Arlington Wrongful Death Lawyers
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When a loved one dies in an unexpected accident, surviving family members may be left with a substantial amount of grief, debt, and expenses. Wrongful death incidents may inflict serious hardship upon these survivors. If you are the survivor of a wrongfully deceased individual, filing a wrongful death claim may allow you to receive compensation for the death itself and impose some liability upon the responsible party. If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with our Arlington wrongful death attorneys.
What is a Wrongful Death Action?
A wrongful death occurs when somebody is killed because of another person or entity’s negligence or general misconduct. Generally, a wrongful death action is a civil tort claim that allows certain surviving family members to hold responsible parties liable for the death of a family member. While some statutes may also permit criminal proceedings in these fatal situations, wrongful death actions allow for civil recovery as a means of compensation for the suffering incurred by grieving loved ones.
All states permit wrongful death claims in the civil context. In general, every state has its own wrongful death statute, with individualized criteria and procedures for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death claims in Texas can be filed by a party if the death in question was caused by the wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, neglect, or default of another person, corporation, or organization.
If you have lost a loved one because of an accident induced by one of these reasons, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Wrongful death statutes cover a wide range of incidents. These statutes are designed to hold at-fault parties responsible and help loved ones move forward accordingly.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death Incidents?
Many different circumstances may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. Although there is a wide range of case law surrounding wrongful death claims, the most common causes of wrongful death incidents include:
- Medical malpractice
- Bicycle accidents
- Defective products
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Criminal activities
Although these are some of the most common situations to give rise to wrongful death claims in Texas, the list is not exhaustive. Thus, you may still qualify for a wrongful death suit even if your situation does not fit squarely into one of the categories. It may be helpful to contact a wrongful death lawyer that practices in your particular jurisdiction to determine the adequacy of your legal claim.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
Although every state has some sort of wrongful death statute, the specifics of those statutes differ based on the jurisdiction.
In Texas, a wrongful death action may only be filed by certain members of the victim’s family. Typically, this includes the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased, including adoptive ones. These claims may be filed as a single claim or a joint action taken as a familial unit. Unfortunately, a judicial decree has established that siblings of the deceased cannot file a wrongful death claim in Texas courts, regardless of the family’s dynamic.
In addition to direct compensation for the members named in the lawsuit, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code also allows for the recovery of damages for the estate of the decedent. These damages typically include any amount that the decedent would have been able to recover if they were alive to bring a lawsuit. Recoverable amounts may vary depending on the specifics of your claim.
What Should I Do If a Loved One Was Killed in a Wrongful Death Incident?
1. Report the Accident
In most instances, incidents resulting in death will inevitably lead to police involvement. However, it is imperative that you ensure that the authorities create an adequate police report of the accident’s causes and proceedings. If you later wish to resort to legal avenues of redress, this report may play an important role in the court’s decision.
2. Document the Details
In addition to obtaining a copy of the police report, you should also document every detail of the accident. As time passes, many witness statements or opinions may be lost. Thus, it may be beneficial to obtain witness information and recollections immediately after the accident.
3. Identify the Responsible Party
There are many ways to determine liability in a wrongful death incident; however, identifying the responsible party is imperative to seeking damages. Thus, if you are a surviving family member of an individual killed in an accident, you should do your best to pinpoint the responsible party as quickly as possible.
4. Gather All Members of the Lawsuit
As previously mentioned, many different types of family members may bring a wrongful death claim. Thus, if you are planning to initiate a lawsuit, it may be beneficial to locate other individuals who may also have a personal stake in the claim.
5. Obtain a Professional Opinion
The laws surrounding wrongful death claims can be very complex. Therefore, it may be helpful to obtain legal advice about your particular claim before proceeding further into the litigation process.
Read More: Why Hiring an Attorney Will Help Your Case
What Damages MAY Be Awarded in Wrongful Death Claims?
When bringing a wrongful death action in court, there are many different types of damages that an aggrieved party may request. Ultimately, the damages received may vary depending on the specifics of your particular claim. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit may include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of guidance, advice, and counsel
- Loss of life assistance
- Loss of inheritance
- Funeral and burial costs
- Mental anguish
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost household services
Additionally, courts occasionally award punitive damages in particularly grotesque cases to punish a defendant for their gross negligence. In Texas, damages in wrongful death lawsuits may be awarded for a variety of reasons depending on the particular relationship between you and the deceased party. Contacting an attorney who specializes in wrongful death lawsuits may help you determine the damages available in your case.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas, wrongful death claims have a two-year statute of limitations. Consequently, surviving family members must file their lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death to be heard by a tribunal. Although the statute of limitations is usually absolute, there are a few exceptions to the two-year cutoff in wrongful death cases.
Specifically, the statute of limitations may be suspended if the defendant is absent from the state or dies unexpectedly. Alternatively, wrongful death claims involving product liability may have even a shorter statute of limitations than other claims. In most cases, Texas law only allows new cases involving defective products to be brought within 15 years of the product’s original launch; this limitation may hurt injured parties if they are unaware of their claim’s requirements. The statute of limitations may also be altered if the victim was a minor or if the cause of the victim’s death was incorrectly determined.
Ultimately, while there are some exceptions to the statewide statute of limitations, it may be best to bring your claim within two years of the incident to avoid any time-based issues. If you fail to bring your claim within the allotted time, you may lose the opportunity to file a complaint altogether.
Get Help from Arlington Wrongful Death Lawyers
Wrongful death claims are usually complex and require substantial legal analysis. Therefore, if you are a surviving family member of a victim of a wrongful death incident, you should contact a lawyer who handles wrongful death lawsuits as soon as possible. A wrongful death attorney may be able to help you seek legal recourse for any damages related to the incident and evaluate the specific facts of your claim.
At Zinda Law Group, our Arlington lawyers have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you pursue the highest compensation possible. Our lawyers have helped victims seek compensation after the loss of a loved one. Zinda Law Group provides quality consultation and may advise you on the best way to handle your claim. The sooner you contact our office, the higher the likelihood that we will be able to assist you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a wrongful death accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Arlington wrongful death lawyers. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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