When is a Death Considered Wrongful in Texas?
A wrongful death claim is filed to seek damages from an individual or company whose negligent or intentional actions caused a person’s death. According to Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
“A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
The family or beneficiaries of the deceased victim can recover several types of damages, both economic and non-economic, in a wrongful death action, including:
- Loss of consortium
- Lost future earnings
- Lost wages
- Funeral costs
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
In cases where the victim’s death is caused by “the willful act or omission or gross negligence of the defendant,” exemplary or punitive damages may be recovered as well. Texas law defines gross negligence as:
“An act or omission which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; and of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.”
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased victim may file a wrongful death claim. If a wrongful death claim is not filed within three months following the victim’s death, the deceased individual’s executor or administrator can bring forth an action (unless the spouse, children, and parents request them not to).
If a person, company, or government entity or municipality acts negligently or fails to exercise reasonable care and the result is the fatality of a loved one, you can file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims can be filed in response to a wide variety of accidents. Our firm has handled many wrongful death cases caused by:
- Automobile accidents
- 18-wheeler accidents
- Defective or dangerous products, including vehicles and pharmaceutical drugs
- On-the-job or workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
To learn about survival actions and how they differ from wrongful death actions, read our blog post: How is a Texas wrongful death claim different from a survival action?
Contact an Experienced Texas Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one to an accident is devastating and unimaginable. In addition to the emotional and physical toll on your family, financial hardships caused by medical bills, funeral costs, and the loss of a supporting family member can be incredibly difficult to handle. Wrongful death actions are available for surviving family members to seek compensation from the at-fault party to ensure that you are taken care of financially after your loved one’s passing. By holding negligent individuals or companies responsible for their actions, future tragedies may be avoided due to a change in their policies, procedures, or practices.
At Thomas J. Henry, our team of wrongful death lawyers will work diligently on you and your family’s behalf and exercise all legal options to achieve the compensation and results you deserve. For more than 25 years, our firm has represented many clients suffering from the wrongful loss of a loved one. To learn about your legal options or to explore a wrongful death action, contact our law offices today. Attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free legal consultation.