Wrongful death cases are devastating for everyone involved. Knowing your loved one might still be alive if it not for someone else’s negligence can leave long-lasting feelings of anger and injustice. At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we are passionate about defending the rights of those who cannot defend themselves and seeking justice against negligent parties in wrongful death cases.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
The Texas Statutes define “wrongful death” as when one party causes the death of another through a wrongful act, carelessness, recklessness, neglect, lack of skill, or by default. Many different incidents can result in wrongful death, from surgical error to machinery malfunction. The most common types of wrongful death lawsuits involve car accidents, product defects, and medical malpractice.
Wrongful death can occur as a result of a dog bite, construction accident, premises liability, car accident, theme park accident, defective drugs, prescription error, unsafe products, work injury, and murder, among other acts. Any incident that occurs as the result of someone’s negligence or carelessness and results in the death of another person can qualify as wrongful death.
Medical malpractice cases of wrongful death can include surgical error, delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, prescription error, neglect, and other related negligence. In these cases, the victim’s family may sue the hospital as well as the doctor if the doctor was a hospital employee instead of an independent contractor. The family may also sue a negligent nurse, a maintenance person, the drug company (for a dangerous drug), and anyone else who contributed to the incident.
If an unsafe property, such as a faulty elevator or deteriorating scaffolding, caused wrongful death, the victim’s family may have a case against the property owner. If wrongful death occurred on the job, the family can take the supervisor, product manufacturer, general contractor, employer, and many others to court depending on the circumstances of the accident.
In the event of a murder, the victim’s family may sue the property owner or landlord for failing to provide a reasonably safe property. If poor security, broken parking lot lights, or another preventable safety hazard is the fault of the negligent property owner and contributed to the unsafe conditions that led to a murder, the courts may find the owner/landlord responsible.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
The Texas courts impose limitations on who can legally file a wrongful death claim and when. In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years after the deceased person’s death. The surviving spouse, children, or parents have three months after the date of death to file a claim before the executor of the deceased person’s estate may file a claim instead.
If a surviving family member requests the personal representative of the deceased person not file a claim, the representative cannot legally file a claim. An adopted child can file a claim for the death of an adoptive parent, but not for a biological parent. Texas law does not allow surviving siblings to claim wrongful death for a deceased brother or sister.
How to Recover Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we understand winning compensation for your loved one’s death will not change what happened. However, knowing the person responsible for the death is facing justice can give you peace of mind. The financial compensation you and your family can obtain for lost earning capacity, lost care and counsel the deceased person would have provided, lost love and companionship, lost inheritance, mental anguish, and more can help you heal.
Contact a Fort Hood Wrongful Death Attorney
If you need more information about wrongful death in Texas or would like to discuss your specific case with one of our personal injury lawyers, contact us online or call (254) 690-5688 for a free consultation.