law also allows for a “survival action.” This type of legal claim seeks compensation for the damages the deceased suffered between the time of the injury and their death.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Survival Action?

  • Medical Expenses: Costs incurred for medical treatment and hospitalization before the death.

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the deceased before their passing.

  • Lost Wages: Income lost due to the inability to work between the injury and death.

  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: In some cases, funeral and burial costs may be included.

Who Can File a Survival Action?

Unlike a wrongful death claim, which is filed by the surviving family members, a survival action is typically filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

Steps To Filing A Wrongful Death Claim

The legal process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially while grieving. Here’s a breakdown of the essential steps involved:

Step 1: Talk To A Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer

The first and most crucial step is to consult with an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney. They will assess the specifics of your case, determine eligibility, gather evidence, and guide you through the entire legal process.

Step 2: Obtain The Death Certificate

A certified copy of the death certificate is a necessary document for filing a wrongful death claim. It provides official confirmation of the death and is often required to initiate legal proceedings.

Step 3: Determine Whether The Victim Left A Will

If the deceased had a will, it would likely name an executor or administrator of their estate. This person will play a key role in the legal process, especially if a survival action is filed.

Step 4: Investigate The Victim’s Death

A thorough investigation is essential to establish liability and gather evidence supporting your claim. This may involve collecting medical records, police reports, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation.

Step 5: Identify Eligible Survivors (Spouse, Children, And Parents)

As discussed earlier, Texas law prioritizes specific family members in wrongful death claims. Identifying all eligible survivors ensures that everyone entitled to compensation is included in the lawsuit.

Step 6: Inventory Damages

Work with your attorney to create a comprehensive list of all damages suffered due to the wrongful death. This includes financial losses, loss of services, emotional distress, and any other relevant damages.

Step 7: File Your Claim

Your attorney will prepare and file the necessary legal documents to initiate the wrongful death lawsuit. This includes a petition outlining the facts of the case, the legal claims, and the damages sought.

No legal action can truly replace the loss, but a wrongful death lawsuit in Houston, TX, can provide a measure of justice and financial support for the surviving family members. If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, it is wise that you seek legal counsel. A wrongful death attorney can provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.



Written by shane

Content AuthorYears Of Membership

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