An action for "wrongful death" occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of an individual, company or entity. The Texas Wrongful Death Act spells out who can sue and what compensation may be sought.
The decedent's survivors or estate may bring a lawsuit for wrongful death. Survivors include the spouse, children and parents of the deceased. Siblings, aunts, uncles and friends cannot bring a wrongful death cause of action.
Damages that are recoverable by survivors in a wrongful death cause of action include:
- Loss of the care, maintenance, support, services, advice and counsel had the decedent lived
- Loss of companionship, society and love
- Mental anguish
- Loss of inheritance
- Exemplary (punitive) damages in certain cases such as drunk driving accidents or other extremely reckless or intentional acts
Matters involving wrongful death are always painful and tragic. When a loved one is killed due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another person, it is devastating for the surviving family. At Rush & Gransee, L.C., we are sensitive to the tragic circumstances that bring you to us in matters of wrongful death. We will handle your legal case with experience and skill, aggressively pursuing all legal remedies and recourse to obtain the maximum legal judgment to which you are entitled. We will also treat you with the sensitivity that your case warrants, and with the dignity and respect that you deserve.
Our experienced attorneys have obtained notable wrongful death verdicts and settlements for fatal injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions, for fatal complications of medical negligence, or for other personal injury circumstances resulting in death, such as pipeline explosions, nursing home neglect and dangerous drugs and medical devices.The Origins And Intent Of The Wrongful Death Law
Texas enacted the wrongful death statute in 1860. Prior to 1860, a cause of action for injuries terminated upon the death of the injured party. Therefore, it was advantageous for the defendant to actually cause someone's demise versus simply causing a minor injury. It was said that it was cheaper to bury your mistakes in comparison to saving or preventing the death of someone.
The Texas Wrongful Death Statute can be found at Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The act provides a method to compensate the decedent's spouse, children and parents for the losses they sustained as a result of the decedent's injuries and death. The purpose of the Texas Wrongful Death Statute was to undo the English common law, which provided that upon the death of the injured party, all claims for injuries were extinguished. Now the designated family members as well as administrators and executors of the estate can bring a cause of action under the statute.Time Limitations
There are time limitations for filing a lawsuit under the Texas Wrongful Death Statute; therefore you need to act quickly. The general rule is that you must file the case within two years from the date the cause of action accrued (usually the date the person died). However, under some limited circumstances, the two-year limitation period may be extended. Extensions may be granted if minors are involved, if a party is incompetent, or if the negligence was covered up and could not have been discovered within the two years. It is important to consult with a Texas wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible because there is often an investigation that needs to be done prior to filing the suit.Survival Statute
Another less well-known avenue for recovery in Texas is the Survival Statute. The Survival Statute allows a lawsuit to recover for the personal injuries sustained by the deceased prior to his or her death. The statute essentially allows the lawsuit to proceed as if the victim had survived. It is important to evaluate any case involving death under both the wrongful death and survival statutes.
At Rush & Gransee, L.C., we are San Antonio trial lawyers with many years of experience effectively representing clients in matters of wrongful death in Texas courts. We have the knowledge, skill and resources to negotiate wrongful death settlements that are fair to you and your family, reflecting the gravity of the loss you have suffered. We are skilled trial advocates, using a network of experts and modern accident reconstruction techniques to effectively present your case in court. We often hire medical doctors to assist in cases involving serious injuries and death. In some cases, we have hired three or more doctors to assist in their various specialties. This is a valuable resource because of the many medical and cause-and-effect issues upon which a wrongful death case may hinge.Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you have lost a loved one because of the negligent actions or misconduct of another, you need professional legal advice. We will provide you with quality representation and treat you with the dignity that you deserve. Call us at 210-223-9200 or toll free at 888-501-9299, or contact us online. We provide a free consultation, and we do not receive attorney fees unless we recover wrongful death compensation.