Losing a loved one is never easy.
Fortunately, for the families of victims killed due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another, Texas’ wrongful death laws provide the legal channels through which family members can seek justice and economic compensation for their losses.
At the Stewart Law Firm, located in Austin, Texas, we want to be the support for families during this difficult time and help them navigate all that the wrongful death laws encapsulate.
Wrongful Death Law in Texas
According to Texas Statutes section 71.001, an action for wrongful death may be brought if:
“the wrongful act, neglect, unskillfulness, carelessness, or default” of one party causes the death of another party.
A wrongful death claim can be filed against any individual or entity that caused your family member’s death through their negligent or intentional actions.
There is a wide range of scenarios in which wrongful death can occur, and various parties may be held liable.
Eligible Parties in Wrongful Death Cases
Texas’ wrongful death statute allows certain relatives of a deceased family member whose death was caused by the acts of another person to pursue wrongful death actions.
These eligible parties commonly include:
- Surviving husband or wife
- Parents of the deceased
One individual may file the claim alone, or a group of eligible individuals may elect to file it together.
However, suppose the surviving spouse, children, and parents do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the date of death. In that case, the personal representative or executor of the deceased individual’s estate may file the claim instead.
While adult and adopted children are allowed to file wrongful death claims over the death of a parent, the law does not allow surviving siblings to file a wrongful death claim for the loss of a brother or sister.
Burden of Proof
Wrongful death claims are hinged on proving that another’s negligence, carelessness, or wrongful conduct more likely than not caused a victim’s death.
More likely than not, also known as a preponderance of the evidence, is the burden of proof used in the civil justice system.
(In criminal cases, the burden of proof is higher: beyond a reasonable doubt. However, civil and criminal cases are separate from one another, so you may still be able to pursue and win a civil wrongful death claim regardless of whether there is a criminal case or a defendant is found innocent of committing a crime.)
Eligible family members can work with our experienced personal injury attorneys to better determine how fault and liability can be established, given the unique facts and circumstances involved.
Wrongful Death Compensation
We know that nothing can ever replace your loved one.
But a successful wrongful death lawsuit can ease the financial burden placed on your family in a number of ways, including:
- lost income,
- medical bills,
- the mental anguish of those left behind
- loss of support and consortium
- emotional injuries
- loss of quality of life
Wrongful death claims can also serve to bring the responsible party to justice. Our legal team can help you better understand the types of damages you may be entitled to in your case.
Contact The Stewart Law Firm
For a personalized review and discussion of your case, we encourage you to reach out to our Texas personal injury lawyers for a free and confidential consultation. The Stewart Law Firm proudly serves families throughout Austin and the surrounding areas of Texas. Contact us today for the caring and compassionate support you deserve.