If you believe that a loved one has died due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Here is what you need to know.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit | Recoverable Damages
An action for “wrongful death” occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of an individual, company or entity. The Texas Wrongful Death Act spells out who can sue and what compensation may be sought.
The decedent’s survivors or estate may bring a lawsuit for wrongful death. Survivors include the spouse, children and parents of the deceased. Siblings, aunts, uncles and friends cannot bring a wrongful death cause of action.
Damages that are recoverable by survivors in a wrongful death cause of action include:
- Loss of the care, maintenance, support, services, advice and counsel had the decedent lived
- Loss of companionship, society and love
- Mental anguish
- Loss of inheritance
- Exemplary (punitive) damages in certain cases such as drunk driving accidents or other extremely reckless or intentional acts
Wrongful Death Lawsuit | Texas Wrongful Death Statute
Texas enacted the wrongful death statute in 1860. Prior to 1860, a cause of action for injuries terminated upon the death of the injured party. Therefore, it was advantageous for the defendant to actually cause someone’s demise versus simply causing a minor injury. It was said that it was cheaper to bury your mistakes in comparison to saving or preventing the death of someone.
The Texas Wrongful Death Statute can be found at Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The act provides a method to compensate the decedent’s spouse, children and parents for the losses they sustained as a result of the decedent’s injuries and death. The purpose of the Texas Wrongful Death Statute was to undo the English common law, which provided that upon the death of the injured party, all claims for injuries were extinguished. Now the designated family members as well as administrators and executors of the estate can bring a cause of action under the statute.
If you are looking to file a wrongful death lawsuit, please contact our San Antonio wrongful death lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.