If a family member has passed away because of the negligence of another party, it may be a good idea to talk to a wrongful death attorney in Houston. An attorney may be able to review your case for free to help you decide the best way to hold the party or parties that caused the death responsible for their actions. Hiring an attorney may also help bolster your odds of winning your case as insurance companies and others respect the track record that your legal counsel may have.
Call our Houston wrongful death lawyer at The Doan Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation. We are prepared to examine the details of your case and help you explore your legal options.
Houston Wrongful Death Legal Resources
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We treat our clients like family. You will be in frequent contact with your wrongful death lawyer throughout your case and not left in the dark about what’s going on.
The Doan Law Firm has achieved outstanding results for past clients because we aren’t desperate to quickly settle cases. We take our time and turn down offers that other lawyers would accept.
We are some of the most powerful personal injury lawyers in Houston. We have law offices all over Texas and throughout the United States. We specialize in cases where people’s lives are changed forever.
You won’t pay your wrongful death attorney anything for services completed on your case unless you win. Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis in Houston.
A Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Helps Seek Justice for Your Family Member
When an individual passes away, he or she is no longer able to have his or her day in court. However, you may be able to seek justice for your sibling, parent or whoever died unnecessarily. As long as you bring about your case within two years, Texas law gives you the opportunity to seek compensation and other relief to make you or other affected parties whole again. Hiring an attorney can make the legal process easier for you and your family during this difficult time.
A wrongful death attorney in Houston can help you navigate Texas’s related laws, including filing deadlines and important legal requirements. Your lawyer will investigate the fatal incident, search for signs of negligence and negotiate for maximum financial compensation on your behalf. You can trust the legal legwork of your claim to an attorney while you focus on grieving and rebuilding your life as much as possible.
What Is the Definition of Wrongful Death in Texas?
Although the civil tort of wrongful death has similar definitions across the nation, each state has its own specific wrongful death statute. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.002 defines wrongful death as a loss of life caused by another person’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default (omission). In general, if a reasonable and prudent party most likely would have prevented your loved one’s fatal injury or illness in the same or similar circumstances, you will have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.
Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers May Prove Negligence Occurred
Just because an individual passes away doesn’t mean that it is anyone’s fault or that anyone intended it to happen. If a death is ruled to be accidental, you or other family members may not be entitled to compensation or any other relief as allowed by law. Therefore, it is important that your attorney is able to prove negligence was the main reason why your loved one passed away.
Negligence occurs when a person makes a decision not supported by facts, experience or tools available to remedy a situation. For instance, if a doctor fails to operate after a car accident, he or she may be negligent if a patient was brought to a hospital with the proper tools to do the job. However, he or she may not be negligent if that person didn’t have the experience necessary to do the surgery or was stranded on the side of the road without the tools to do so properly.
An attorney will take a look at a variety of records to determine if anything could have been done differently to alter the outcome in your case. This may involve reviewing the events that led up to a car accident or a misdiagnosis that led to death. It may also involve reviewing an individual’s medical records to see if he or she had received proper treatment or if he or she was denied treatment that could have prevented the death from occurring.
Common Incidents Involved in Houston Wrongful Death Claims
A family in Houston can file a wrongful death lawsuit after many different types of preventable fatal accidents. At The Doan Law Firm, our wrongful death attorneys in Houston have years of experience handling different kinds of cases for clients. We understand this practice area and how to litigate the most common wrongful death cases, such as:
Our law firm specializes in mass casualty incidents in Texas. We have recovered seven-figure and eight-figure results for fatal disasters in Texas, including oil refinery explosions and drowning deaths. We can help if your loved one was killed in a catastrophe that took numerous lives. We can give your loved one a voice and fight for your fair share of a class action or mass tort settlement against a shared defendant.
What Specific Damages Can a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Pursue?
You may be entitled to compensation that would pay off your deceased family member’s final expenses including hospital bills and funeral costs. It may also be used to pay off a mortgage, credit card debt or other expenses an individual owed as to reduce the burden that those debts may place on the next of kin.
A Houston wrongful death attorney will vigorously pursue compensation on behalf of their client. Wrongful death beneficiaries are allowed to seek various types of damages, including those typically associated with personal injury claims as well as damages for the last to the estate, the loss of a familial relationship, and the losses that directly affect the immediate family members.
Some of the most common types of damages for a wrongful death claim include the following:
Lost earning capacity that the deceased would have reasonably been expected to earn throughout their lifetime
The reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided to assist their family had they survived
The loss of companionship, society, love, counsel, and emotional support the deceased would have provided their family
Mental anguish, which includes the suffering the family has to endure due to losing their loved one
The loss of inheritance, which is the value of any assets the descendants would have reasonably anticipated receiving had that loved one lived a full life
There is no set amount of compensation paid to families if the wrongful death claim is successful. Rather, there are several factors that will be examined when working to adequately calculate how much compensation should be paid. Some of the most important factors include the following:
The age, education level, and occupation of the deceased
Past earnings and future earning potential
Whether or not there was any shared fault for the incident
Insurance limitations of the at-fault party
Total assets of the at-fault party
Other forms of compensation may be available depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. There is no guarantee of any particular outcome in your case, and your wrongful death attorney will work with you to determine what compensation you may be entitled to in your particular case. A skilled lawyer who handles the Houston wrongful death claim will work with trusted financial and economic experts to help calculate the total amounts of compensation and then negotiate with the insurance carriers and other parties involved.
What Are the Differences Between Economic, Non-Economic, & Punitive Damages?
It can be confusing to understand the difference between economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, all of which can be sought through a wrongful death trial.
Economic damages are the more calculable losses that a family and the estate will endure as a result of the death. These are tangible losses like medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and any other expense that can be calculated by using a bill, receipt, invoice, etc.
Non-economic damages refer to the more intangible losses the family is likely going to endure due to the death. These are the losses that do not have direct bills or receipts attached, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish of the deceased, the loss of counsel and emotional support, and the loss of consortium (sexual relations) for a spouse or partner.
Punitive damages are not sought in every single wrongful death claim. These damages are reserved for situations where the conduct of the alleged at-fault party was particularly egregious or intentional. Punitive damages are meant to serve as a punishment to the defendant as well as a deterrent to keep others from behaving in the same way.
What to Look for in Your Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
When searching for the perfect wrongful death lawyer in Houston to represent you and your family, research your options and narrow down your list based on the best traits to be found in an attorney. These include:
Years of experience. Your wrongful death lawyer should have ample experience in this practice area. Only hands-on experience can give an attorney the skill and knowledge required to tackle the obstacles that may arise during your case.
Compassion for clients. The law firm that you choose should have practices in place that put the client first, such as open communication, free initial consultations, affordable legal fees and personalized legal services. This will make certain that your attorney treats your wrongful death case with due care and respect.
Positive case results. A history of positive case results can give you confidence in your attorney’s ability to achieve the case outcome that you want. The Doan Law Firm has secured record results and verdicts for families in Texas using aggressive legal strategies.
Get to know our lawyers during a free one-on-one case evaluation in Houston. You can discuss your tragic loss with one of our friendly and compassionate wrongful death attorneys in person or over the phone.
Houston Wrongful Death FAQs
To have a successful wrongful death claim in Texas, you must correctly navigate relevant laws. Making even one mistake when bringing a lawsuit could bar you from financial recovery. It is important to entrust your case to a lawyer who has experience and knowledge of Texas’s wrongful death laws for a valid case. Your lawyer can navigate the rules for you to ensure a legal and valid lawsuit:
Are Survival Claims the Same Thing?
Survival actions are often filed at the same time as a wrongful death claim, but they are not the same thing. Under Texas statute, the deceased individual’s heir or a state representative is allowed to file a personal injury claim that the deceased would have been able to file on their own had they survived the incident. Wrongful death claims are separate from a survival action, and they are designed to help the plaintiff recover compensation on behalf of the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents for the loss of their loved one.
By bringing both a wrongful death claim and a survival action at the same time, family members and their attorney can work to maximize the total compensation available in order to help them gain more closure and to hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Who can File the Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas, the decedent’s surviving spouse, children or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit, or one or more of these individuals can file on behalf of all of them. If none of these parties files within three months of the date of death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file. This party may be named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the courts, depending on the circumstances.
What is the Filing Deadline?
Texas has a statute of limitations that limits the right to file a wrongful death cause of action to two years from the date of the decedent’s death. Typically, if you miss this deadline, your case will be dismissed by the courts, or the defense will use this as an argument against liability. Note, however, that you may have substantially less time to file if you are attempting to hold a government entity responsible. Cities in Texas can create their own statutes of limitations on claims against the government. Some are as little as 45 days.
What if There is a Criminal Case?
If someone intended to harm or kill your loved one, your case may involve criminal charges brought against the defendant. This can extend your filing deadline to two years from the date of the conclusion of the criminal case. If the defendant is convicted of homicide, this can serve as evidence in your wrongful death case.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Attorney Cost?
At the Doan Law Firm, we are proud to take Houston wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis on behalf of clients. This means that grieving family members will not have to worry about paying legal fees until after we successfully recover the compensation they are entitled to. The legal fees will be based on an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement or jury verdict. We handle all of the costs related to the case. The client pays nothing out-of-pocket, and if we do not win, the client pays no legal fees.
Can You File a Claim for the Loss of a Sibling?
Unfortunately, Texas law does not allow siblings to file wrongful death lawsuits in civil court. We encourage all family members to speak to their family members about filing a wrongful death claim and to reach out to an attorney for assistance when working to understand who is allowed to file these claims. In the event the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased do not file the wrongful death claim within three months from the date of death, the executor or administrator of the estate can file the claim unless specifically not asked to buy the spouse, children, or parents.
Fully understanding Texas’s wrongful death laws and how they affect your case may take assistance from a knowledgeable attorney in Houston. The Doan Law Firm has experienced attorneys who can guide you and your family through a wrongful death lawsuit while minimizing the stress and headache of taking legal action. We will expertly navigate these laws on your behalf.
We Care About Families in Texas | Speak to Our Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things that you will go through in your life. However, if your sibling, parent or grandparent died because of someone else’s mistake, it may be in your best interest to hire a wrongful death lawyer in Houston, Texas. You can visit us at The Doan Law Firm 1 Riverway, Suite 2500 Houston, Texas 77056 where we can work on an initial consultation or answer any other questions that you may have. We can also be reached by phone at (800) 349-0000 to answer your questions or to review your case for free.