Personal Injury Law provides for recovery when you have suffered the loss of a family member who was killed in an accident or died from the negligence of someone else. This right to recover is known as a claim for wrongful death. In many states, wrongful death statutes (laws) were enacted to provide recovery for the survivors of wrongful death decedent. Under the wrongful death statute, an attorney can file a complaint for damages. Filing the complaint starts the lawsuit. Normally, an attorney will make every effort to settle the claim without having to file a lawsuit in order to save you the time and expense of litigation. Often, wrongful death cases may settle without having to go to trial. If a reasonable settlement offer is not offered to you, an attorney can file a complaint and start the litigation process on your behalf.
In a wrongful death case, you need to establish that the negligent or intentional misconduct was the cause of the wrongful death. You will also need to establish that the person or company should be held responsible for the misconduct – this is establishing liability for the accident. Once you establish these factors (causation and liability) you may have a viable wrongful death claim which would entitle recovery under the Wrongful Death Statute.
Under the Wrongful Death Statute, the deceased’s heirs could have a right to receive compensation in the form of money damages for their loss of companionship, loss of society, loss of probable support – grief – or sorrow, loss of comfort, loss of consortium, as well as damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent. In addition, the damages recoverable by the personal representatives of a decedent’s estate can include special damages (such as the deceased’s medical expenses), which were sustained or incurred before death, as well as funeral expenses, and exemplary or punitive damages, that the wrongful death victim would have recovered if he or she had lived, but do not include damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement of the decedent. These are they damages which may be available in a wrongful death case. These different types of damages may not be the same under the law of other states, so you may need to consult a local personal injury attorney if you do not live in Texas.
It is difficult to think about filing a lawsuit when you are dealing with the loss of a family member. There are many things to do after an unexpected and tragic death such as contacting other relatives, making the funeral arrangements, taking care of unfinished business and settling the estate of the wrongful death victim. The magnitude of the emotional and financial losses you have suffered is often overwhelming. You may want to consider the benefits of grief counseling if you or your family are having a hard time adjusting to the unexpected loss. When you are ready to evaluate your right to a wrongful death claim, an attorney can help you determine if you have a viable case. Many attorneys provide free legal advice in an initial consultation.
If you want to discuss wrongful death or any other personal injury claim, you can get a free consultation with our law firm. We provide legal representation for wrongful death and other personal injury claims throughout the state.