Abilene Wrongful Death Attorney
Serving Surviving Family Members in West Texas
No family should ever have to experience the emotional trauma of losing a loved one through an avoidable and unpredicted accident. The experience of shock, loss, and grief is devastating enough followed by the financial hardship of unexpected medical, burial, and funeral expenses. When the deceased family member was a breadwinner, it can add an additional element of financial adversity that compounds the matter. It can put the family at risk for even deeper hardship and potential ruin. When all of this has been caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing of another, it becomes a legal matter called a wrongful death.
A wrongful death claim can be made on behalf of surviving family members seeking compensation for their damages and losses. While no amount of money can bring back a lost loved one, it can provide the financial resources needed for a family’s future survival as well as provide a sense of justice for what never should have happened in the first place. At Keith & Lorfing, we represent clients in such claims, using all of our years of legal experience, trial skills, and strong work ethic to fight for a fair and just settlement or verdict. If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death, we urge you to learn more about your case and how we can help as soon as possible.
How a Wrongful Death Claim Works in Texas
Under Texas Statute Section 71.001, a wrongful death occurs from a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” This type of death commonly occurs in traffic accidents caused by negligent drivers. These deaths can also occur in worksite accidents, such as on oil rigs, in slip and fall accidents, swimming pool drownings, through criminal attacks, medical negligence, and more. The element of liability on the part of another person, business, or entity must be present. These are civil cases seeking damages. They may or may not also be subject to criminal charges which is a separate matter handled in a criminal court.
In Texas, those survivors who are allowed to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party include the following:
- Surviving spouses
- Surviving children, either adult or minor, including adopted children
- Surviving parents, including adoptive parents
- Personal representatives of the deceased person’s estate
The surviving family members may file their claim singly or as a group. If they do not file their claim within three months from the day the deceased person passed away, the claim can be filed by the personal representative or the executor of the estate.
Wrongful Death Claim Damages
The damages sought in a wrongful death claim generally fall into two types of categories. The first are those owed to the deceased person, such as for his or her medical expenses prior to death, the pain and suffering endured, lost income or wages, and for the cost of the funeral and burial. The second type of damages are those covering the surviving family members’ losses. These can include the lost earning capacity of their loved one, their emotional trauma, pain, and suffering, their loss of comfort, support, services, care, advice, and companionship, and, in the case of children, for their lost inheritance.
In some cases, “exemplary” damages may be awarded by the court. These are commonly known as punitive damages recovered in deaths where gross negligence or a willful act occurred. These types of damages are meant as a punishment for the at-fault party and to show the state’s intolerance of such a level of negligence or wrongdoing.
Statute of Limitations
In Texas, you generally have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. If you fail to file within that timeframe, you may forfeit your right to pursue compensation.
Turn to Keith & Lorfing for Compassionate & Skilled Legal Help
A wrongful death claim must be proven in court; this involves demonstrating that negligence did in fact occur and that it led to the injuries that resulted in death and damages. Your case will need to be carefully prepared with solid evidence. Our skilled trial lawyer has been preparing and building legal cases in the courts for more than a decade and is widely respected for the integrity of his professional work.
Get the legal advice and guidance you need from our Abilene wrongful death lawyer. Reach out to us at (325) 308-6960 today.
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