Every death is a tragedy, especially one caused by an accident that could have been avoided had the defendant acted reasonably. If you recently lost a family member under similar circumstances, the idea of filing a civil lawsuit while still struggling with immense grief and stress can, understandably, feel like an overwhelming endeavor.
Fortunately, a Baytown wrongful death lawyer has the expertise necessary to effectively protect your rights and interests. While you focus on caring for your family’s needs, your compassionate personal injury attorney could determine who caused your loved one’s accident, evaluate how much compensation you deserve, and demand restitution through a comprehensive lawsuit.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death cases are considered a type of personal injury claim, so most of these lawsuits revolve around establishing negligence. This refers to the idea that a person who causes a harmful accident through careless behavior might need to assume financial responsibility for the resulting injuries, even when an accident is fatal.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.004 establishes that, in most cases, only the decedent’s surviving spouse, parents, or children can file a wrongful death action. However, if none of those individuals start pursuing litigation within three months of their family member’s death, the decedent’s estate representative can usually take over the claim.
It is also worth noting that civil proceedings related to an unexpected death can happen before, during, or after the relevant criminal trials. Additionally, an acquittal in criminal court does not automatically absolve someone of civil liability.
A skilled attorney in Baytown could offer further clarification about the relationship between criminal and civil wrongful death proceedings, to help a plaintiff better understand their legal options.
Available Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death claims usually demand restitution for losses sustained by the decedent prior to passing away and for expenses accumulated by surviving beneficiaries as a direct consequence of their loved one’s death. In the former category, typical examples of monetary damages include repayment for a decedent’s medical expenses, lost wages, funeral and burial costs, and physical suffering.
Meanwhile, compensation for surviving family members may include reimbursement for lost companionship, household support, consortium, future financial income and various forms of emotional and psychological trauma.
Regardless of the specific losses caused by an unfair death, a claimant generally has no more than two years from when the decedent passed away to start pursuing financial recovery.
A proactive lawyer in Baytown could help a family determine the scope of compensation they deserve and file their wrongful death claim on time.
Speak with a Baytown Wrongful Death Attorney About Legal Options
There is no worse outcome in an accident than losing a family member, and unfortunately, there are few types of civil litigation more procedurally and emotionally challenging than wrongful death actions. When pursuing these solutions, having support from a dependable legal professional can make a huge difference when it comes to effectively preserving your family’s rights.
A seasoned Baytown wrongful death lawyer could review your case and explain the best course of action. Reach out to our firm today to get started.