Losing a loved one is devastating under any circumstances, but when your loss is due to another’s negligence, the situation can become as complicated and overwhelming as it is emotional. If recklessness or negligence was a factor in your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to compensation. But in the aftermath of such a traumatic experience, even minor tasks can be challenging, let alone the thought of dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit. That is where having the right attorney can make all the difference in the world.
At DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC, our compassionate and highly knowledgeable legal team understands the emotional complexities of wrongful death lawsuits.
In the weeks and months following the loss of a loved one, the only thing you should be concerned about is your own healing and mental well-being. Although compensation can never replace a loved one, it can provide the time and space to heal. Let us shoulder this substantial burden for you and help you obtain the compensation you need to move forward with as much normalcy as possible.
To bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party, you must be able to show that the defendant had a duty of care to the victim, that this duty was breached, and that the breach directly caused the victim’s death.
Proving all of these things requires a thorough investigation and the gathering of evidence to substantiate your claim. Working with an experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer can help to ensure a favorable outcome.
How a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
Wrongful death is a particularly complex area of the law. An attorney who specializes in wrongful death will have a detailed understanding of the legal process, including what is needed to build a strong case against the at-fault party. A Houston wrongful death lawyer will:
- Assess the value of your claim
- Ensure that documents are filled out properly and filed on time
- Gather any necessary evidence
- Contact witnesses
- Provide emotional support
- Ensure that all deadlines are met
- Take your case to trial, if necessary
When a loved one who would have otherwise had a successful personal injury claim dies as a result of his/her injuries, a wrongful death lawsuit may provide certain individuals with compensation. The most common types of accidents involving wrongful death claims include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Large truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Defective or faulty products
- Workplace accidents
Do not go through this highly-emotional and complicated process alone. We can help. Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC today at (832) 745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
The Process for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Houston
Surviving family members may choose to file a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies due to the negligent or reckless actions of another. Although certain wrongful death claims do not require court intervention, this is generally the exception. Most will require the filing of a lawsuit, a thorough investigation, and expert testimony.
It is not uncommon for multiple parties to be named in a wrongful death lawsuit, such as an auto parts manufacturer that made a faulty airbag, or a municipality that neglected roadway maintenance. A Houston wrongful death lawyer can help you through all aspects of the claims process, from investigation and pre-litigation to the litigation phase, which begins after the defendant is served the Complaint and Summons and has answered all questions within.
In many cases, both parties will choose to settle out of court through arbitration or informal negotiation. If, however, a settlement cannot be reached, the legal team at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC is prepared to take your case to trial.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas, only certain members of the deceased’s family may file a wrongful death claim. These include the decedent’s spouse, children, and parents. Adopted children are also eligible, assuming the adoption was legal. Siblings, however, are excluded from filing a wrongful death claim. A group of eligible family members may also file a claim together. In most cases, a representative of the deceased’s estate files on behalf of the survivor(s).
Types of Damages You Can Receive in a Houston Wrongful Death Case
The types of damages you may be eligible to receive if you have lost a loved one to another’s negligence include:
- The pre-death pain and suffering of the deceased person
- The decedent’s pre-death medical costs
- Mental anguish—the emotional pain and suffering that you experience due to the death of your loved on
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Loss of the deceased’s income, current and projected future income
- Loss of inheritance—what your loved one would have accumulated and passed to you if he/she had lived to normal life expectancy
- Loss of services the deceased would have been able to provide
- Loss of companionship, love, comfort, and support
- Loss of consortium
A Houston wrongful death lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC today at (832) 745-4878 for more information.
Texas Wrongful Death Laws
Under Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death is defined as any death “caused by the wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, neglect, or default of another person or corporation.” As such, if you have lost a spouse, parent, or child to the negligence of another—whether because of a drunk or distracted driving accident, a hospital error, or a defective product—you likely have a valid wrongful death claim.
Chapter 71 also allows for the recovery of damages that would have likely been recovered by the decedent if still alive. This often involves compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering. For example, if your husband suffered a slow and painful death following a car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering he experienced prior to his death. You may also be able to recover the medical costs involved in trying to save your loved one’s life.
Texas Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
In Texas, you have two years after a person’s death to file a wrongful death claim. This time period is known as the statute of limitations, and failing to bring a claim within that period will likely result in outright dismissal. There are some exceptions, however, but they only apply under very limited circumstances.
It is extremely important to consult with a Houston wrongful death attorney as soon as possible following the death of a loved one. Waiting until near the end of the statute of limitations is disadvantageous for myriad reasons. For starters, wrongful death claims can be exceedingly complex and are often contested. As such, you want to give your lawyer ample time to prepare your case and perform a thorough investigation.
Furthermore, waiting until the last minute may undermine the severity of your claim in the eyes of the court. We understand that the sudden death of a family member is generally followed by an intense grieving period. The compassionate legal team at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC will be by your side throughout the entire process, and we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, the skilled legal team at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC can help. Our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys have extensive experience with wrongful death lawsuits, and we understand the emotional complexities and unique challenges inherent to these claims. You have been through enough, let us handle the rest. Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC today at (832) 745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.