Wrongful Death Lawyer in Houston
Losing a loved one is devastating under any circumstances but when your loss is due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, the situation can become as complicated and overwhelming as it is emotional.
In such cases, you may be entitled to compensation. However, in the aftermath of such a traumatic experience, when the only thing you should be concerned about is grieving, the thought of dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit can be too much to bear for the victim’s family.
That is where the help and support of 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.
We can shoulder the substantial burden of dealing with the insurance company and arranging fair compensation for your losses while you focus on your emotional healing and well-being.
Lawsuits can become very complex very quickly. Ryan DeHoyos has the legal experience and skills to help you and your family move on with your lives with some measure of compensation for your great loss.
Why hire a lawyer to recover damages?
Although certain wrongful death claims do not require court intervention, this is the exception to the rule. Most claims require the filing of a lawsuit, a thorough investigation, and expert testimony.
To bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party, you must be able to show the following:
- The defendant had a duty of care to the victim (for instance, on the road while driving, in a medical facility, or place of employment)
- The duty of care was breached (for instance, by disregarding traffic safety regulations or property conditions not being up to code)
- The breach directly caused the victim’s death (for example, a doctor who failed to conduct appropriate tests to diagnose a condition, resulting in the death of a patient)
Proving each of these elements requires a thorough investigation and the gathering of evidence to substantiate your claim.
Most people in Houston are not well-equipped to do this, especially after the emotional trauma of losing a loved one.
Nor are they experienced in talking to or negotiating with insurance companies, who are notoriously reluctant to pay until they are forced to. Representatives of insurance companies are trained specifically to minimize payouts.
An experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer can help to ensure a favorable outcome and recover the compensation you deserve for your emotional pain and suffering, as well as your associated financial losses. A wrongful death attorney will generally:
- Assess the value of your claim
- Ensure that all documentation is filled out properly and filed on time
- Gather any necessary evidence
- Contact the witnesses
- Provide emotional support
- Ensure that all deadlines are met
- Take your case to trial, if necessary
Never agree to the first offer from an insurance company without first speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Ideally, let a wrongful death lawyer handle all communications with the insurance company from the beginning. Call your lawyer as soon as possible after the wrongful death of a loved one.
No fee unless we win!
Our Practice Areas
Why hire Ryan DeHoyos?
The legal skills and experience of Ryan DeHoyos in wrongful death lawsuits can help relieve the stress on families at such difficult times.
Ryan and his team start by listening to the details of your case. We will inform you of your options before moving forward.
If you decide to proceed, we will investigate what happened and begin gathering evidence to substantiate your claim. Then, we will handle all communications with the insurance company.
We believe that you should not have to settle for less than you are entitled to and will push for the maximum possible settlement or take the matter to court.
Ryan DeHoyos is equally adept at trial as in negotiations outside of the courtroom if no settlement is possible. We have a strong track record of settling matters out of court but, if necessary, a jury will decide the outcome.
Recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2019, Ryan is intimately familiar with the local Houston court system as well as the procedures and laws involved in wrongful death claims.
What qualifies as wrongful death in Texas?
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.
Unlike some other types of personal injury claims, the laws allow the family of the victim to recover damages for finances and services that would have been available if the person had survived (more about the compensation you can claim below).
Common types of wrongful death cases in Houston
Who can sue for wrongful death in Texas?
In Texas, only certain members of the deceased’s family may file a wrongful death claim:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s children (including legally adopted children)
- The decedent’s parents
A group of eligible family members may file a claim together but note that siblings are excluded from filing a wrongful death claim in Texas (unlike in some other states).
In most cases, a representative (executor) of the deceased’s estate files on behalf of the survivor(s).
How much compensation can wrongful death victims claim?
If you have lost a loved one due to another individual’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to claim the following damages:
- 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 one
- 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
As you can see from the above list, the wrongful death laws in Texas allow for the recovery of “survival damages”, which would have likely been recovered by the decedent if he or she was still alive (e.g., pain and suffering prior to death).
Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC Today
Most wrongful death lawsuits are highly complex and should not be attempted without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Ryan DeHoyos and his team help the families of victims claim what they deserve.
You have been through enough, let us handle the rest. If a loved one has suffered a wrongful death in the Houston area, get the support you need from a compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
The claims process may involve investigation and pre-litigation. Then, the litigation phase begins after the defendant is served the Complaint and Citation and has answered all questions within.
DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC is prepared to go to trial on your behalf but, in our experience, most claims get settled out of court through informal negotiation.
In Texas, you have two years after a person’s death to file a wrongful death claim.
If you fail to bring the lawsuit within that timeframe, it will likely be denied unless there are exceptional circumstances.
It’s best to avoid this scenario by contacting a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible following the accidental death of a loved one. At least, discuss your legal options with a lawyer, who can guide you on the recommended next steps.
We understand that the grieving process can be a lengthy one but if you decide to proceed with a wrongful death claim, your attorney will have time to prepare a strong case if you don’t leave it until the last minute.
If someone dies in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver in Texas, a civil wrongful death claim can be brought against the driver as well as criminal charges pursued by the state.