When someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another, the deceased’s loved ones are often able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. While each state treats wrongful death claims slightly differently, Texas allows a wrongful death action to be brought if an individual’s death was caused by a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” Texas Statutes section 71.002. Therefore, if a drunk driver causes a fatal car crash, or a fleeing felon fatally shoots a police officer in El Paso County, each of the deceased individuals’ families would likely have a viable wrongful death lawsuit on their hands.
This page provides a brief overview of Texas’ wrongful death statute, but anyone who is interested in filing a local wrongful death action should consult with our experienced El Paso County wrongful death lawyers.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action in Texas?
In Texas, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, or parents. Texas Statutes section 71.004. Additionally, individuals who can claim financial dependence on the deceased may also be allowed to file a wrongful death action in Texas under some circumstances. However, if an eligible loved one fails to file a wrongful death claim within three months of the deceased’s passing, then the executor of the deceased’s estate can generally file the claim instead. Please note that Texas law does not typically allow surviving siblings to file a wrongful death claim after losing their brother or sister.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Actions
Wrongful death actions in Texas are designed to compensate the family and the estate of the deceased individual for the losses that were suffered due to the deceased’s premature death. Therefore, damages sought in wrongful death cases often include compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses. A local El Paso wrongful death attorney can help you determine the damages that are available in your particular case, however common examples of damages sought in wrongful death cases filed in Texas include compensation for:
Additionally, under Texas’ wrongful death statute a court may award exemplary damages if the death was caused by the willful act, omission, or gross negligence of the defendant. Texas Statutes section 71.009. These damages are awarded in other to punish a defendant who acted egregiously, whereas other damages that courts award in wrongful death lawsuits are designed to compensate the deceased’s family and estate.
Need Legal Advice? Speak With a Local Wrongful Death Attorney
If you’ve recently lost a loved one we are very sorry for your loss. Losing someone close to you is always challenging and is made especially difficult when that person’s passing was caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional act. Although filing a wrongful death lawsuit will not fully compensate you for your loss, pursuing a wrongful death claim can enable you to hold the responsible party liable and to recover the funds that you are legally entitled to. To discuss your legal options during a free initial consultation, contact the El Paso wrongful death lawyers of the Lovett Law Firm today at (915) 757-9999.