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Houston Wrongful Death Attorney

Obtain Justice for the Losses Due to the Wrongful Death of Your Loved Ones in Texas

Choosing the right Houston wrongful death attorney is a significant and personal decision for you and your loved ones. At Wadler Law, we understand the challenges you are facing, and we are committed to providing you with unwavering support during this difficult time. 

Our legal team is dedicated to offering guidance and assistance at every stage of the process. We will manage the insurance companies on your behalf, allowing you to focus on navigating this trying period with your family. Our wrongful death attorney in Houston, TX will guide you through the legal proceedings, giving you peace of mind.

We will handle the insurance companies and ensure that you and your family receive the necessary resources to move forward after such a tragic loss. Regardless of your location in Texas, our primary goal is to guarantee that you receive the best possible representation for your case.

Why Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney in Texas?

Our wrongful death attorney Houston TX is skilled at securing victories in wrongful death cases, and we are adept at holding negligent drivers, companies, and manufacturers responsible for their actions. In Texas, in-depth knowledge is vital when it comes to negotiating and litigating wrongful death cases. 

Our legal team has extensive experience advocating for bereaved families in Texas. Right from the outset, our Houston wrongful death attorney will:

  • Identify all potential defendants
  • Carefully investigate the accident
  • Collect evidence
  • Employ professionals for testimony
  • Document financial and economic losses, as well as non-economic losses
  • Negotiating with insurance firms
  • Attempt legal action if necessary

Contact Wadler Law immediately to find out how we can assist you.

What is a Wrongful Death?

According to Texas’ wrongful death law, legal action can be pursued for wrongful death if an individual’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” results in the death of another person. The lawsuit can be filed against an individual, a group of individuals, a corporation, a business, a business owner, and any other entities specifically outlined in the statute.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Texas?

Various accidents may require distinct approaches to prove negligence or wrongful conduct. Below are some of the primary causes of fatal accidents in Texas.

Hazardous Products

To illustrate, a case involving a hazardous product may be based on a defect in either design or manufacturing. A design defect refers to a flaw that renders the product unreasonably dangerous when taking into account its intended use and potential hazards. 

To succeed in a design defect claim, the plaintiffs must provide evidence of an alternative, safer design.

Car Collisions

Car collisions are the primary reason for fatal accidents. When pursuing a lawsuit related to a fatality in a car accident, the other driver’s negligence serves as the foundation of the case. 

Negligence in the context of a car accident may include actions such as running a red light, driving too closely, causing a rear-end collision resulting in the death of the victim, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing the accident.

18-Wheeler Crashes

Collisions involving large trucks are frequently fatal accidents. Such claims generally involve the truck driver’s negligence for violating traffic rules or regulations that apply to commercial drivers. Moreover, the trucking company may have neglected to train the driver or enforce safety protocols. 

In addition to pursuing lawsuits against the negligent driver and company, we have taken legal action against manufacturers of large vehicles, businesses that improperly loaded the cargo, maintenance companies, and other responsible parties.

Construction Accidents

The rapid expansion of Texas has increased fatal accidents occurring at construction sites. Many of these incidents could have been prevented had the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules been adhered to. 

It is recommended that you consult with our competent Houston wrongful death attorney who has a proven track record of winning cases involving fatal construction accidents over several years.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?

If an individual loses their life due to the careless actions of someone else, they are entitled to legal recourse and financial compensation, just like any other injury victim. However, since they are unable to defend themselves against the actions that caused their death, family members may file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. 

Such claims seek justice against those responsible for their loved one’s death due to immoral or unlawful acts. Even if the person responsible for the death is facing criminal charges for murder or manslaughter, a civil lawsuit through a wrongful death claim can still be pursued. 

In some cases, when the fatality is caused by a corporation or company, a wrongful death claim may be the only legal option. Families typically bring wrongful death claims to seek compensation for death-related expenses, such as the loss of income, medical bills, and funeral expenses. 

These claims also may seek compensation for pain and suffering, bereavement, and other related losses. In a wrongful death case, the defendant must prove that they did not cause the death, with the burden of proof being on them rather than being presumed innocent until proven guilty. The standard of proof is the preponderance of the evidence.

Who Can Be Held Legally Liable in Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

A legal action for wrongful death can be initiated against any person or organization whose careless or deliberate actions resulted in the death of your family member. Wrongful death can arise from numerous circumstances, and various entities may be deemed accountable, such as:

  • Drivers of motor vehicles who cause accidents
  • Doctors and other healthcare professionals who cause injuries to their patients
  • Nursing home administrators and employees who abuse residents
  • Manufacturers who produce substandard goods
  • Owners who allow hazardous conditions to exist 
  • Employers who disregard workplace safety 
  • Government agencies when negligence results in fatalities
  • Individuals who deliberately commit violent acts

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

In Texas, the following individuals may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim:

  • Spouse. The surviving spouse of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim.
  • Children. If the deceased had children, they might file a wrongful death claim. This includes biological children, adopted children, and adult children.
  • Parents. If the deceased did not have a spouse or children, the parents of the deceased might file a wrongful death claim.
  • Executor or Administrator. If none of the above parties file a wrongful death claim within three months of the death, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may file a claim.

It is important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas is two years from the date of death. Therefore, it is important to consult with our skilled wrongful death attorney Houston TX as soon as possible if you believe you may have a claim.

Do Parents in Texas Have Wrongful Death Claims for Unborn Children?

The wrongful death statute includes the parents of an unborn child, giving them the right to take legal action if the negligence of others results in the death or failure to be born of the fetus. 

However, the law does not permit any person to file a claim against the mother of the unborn child or a physician under the following conditions:

  • If the death is the intended result of a lawful medical procedure performed by the physician or health care provider with the required consent
  • A person who dispenses or administers a drug following the law, if the death is caused by the dispensing or administration of the drug
  • A physician or other licensed health care provider in this state if the death is directly or indirectly caused by, associated with, arising from, or relating to a lawful medical or health care practice or procedure of the physician or health care provider

The first three exclusions mentioned above are designed to preclude legal action against the mother or doctor for fetal deaths resulting from lawful abortions. In cases of truck accidents, car accidents, slip, and fall accidents, or medical malpractice that result in harm to a pregnant woman, a wrongful death claim may be filed on behalf of the unborn child. Only the mother and father of the fetus have the right to file such a claim.

How to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The criteria for demonstrating negligence are identical to those that would have been needed if the deceased individual had survived and pursued a personal injury lawsuit, even though the compensation awarded differs.

Duty

One of the key elements in proving negligence is demonstrating that the defendant had a legal obligation to take reasonable care toward the deceased individual. For instance, a motorist has a duty of care toward other drivers on the road to operate their vehicle prudently and cautiously.

Breach

The duty is breached by the defendant. Examples of how a duty may be breached include a driver veering into the oncoming lane, falling asleep, drinking alcohol, or texting while driving.

Causation

The harm was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty of care. For instance, if a pedestrian has a heart attack and dies while crossing the street, and then a negligent driver hits the pedestrian’s body lying in the crosswalk, the driver may not be held liable for the death as their negligence was not the cause of the death. 

However, if the pedestrian is crossing the street in the crosswalk, and the driver hits and kills them due to distraction or failure to yield, the driver’s negligence is the cause of the pedestrian’s death.

Damages

In personal injury cases, plaintiffs are required to establish that they have sustained damages. However, in cases of wrongful death, damages are typically assumed as the deceased person has passed away.

What Are the Types of Evidence That May Be Used in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Various types of evidence may be used in a wrongful death claim, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some examples of evidence that may be used to support a wrongful death claim include:

Eyewitness Testimony

Testimony from individuals who witnessed the accident or incident that caused the death can be powerful evidence in a wrongful death case.

Expert Testimony

Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, or economists, may be called upon to provide testimony regarding the cause of death and the damages suffered as a result.

Medical Records

Medical records may be used to establish the cause of death and to prove that the defendant’s actions caused or contributed to the death.

Police Reports

Police reports can provide important information regarding the circumstances surrounding the death, including any traffic violations, criminal charges, or other factors that may have contributed to the death.

Photos and Videos

Photos and videos of the accident scene, injuries, or other relevant evidence can be powerful evidence in a wrongful death case.

Employment Records

Employment records, such as payroll records and personnel files, may be used to establish lost wages and other economic damages suffered by the surviving family members.

Financial Records

Financial records, such as bank statements and tax returns, may be used to establish the financial losses suffered by the surviving family members.

It is important to work with our knowledgeable Houston wrongful death attorney who can help identify the types of evidence that may be relevant to your case and build a strong case on your behalf.

What Are the Damages Available for a Wrongful Death Claim?

The family of a wrongful death victim is eligible for the following damages under Texas law:

  • Payment for all medical expenses incurred by the deceased as a result of the act of negligence that caused the death
  • Loss of household services that the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of earning capacity, which includes what the deceased would have earned to support the surviving family members
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Loss of inheritance, which is what the deceased would have earned, saved, and left to their loved ones if they had lived the average life expectancy
  • The absence of care and comfort, companionship, emotional support, and counsel
  • Mental anguish, suffering, and pain
  • If the behavior of the person responsible for the death was particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded

What is Texas Modified Comparative Negligence Rule and How It Could Affect Your Wrongful Death Claim Compensation?

Texas law follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which is also referred to as “proportionate responsibility,” in wrongful death cases. According to this law, if a wrongful death case goes to trial, and it is established that the deceased family member was partly responsible for the accident that caused their death, their family’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to them. 

For example, if the deceased family member was found to be 20% at fault for the accident, and the compensation awarded is $100,000, the family would receive $80,000. However, if the deceased family member was determined to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, the family would receive no compensation. 

Even in cases where liable parties and their insurers are willing to settle claims outside of court, the fault of the deceased family member will likely be considered in the settlement amount offered. Therefore, it is crucial to work with a Houston wrongful death attorney who has a proven track record of proving fault in injury cases. 

At Wadler Law, our wrongful death attorney Houston TX is skilled in establishing liability and will work vigorously to demonstrate that the deceased family member did not share the responsibility or had minimal fault for the accident, depending on the circumstances.

Do All Wrongful Death Claims Proceed to Trial?

In Texas, a majority of wrongful death lawsuits are typically resolved through settlement before they go to trial, and in some cases, before a lawsuit is even filed. Numerous factors are taken into account by both the family and the insurance companies when considering a settlement. 

However, lawsuits are likely in cases that involve substantial insurance coverage. Despite this, many wrongful death cases are settled before a jury verdict. If you need assistance with a wrongful death claim, don’t hesitate to contact a Houston wrongful death attorney at Wadler Law.

Who Receives the Money in a Wrongful Death Claim?

When an individual passes away, their passing can impact many family members. Thus, it’s natural to question who among the family members will receive any funds recovered from a settlement or verdict in a wrongful death case. 

Several factors can impact which family members may be eligible to receive compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. The individuals who may be eligible to receive damages from a wrongful death claim in Texas are children, adopted children, spouses, and parents. 

However, siblings and other more distant relatives of the deceased person are not allowed to bring forth a wrongful death claim in Texas. In Texas, juries determine who will be entitled to receive compensation from verdicts. 

Initially, the jury will consider whether the deceased person has any children who can share the compensation. If all surviving family members are adults, then the jury will evaluate multiple factors. The following factors are considered by the jury when dividing compensation among adult family members:

  • If family members are capable of dividing compensation equitably
  • If the family cannot divide compensation amicably
  • If the family permits their attorneys to collaborate on the compensation distribution

What is a Survival Claim and How is It Different From a Wrongful Death Claim?

A survival claim is a legal action that can be brought by the estate of a deceased person for damages that the person suffered before death. In other words, a survival claim allows the estate to recover damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to recover if they had lived. 

The main difference between a survival claim and a wrongful death claim is that a survival claim focuses on damages suffered by the deceased person before death, while a wrongful death claim focuses on damages suffered by the surviving family members or estate as a result of the death. 

In some cases, both types of claims may be pursued simultaneously in a single lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What is the Survival Claim Statute of Limitations?

Generally, the time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit for a surviving family member is the same as it would be for an injured person who is alive. According to Section 16.003(a), the injured person or their representative must file the claim within two years from the date the cause of action accrues, which is usually two years from the date the person was injured. 

However, the statute of limitations can be extended or paused in certain situations. If you have concerns about the time limit, it’s important to contact our qualified personal injury attorney promptly.

What Are Survival Claim Damages?

Although both wrongful death and survival claims involve damages resulting from the death of a person, the types of damages and the parties who receive them can differ. In a survival claim, the damages are those that the deceased person suffered between the time of the accident and their death. 

Unlike wrongful death damages, which usually go directly to the surviving spouse, parents, and children, survival claim damages go to the estate of the deceased person and are then divided among their heirs. This may include siblings and other heirs, in addition to the spouse, parent, or children. 

The compensation these parties may receive typically includes most of the damages the decedent would have been entitled to if they had lived.

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Physical constraints
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical pain
  • Mental suffering

What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Texas?

In Texas, it is mandatory to file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death. However, certain exceptions to this rule may exist. For example, if the death was caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations begins to run only when the negligence leading to the death is discovered.

Moreover, children who are below 18 years of age at the time of their parent’s death are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the day they turn 18.

Allow Our Seasoned Wrongful Death Attorney in Houston to Ease Your Burdens

At Wadler Law, we understand the challenges that come with losing a loved one, and we are here to assist you in any way we can. Our team is well-versed in Texas laws and has significant experience handling cases similar to yours. With our qualified wrongful death attorney in Houston, we can help alleviate the burdens of your family’s loss by pursuing the compensation you deserve and holding the responsible party accountable.

Losing a beloved family member can be a life-changing event, affecting both the emotional and financial aspects of your life. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can help ease the stress of your economic losses. At Wadler Law, we offer a free case evaluation to determine if you may be eligible for compensation. 

Our compassionate and accomplished wrongful death attorney in Houston, TX is available to assist you throughout the legal process. We also handle cases involving vehicular accidents, construction site accidents, product liability, premises liability, worksite accidents, and dog bites. With our team on your side, you can trust that your case is in capable and caring hands. Contact us today by calling our law firm now.

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