When any family member dies unexpectedly in an accident, the trauma associated with the incident is always intense. Of course, you will miss your loved one’s presence and companionship, regardless of what happened. However, if the loss was caused by someone else’s careless or reckless conduct, you will also likely feel angry.
Thankfully, seeking justice with the assistance of a personal injury attorney from Kirk Law Firm, PLLC, could help you come to terms with the tragedy and acquire the finances you need to get your family life back on track. If you want to get started, one of our Houston wrongful death lawyers could assess your situation, explain the best next steps, and negotiate with the defendant’s team of representatives.
Typical Causes of Wrongful Deaths
Generally speaking, accidental deaths are usually caused by another party’s negligence, like when they fail to use reasonable care to prevent or avoid a harmful situation.
For instance, any family who has lost a loved one due to a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver could likely seek monetary damages. Other circumstances that could support an accidental death action include drownings, fires, workplace accidents, injuries from defective products or medications, and medical malpractice.
If a family is unsure about exactly what caused the wrongful death, they could work with one of our skilled attorneys in Houston to analyze available evidence and pinpoint all the potential sources of negligence.
Do Wrongful Death Claims Also Carry Criminal Charges?
Families also should recognize that, depending on the circumstances of their case, the defendant might also face criminal charges for the accident. For example, if a drunk driver kills another person, this negligent individual might have to grapple with both civil claims for monetary damages and criminal charges for vehicular homicide.
Whatever the circumstances, a criminal case and a civil lawsuit alleging wrongful death are two separate parallel proceedings. If the wrongdoer is convicted of a crime and a civil offense, they might simultaneously face fines, jail time, and be forced to pay financial compensation. However, the civil court system cannot impose punishments besides ones with financial value.
If a Houston family needs help distinguishing between criminal and civil processes after a wrongful death, one of our knowledgeable lawyers could explain the nuances of these two frameworks and help make sure the resulting civil claim does not overlap with a criminal one.
Monetary Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Damages is the legal term for sums of money that a wrongdoer pays to compensate for the harm they caused. In a wrongful death action, it is impossible to replace the life of a loved one, but monetary damages are the only option the civil system offers as reimbursement for the expenses the family incurred, and void left after an accident.
To be more specific, financial compensation might include reimbursement for burial expenses, medical costs if the deceased person received treatment before they passed away, loss of consortium, and a sum representing the income the individual might have earned if they had proceeded to live.
Family members also could receive money for the loss of their loved one’s services to the household, like gardening, transporting children to and from school, or caring for elderly relatives.
Who Can Collect These Damages?
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.004, only the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person can collect the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit. If a specific family member needs help determining whether they can acquire the compensation awarded in a case, they should speak with a seasoned attorney in Houston.
Work With a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney to Learn More
In the weeks and months following an unexpected death, it is understandable that your family might not have the strength, energy, or resources to pursue justice. Therefore, seeking the help of an experienced legal professional right away could preserve your family’s rights while giving you time and space to grieve. A Houston wrongful death lawyer is on standby waiting for your call, so reach out today to get started on your case.