Corpus Christi Wrongful Death Lawyers

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Grieving the loss of a loved one can be excruciating; the last thing on your mind may be financial recovery. However, the wrongful death of a family member often brings financial hardship. In your time of need, Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyers are ready to hold the negligent party accountable and seek recovery on your behalf.

You’ve not only lost companionship but also your loved one’s guidance, support, and financial contributions. Though you’re mourning, potential defendants urgently seek legal counsel to protect their interests. Following a wrongful death, you should contact an accidental death attorney as soon as possible to ensure the preservation of evidence for seeking compensation.

Our Corpus Christi personal injury lawyers are here to assist you. If you have lost a family member because of wrongful death, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer near you.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a term used in Texas to describe a claim that a surviving family member can bring when their loved one dies as a result of a fatal accident. A wrongful death action is a civil action, brought under a state’s wrongful death statute. In Texas, the Civil Practice and Remedies Code contains the statute explaining that a wrongful death suit can be brought if:

  • An injury results in a person’s death or a fetus’s failure to be born
  • The injury was caused by a person’s, or their agent’s, or an entity’s, wrongful conduct, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default, and
  • The injured person would have been entitled to bring an action for the injury had they lived or been born alive.

Texas law allows families to explore their options in ensuring that potential defendants are held accountable. Establishing the defendant’s liability can mean that the survivors of the deceased receive compensation from the responsible party for the loss of the financial, emotional, and physical support of the deceased.

What Is the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Cases?

In a sense, a wrongful death claim is like a personal injury claim. The major difference is, in the instance of a wrongful death claim, the person who was injured is no longer able to bring the claim themselves.

Indeed, the term “wrongful death” refers to a specific type of personal injury case. However, the provisions of the law regarding wrongful death treat this type of case differently from the typical personal injury case—that is why it is important to find an accident lawyer who is familiar with Texas law.

Like a personal injury claim, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed in civil court. Additionally, both claims are based upon the theory of negligence, or in other words, the plaintiff is required to prove that a duty was owed, that the duty was breached, and that damage resulted from the breach.

As stated, the biggest difference in these cases is that the person injured is deceased and the claim is being brought on their behalf. If a person files a personal injury claim and does not survive, their action for personal injury fails and at that moment the family members of the deceased should look into filing a wrongful death claim.

It is important to keep in mind that there are state-specific statutory requirements defining when a wrongful death has occurred. Because wrongful death claims are state-dependent, it is important to contact an accidental death lawyer who is familiar with Texas law.

Our team at Zinda Law Group has Corpus Christi injury lawyers who are well versed in this area of law and are ready to evaluate your claim. Experienced, compassionate lawyers are standing by to answer your questions and inform you of your legal rights.

Duty of Care

For a defendant to be held liable for an individual’s wrongful death, there must have been a particular action or condition that caused it. The action or condition need not be the sole cause of the death, it only needs to be a substantial factor in the death. Most often, wrongful death occurs as a result of a person acting negligently.

In a civil action for wrongful death, the plaintiff must first prove that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care. The term “due care” means that the defendant had an obligation to perform or refrain from some action to keep the decedent safe. After a judge determines that the defendant owed a duty to the deceased, the next step is to prove negligence.

Neglect refers to the mental state where one ought to have been aware of an unjustifiable risk. This standard calls into question the reasonableness of the act or omission that caused the person’s death. This is a consideration for the court, which takes into account the probability and the magnitude of the potential harm, in addition to what risks the defendant subjectively knew at the time of the fatal accident.

Types of Wrongful death cases

Wrongful deaths are caused by several types of situations and factors. The following are the most common types of wrongful death cases.

Auto Accidents

With the number of drivers on the road increasing, car accidents remain the most common cause of wrongful death accidents. The majority of car accidents are a result of at least one driver’s negligence. Thousands die each year because other drivers were driving beyond the speed limit, driving recklessly, not paying attention to the road, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Even in situations where neither party in the accident was driving negligently, state roads or state-controlled highway safety equipment which has been poorly maintained could lead to fatal accidents. In any circumstance, the key to determining the cause of the accident is using the proper methods of investigation and evidence preservation. Bear in mind, if the accident occurred because of issues with the road, then the state government, city, or county may be liable.

In Texas, the number of car accidents occurring every day has been labeled a crisis. In fact, Texas has not had a day without a traffic accident since November 7, 2000. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the state saw 3,896 people die as a result of fatal accidents in 2020. With the increase in automotive crashes and fatalities, it’s important that victims of these crashes know that they can take action.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a type of tort or wrong that deals with professional negligence. Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other health care professional neglects to provide appropriate treatment, makes a critical omission, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. In this type of case, a physician or medical care provider will, during treatment, deviate from accepted norms of practice in the medical community, causing injury to the patient.

Medical malpractice law makes it possible for patients to recover compensation from any harm that is the result of substandard care. According to a study conducted by John Hopkins University School of Medicine, deaths due to medical error rose to 250,000 in 2013. Even with all those deaths accounted for, many medical mistakes go unreported.

Like other forms of personal injury torts, whether a medical professional can be held liable for a patient’s injuries depends on the facts of the specific case and the statutory requirements enacted into state law. In Texas, for example, there is a limit on noneconomic damages that can be recovered from a medical malpractice case. Noneconomic damages include damages for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses, which the state of Texas caps at $250,000.

Accidents at Work

There are many causes of workplace deaths, including machinery accidents, electrocutions, falls from heights, and even car accidents where employees are required to drive vehicles for work. Regarding work accidents, the context of the injury is important. A skilled attorney will go on-site the scene of the accident and search for any unjustifiable risks or hazards to the employees who work there.

In Texas, many of the largest employers do not provide workers’ compensation. If your loved one’s employer did not carry workers’ compensation coverage, the employer can be sued for their negligence in causing the injury or death. If the employer did have workers’ compensation coverage, they are protected from wrongful deaths that occur because of simple negligence. Notably, Texas Statute 71.001 provides an exception that allows for surviving family members to pursue compensation when gross negligence resulted in a fatality.

Gross negligence occurs when the employer shows a willful disregard for employees’ safety or deliberately fails to provide an ordinary level of care to protect its employees. This is all-around a different standard than negligence, but it is one that an accidental death attorney at Zinda Law Firm is familiar with. If your loved one died in an accident at work, an experienced Corpus Christi injury lawyer can help your family recover their lost wages.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim

All states permit wrongful death claims, but Texas has specific requirements as to who can bring the wrongful death claim and how much compensation they can receive. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 71.001, family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim if they lose a family member due to someone’s negligence or deliberate act.

However, not all family members are granted the same rights. Below is a list of family members who do have the right to file a wrongful death suit:

Surviving Spouse

The surviving spouse may be entitled to damages for the loss of companionship and mental distress caused by the death. Additionally, the surviving spouse can recover financial contribution and the value of intangible services that were being provided by the decedent.

Surviving Children

The children of the deceased may be entitled to damages due to mental anguish and loss of inheritance. They may also be entitled to the reasonable sum the decedent would have provided for the maintenance of the child, and the value of any training and education that would have been provided by the decedent.

Surviving Parents

The parents of the decedent may file a lawsuit, regardless of whether they are the biological or adoptive parent of the deceased. In the case of adoptive parents, only those who have completed the adoption process may file suit. If their child was an adult, the surviving parents can typically recover the value of any financial contributions that would have continued if the child still lived.

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death lawsuit?

Several situations may lead to the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, a claim for wrongful death may arise out of an intentional killing, medical malpractice, automobile accident, or on-the-job injury. These are situations where a victim dies as a result of the wrongful actions of another, the defendant.

Wrongful actions include illegal conduct, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, and default; these are separate standards that indicate the culpability of the defendant. Typically, a person engaging in illegal conduct resulting in a wrongful death will be subject to criminal prosecution. However, the families of the victim may also bring forth civil claims for wrongful death against the defendant.

How Does a Wrongful Death Case Differ from a Criminal Homicide Prosecution?

The main difference between a wrongful death case and a homicide prosecution is that wrongful death action is a civil action brought by the family of the decedent in civil court, whereas a homicide prosecution is a criminal action brought by the state in criminal court. In other words, in the case of wrongful death, the lawsuit is instituted by individual citizens, while a homicide prosecution is an action instituted by the government. Moreover, civil cases and criminal cases have a vastly different burden of proof, and their respective punishments are significantly different.

How long do I have to file a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

In Texas, wrongful death suits must be initiated no later than two years after the injury resulting in death occurs. If the suit is filed beyond the two-year period, the Texas statute of limitations prevents the claim from ever reaching the courtroom. Moving forward with this type of claim is understandably difficult, but if you want to recover compensation for the loss of your loved one, the claim must be filed within two years of their fatal injury to be valid.

Indeed, it is difficult to file a wrongful death claim, and insurance companies use this to their advantage. Additionally, you may want to forgive the negligent party, to move on in the grieving process. But you must keep in mind that your claim is subject to the statute of limitations, and if your wrongful death claim is filed too late, the court is likely to refuse your case.

Contact Corpus Christi Wrongful Death Lawyers in Texas Today

Amid your grief, you might be thinking to yourself, “How do I find an injury lawyer near me?” Look no further: Zinda Law Group Corpus Christi has experienced attorneys who focus on protecting your rights and preparing your case after a wrongful death accident. Our team of lawyers can help you and your family pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and much more.

Wrongfully losing a family member is a life-changing event. Zinda Law Group lawyers can work to seek awards for your family’s losses and hold negligent parties accountable. We offer 100% free consultation, and you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your wrongful death case. That is our No Win No Fee Guarantee.

A lawyer from our firm would be honored to serve you during this challenging time. If your family member died in an accident recently, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with a Corpus Christi today.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.