If you lost an immediate family member because of someone else’s negligence, Texas laws may allow you to file for compensation for some of your financial and emotional damages. A wrongful death lawyer in Sugar Land can handle this process for you, answering any questions you have, explaining your eligibility, and filing an insurance claim or a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf.
Call the personal injury attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, today at 713-850-8600 for a free case evaluation. Our legal team is here to help you get the full compensation you deserve.
Damages From a Wrongful Death Claim
We can file a wrongful death claim to collect compensation for your financial and emotional damages stemming from the death of an immediate family member. The damages available through this type of claim provide only for your own losses, and the losses of other surviving family members.
Wrongful death damages do not include any of the expenses the deceased incurred before they passed away, or any of their pain and suffering losses. These types of damages are only available through a survival action filed on behalf of the estate. We can also file this type of claim for your family.
Wrongful death damages vary based on the facts of your case, but some of the most common we recover for families include:
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including funeral costs;
- Lost income, based on your family member’s future income;
- Loss of inheritance expected from your loved one;
- Cost of grief therapy and other emotional support services;
- Loss of services your family member previously provided;
- Loss of support for help with household chores and childcare;
- Loss of advice and counsel your family member provided;
- Loss of companionship; and
- Mental anguish for grief and suffering.
If we take your case to court, we may also ask the judge to award punitive damages. The courts only award punitive damages in cases when the at-fault party acted in a particularly heinous or intentional way, and this led to your loved one’s death. Punitive damages punish the liable party, in an attempt to prevent the same type of incident from occurring again.
Family Members Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Sugar Land
limits who we can represent in wrongful death actions. Only certain immediate family members can pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim in the state. Eligible parties are:
- Legally married partners;
- Children; and
Other family members, including siblings, grandparents, domestic partners, and previous spouses may not file a wrongful death action.
If three months pass after a person’s death and no eligible family member files a wrongful death claim, the administrator of the estate can file this type of action and collect compensation for any eligible party. However, this is not possible if any of the immediate family members object.
It is also important to note that only one family member needs to take action and file a wrongful death claim. There is no need for all eligible parties to file their own claim. Instead, one wrongful death action can recover compensation on behalf of every qualifying family member.
Types of Fatal Personal Injury Accidents in Sugar Land
It is not uncommon to feel uncertain whether or not you have a valid wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in an accident. One of the best ways to understand what caused your loved one’s accident—and to learn more about your right to compensation—is to let one of our attorneys evaluate your case.
Most wrongful deaths in Texas occur because someone acted negligently. One person acts in a careless, reckless, or unreasonable way, and another loses their life as a result. Proving negligence is key to getting the money you need and deserve after most deadly accidents. We can review your case and help you understand the role of negligence in your family member’s death.
We represent families suffering after a wide variety of wrongful death incidents, including:
- Car accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- 18-wheeler crashes;
- Pedestrian collisions;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Boating accidents;
- Slips, trips, and falls;
- Swimming and diving accidents;
- Other premises liability incidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Traumatic brain injuries; and
- Spinal cord injuries.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Action
To hold the negligent party financially responsible for the losses related to your loved one’s death, we need to provide evidence showing:
- The responsible party acted unreasonably or broke laws;
- This caused the accident and injuries;
- Your loved one passed away because of their injuries; and
- You suffered financial losses because of their death.
We collect this evidence by investigating their death, often with the help of accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and other specialists. They can provide us with a better sense of exactly what happened, what caused the accident, and how it caused your family member to suffer injuries.
Each case is different, but some of the most common types of evidence we use to prove negligence and liability come from:
- Police, first responder, or other accident reports;
- Witness statements;
- Video of the incident;
- Pictures from the scene; and
- Your family member’s medical records.
Time Limits on Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas
The Texas statute of limitations puts a two-year limit on filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the state. Eligible family members or the administrator of the estate only have two years from the date of the death to file a civil suit against the liable party.
While this time limit does not apply to other actions we may take to collect the compensation due to you, we still need to act quickly. In most cases, we can negotiate a settlement from the liable party’s insurance company without taking the case to court. This is possible because they want to avoid going to court as much as you do. However, if we cannot file a lawsuit, there is no motivation for them to payout the settlement you deserve.
You May Be Eligible to File a Survival Claim
In some cases, we may also be able to recover compensation through a survival action. A survival claim pays out to the estate, covering medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering your loved one suffered before they passed away.
If you loved one lived for several days or even weeks after they suffered their injuries, this payout could be substantial. We can provide advice about a survival claim based on the facts of your case.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Sugar Land Today
If you have questions or concerns about your legal right to compensation after you lost a family member in an accident, the legal team from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, is here to help. Call us today at 713-850-8600 for your free consultation and case evaluation.