Losing a loved one is always difficult, but that loss can be even more devastating when another person’s negligence causes your loved one’s death. If your loved one died in an accident or incident caused by another party, you might be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit against that person or company.
At Rochelle McCullough, we have represented clients in some of Texas’s most challenging and emotional wrongful death cases. We have recovered millions in compensation for clients and wrongful death lawsuits and will advocate strongly for you throughout the process. Contact our personal injury attorney today to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation and learn more about your legal options.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When an innocent person dies because of another person’s negligence, their surviving family members can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the deceased individual can’t fight against the wrongs that happened to them that led to their fatality, their surviving family members have a right to pursue damages on their behalf. Even if the person who caused the deceased individual’s death is being prosecuted for murder or manslaughter in criminal courts, surviving family members can still bring a civil lawsuit for financial compensation.
Pursuing compensation helps surviving family members address the financial strain they are often left with due to their loved one’s medical expenses, lost income, and funeral and burial expenses. Many cases involve motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents, but wrongful death accidents can happen nearly anywhere.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
When another person or company’s negligent or intentional actions cause a victim’s death, the victim’s surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim. Nearly any type of accident that results in another person’s death could lead to a lawsuit. However, the plaintiff pursuing the lawsuit needs to prove that the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior caused the accident that resulted in their loved one’s death.
For example, all of the following types of accidents and incidents could qualify as wrongful death claims in Texas:
- Auto accidents caused by distracted driving
- Auto accidents caused by an intoxicated driver
- Workplace accidents caused by a lack of supervision or training
- Attacks, assaults, or other criminal actions that cause another person’s death
- Elevator/Escalator incidents
- Accidents resulting from deteriorating or unmaintained properties
- Slip and fall accidents caused by dangerous conditions on another person’s property
- Defective products or drugs
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
Every state has its own laws related to who is eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. In Texas, eligible beneficiaries of the person who died can pursue wrongful death claims. Eligible beneficiaries include the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents of unmarried children. In most cases, the following people are eligible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas:
- Beneficiaries under a will
- Life partners
- Any other dependents
The deceased individual’s spouse and children have their primary right to file a wrongful death claim in Texas. When the spouse or child is pursuing a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s parents, siblings, or other relatives will not be able to file a claim in most cases. There is a statute of limitations, also known as a time limit, for filing a wrongful death claim, so the sooner you speak to an attorney, the better.
At Rochelle McCullough, our attorneys know how to advocate on behalf of surviving family members to hold the negligent party responsible. If you have questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit or are unsure whether you are entitled to pursue compensation, we are here to answer your questions and help you understand your rights.
The attorneys at Rochelle McCullough understand that no amount of money can bring your loved one back. However, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you and your family obtain the compensation you need to protect your financial future. It can also help you hold the negligent party or parties responsible for your loved one’s death.
There are three main types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit. Economic damages include easily quantifiable expenses related to your loved one’s death. Medical expenses related to your loved one’s death, funeral and burial costs, the loss of your loved one’s future earnings, and the loss of your loved one’s future benefits are all considered economic damages.
Non-economic damages include damages with a less tangible value, such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of inheritance, and loss of consortium. When the person or company who caused your loved one’s death acted in a wilful or grossly negligent manner, you may be able to obtain additional punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the party who caused your loved one’s death and deter others from engaging and similarly dangerous activity.
How Is the Compensation Distributed After a Lawsuit?
When a person passes away, many factors will affect which surviving family members will receive compensation from the lawsuit’s settlement or verdict. Under Texas law, juries decide who receives compensation in wrongful death verdicts. The jury will consider whether the deceased individual has children and typically awards the bulk of the compensation to the child and spouse.
When the deceased individual leaves behind minor children, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the child is fairly represented and receives fair compensation from a wrongful death claim involving their parent. When the surviving family members are all adults, the jury will consider whether they can be fair while dividing the compensation and whether they can divide it without disputing with each other.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
If you recently lost someone you love in an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure about the next steps you should take. We encourage you to reach out to the empathetic attorneys at Rochelle McCullough to discuss your case. We will carefully listen to the facts of your case, answer your questions, and help you understand your legal options.
Pursuing compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit can help protect your financial future and hold the defendant accountable for your loved one’s death. Contact Rochelle McCullough to schedule a free case evaluation.