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Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas

September 29, 2016

Texas statutes state that a surviving family member can file a wrongful death claim if “the wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one party causes the death of another party.

A sudden and accidental death can take place anytime of the day or night, resulting in jarring news that will impact surviving family members for years to come. There is no easy way to go through a traumatic event such as this. Things are made worse when the death happens needlessly at the hands of another person.

While nothing can bring back a loved one, surviving family members do have the right to seek justice and compensation by working with an attorney and filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Texas, a surviving spouse, children, parents or the executor of the estate of the deceased have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, siblings do not have the right to file a suit. It should be noted that there is a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the deceased person’s death.

Family members can file a wrongful death claim to compensate them for a variety of losses that resulted from the victim’s death. That compensation may include:

• Medical bills and funeral expenses
• Lost capacity to earn wages for the family
• A loss of inheritance from what the deceased might have been able to put away if they had lived out a normal lifetime
• Pain and suffering, including mental and emotional anguish
• Exemplary damages, available in cases where the death was grossly negligent or caused by a willful act. These are considered punitive damages that are designed to punish the person who committed the act

While compensation can go to many parties, to help avoid confusion and infighting, it’s best to have a will in place that will help clarify which family members should receive payment and how much it might be.

The Law Office of Christopher Kalis serves Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and surrounding Texas communities.