Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult times in an individual’s life, but when that loss is the result of the negligence of another, it’s an even harsher reality.
At The Stewart Law Firm, we’ve seen too many instances of wrongful death occur, and we are dedicated to helping surviving families fight for justice. Our Austin, Texas-based team will work with you to navigate the complex waters of Texas wrongful death lawsuits. Let’s take a look at what wrongful death means, and what the process of a wrongful death claim might involve.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought against a person or entity whose negligent or intentional actions have caused the death of another.
Wrongful death lawsuits can seek compensation for damages such as loss of companionship, financial support, emotional distress, and medical or funeral expenses.
In Texas, the wrongful death statutes are specifically designed to provide legal recourse for families who have lost their loved ones due to another’s negligence or wrongful act. It is, however, essential to remember that these are complex legal proceedings, requiring a clear understanding of the law and its nuances.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
Texas law states that the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased individual have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes adopted children and parents of adopted children, so long as the adoption is legal and complete. However, siblings are not allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a brother or sister.
Texas law also stipulates that if the eligible family members do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the loved one’s death, the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file the claim instead, unless a family member specifically requests them not to do so.
The Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
The process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can be complex, making it all the more essential to have competent legal assistance.
Here’s a general step-by-step outline of the process:
- Initiation: The eligible individual or the personal representative initiates the lawsuit by filing a complaint in the appropriate Texas court.
- Serving the Defendant: The party responsible for the death (the defendant) must be served with a notice of the lawsuit.
- Discovery: This is the evidence-gathering phase where both sides prepare their case. It may involve depositions, interrogatories, and document requests.
- Negotiation and Settlement: Many wrongful death lawsuits are settled out of court. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial.
- Trial: Both sides present their case in court. A verdict is then reached based on the evidence and arguments presented.
What Elements Need to Be Proven In a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Successfully pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit necessitates the demonstration of four fundamental elements, negligence, breach of duty, causation, and provable damages.
- Negligence: The death was caused, in whole or part, by the carelessness, recklessness, or intentional behavior of the defendant.
- Breach of Duty: Prove the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased individual.
- Causation: Prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the death of the individual.
- Damages: Show evidence that the death of the individual has resulted in quantifiable damages.
Why Having A Skilled Lawyer is Critical In Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Working with a lawyer from The Stewart Law Firm during a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas is crucial.
Our attorneys offer a deep understanding of Texas laws and court proceedings, ensuring your claim is effectively presented and diligently pursued. We can assist you in gathering evidence, proving negligence, quantifying damages, and negotiating settlements.
Contact a Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the hardest experiences. Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit amidst grief can be overwhelming.
However, you do not have to go through it alone. The Stewart Law Firm, with its comprehensive understanding of Texas wrongful death laws, stands ready to help. Contact us today for a consultation, and let our compassionate attorneys provide the support you need while you grieve and recover.