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The unexpected death of a loved one can have a traumatic impact on your life. The emotional and financial burdens on you and your family members can be overwhelming and leave you feeling like you have no place to turn. But that is not true. If your loved one’s death was the result of another person’s careless or negligent actions, Texas law states that you might be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation. A wrongful death lawyer in Austin can help.
The team of wrongful death attorneys at Lovins Trosclair, PLLC has a combined 30 years of experience successfully helping individuals dealing with wrongful death claims; we know what it takes to get you a fair recovery to help you deal with the financial aftermath.
Contact us today if your family has suffered a tragic loss at the hands of another so that we can begin working hard to protect your rights. Call us at 512-535-1649.
What You Need to Know About a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death is an accident in which “a person dies due to the legal fault of another person.”
A wrongful death action exists for the sole benefit of the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. This means only a surviving spouse, children, or parents can bring a claim. Under Texas law, you cannot file a wrongful death claim if a friend or distant relative of yours has died unexpectedly (however, you may be able to file a survival action, which we will discuss later).
The wrongful death statute also states that while there may be several survivors who wish to file a claim, there can only be one suit.
Who can I file a wrongful death claim against?
You might have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against any of the following parties that may be responsible from the loss of someone close to you:
- An individual
- A government entity
- A hospital
- A corporation or other type of business
Whether it was a car accident, medical malpractice, or workplace incident, it does not matter; wrongful death claims are possible regardless of how the death occurred — as long the death was negligence-based (i.e., it was someone else’s fault).
What can I recover in a wrongful death claim?
While we know that a lawsuit cannot even begin to help you heal from the emotional trauma of dealing with death of someone you love, it can help ease the burden of financial distress that a sudden death can cost you. Recoverable economic damages include:
- Costly medical bills related to the incident
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of future financial support
- Loss of inheritance
In addition to economic damages, the wrongful death statute also allows family members to recover damages for the loss of love, affection, and companionship that comes with a loved one’s untimely death. These types of damages are not as easy to quantify as economic damages, but juries tend to understand it’s the emotional pain that comes with the death of a loved one that is the most important.
In limited situations, you may also be entitled to recover punitive damages if the actions of the person that caused the death rise to the level of gross negligence under the law. While often difficult to prove, our Austin wrongful death lawyers have had success in the past establishing gross negligence in wrongful death cases.
What is a survival action and can you file one?
Here is the easiest way to understand what a survival action is: a wrongful death action allows you to pursue a recovery for YOUR own injures; a survival action allows the estate of your loved one to pursue a recovery for your LOVED ONE’S injuries that he suffered prior to his death.
For example, if your loved one is severely injured in a trucking accident and eventually dies due to those injuries days later, Texas law allows your loved one’s estate to recover the damages suffered by your loved one as a result of the trucking accident, including the pain and suffering he or she felt and the medical bills he or she incurred due to the accident.
Essentially, if you are an heir or if the decedent named you in his or her will, you can likely file a survival action on behalf of the estate. It is important to note that a survival action benefits the estate, not the surviving family members.
What must you prove to file a wrongful death claim?
Proving a wrongful death case can seem like an overwhelming task. There are several key pieces of evidence you will need to provide to show cause for your wrongful death lawsuit.
First you must prove that the other person was negligent. In other words, you must show the other person acted in a way that was unreasonable or improper. For example, with trucking accident cases you may show that the truck driver was on the road for too many hours prior to the wreck, the truck brakes were not properly maintained, or the driver was not paying attention to traffic ahead of him. Showing that the other party acted negligently often requires expert witnesses who can testify about what the proper standard was and how the other party failed to meet that standard. Evidence from the scene and statements from witnesses are also important evidence to establish negligence.
Next, you need to show that the negligent action was in fact the cause of your loved one’s death. In other words, we must link the bad action with the cause of death. For example, if your loved one is severely injured on the job and sustains injuries to his legs and dies one month later of a heart attack due to high cholesterol, this would not be a basis for a wrongful death action. Establishing that the negligence of the other party caused your loved one’s death frequently will require medical reports and/or testimony from a medical practitioner.
Another important aspect of building your case is showing proof of damages, both economic and emotional. Economic damages require evidence of actual financial losses suffered by you as a result of your loved one’s death. The most common example is children who no longer get the financial support a working mother provided to them prior to her death. This is established by looking at what the mother made and showing what she would have made until the child enters adulthood.
Emotional damages require evidence showing a close, loving relationship. An adult child who never even talked to their mother is not going to be awarded the same emotional damages as a minor child who spent every waking minute with their mom, for example.
Building your case is a task that can seem daunting to the average person. Lots of documents, lots of expert witnesses, lots of fact witnesses, and hours upon hours of investigations go into proving wrongful death cases. That is why many Texas residents have trusted the experts at Lovins Trosclair, PLLC to help them file successful wrongful death claims.
Call Lovins Trosclair, PLLC to File Your Wrongful Death Claim
The wrongful death attorneys at Lovins Trosclair, PLLC have decades of experience fighting for the rights of individuals pursuing wrongful death and survivorship claims in Austin and surrounding areas.
We know that insurance companies make it their sole purpose to limit the damages you are entitled to under Texas Law. And for survivorship claims, proving a claim can be even more difficult.
That is why it is important you hire an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to win your case.
We are so confident we can help you file your case that we will not even accept payment unless we win your case.
Contact us today: 512-535-1649.