Wrongful Death. When someone dies as a result of another person’s illegal conduct or negligence.
It can be a result of an auto or trucking accident, homicide, defective products, negligence (such as careless driving), on-the-job accidents, gas or refinery explosions, and assault. In such cases, surviving family members may be eligible for compensation under Texas law. If you have lost a family member as the result of someone else’s willful or negligent behavior, contact a Dallas wrongful death attorney at the Jay Murray Law Group today.
Jay J. Murray is located in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Murray will advise you whether a case can be brought on behalf of you and your family to seek monetary damages for your loss. Wrongful death lawsuits protect the rights of children who have wrongfully lost a parent, wives who have wrongfully lost a husband, and parents who have wrongfully lost a child. Damages can be recovered for funeral expenses, loss of companionship and love and/or for loss of financial support. If you have experienced loss of this kind due to the wrongful death of a loved one and are in need of an attorney, we offer you a free consultation. The Jay Murray Law Group serves grieving families across the entire state of Texas and beyond. As an experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer, we can help your family uncover the facts about how and why your loved one died. Knowing the truth can be of comfort to a family and is an important step in evaluating a wrongful death case.
The term “wrongful death” means that a person’s death was due to another party’s negligence.
Wrongful death claims can be filed against another individual, group, or company. Wrongful death claims are commonly filed as a result of an accident, but may also include criminal acts, work-related negligence, and professional negligence.
If you believe a loved one was the victim of a wrongful death and you intend to file suit, arming yourself with information on wrongful death claims is imperative. Wrongful death claims arise when the death of an individual is believed to be caused by the conduct of another.
Wrongful Death FAQ’s
Texas law dictates that if the surviving spouse, child/children, or parent/guardian does not file a wrongful death suit within three months after the decedent’s death, his executor or administrator may file suit – with the exception that the estate was forbidden by the surviving spouse, child/children, or parent/guardian to do so.
In the state of Texas, there is a legal distinction between persons who can file a wrongful death suit and persons who are beneficiaries. Those who can file a wrongful death claim are strictly limited to the decedent’s: • Surviving spouse • Child or multiple children • Parent or legal guardian
Seeking wrongful death damages cannot remove the pain of losing a loved one; however, any compensation that you are awarded can help alleviate the undue financial burdens that often result. What types of wrongful death damages can one claim? Some losses are measurable, while others are more general. Both can result in potential recovery. If you intend to file a wrongful death suit, a working knowledge of damages can help you formulate your case against the defendant. These damages include: Direct Expenses: Medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses directly related to the death. Loss of Benefits: Amount of pension/retirement benefits the decedent would have incurred. Loss of Future Earnings: Salary earnings the decedent would have incurred. Loss of Companionship: Connected to mental pain and suffering on the part of the decedent’s family. Punitive Damages: Money awarded against the defendant’s punishment for the action leading to the victim’s death.
Some states place a cap on wrongful death damage recovery; fortunately, Texas law allows plaintiffs to recover damages to the extent a jury finds it fair and just in relation to the injury that resulted from the decedent’s death. However, calculating damages is a complex process that involves a variety of factors. Some of the most notable factors in calculating wrongful death damages include the:
- Amount of dependency between plaintiff and decedent
- Nature of the plaintiff’s relationship with the decedent
- Anticipated lifespan of the decedent
- Anticipated future earnings and other benefits of the decedent.
For this reason, cooperation with your legal representative is imperative even during the difficult, emotional period following your loved one’s death. As the plaintiff, you will need to answer questions, provide documentation, and maintain correspondence often, and in a timely manner. In all matters involving wrongful death it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. Contact our Texas law firm for a free legal consultation on wrongful death claims.
Death in the Workplace
A loved one dying at work is no doubt a painful reality for anyone to accept; and typically, it’s understandable why one would elect to litigate. However, it’s important to know the parameters of your rights. Whether or not you can file suit against your loved one’s workplace largely depends on the circumstances under which the death occurred – which makes immediately consulting with experienced legal counsel all the more pressing. For quick facts regarding injury and death in the workplace, some brief information follows:
Under the Texas Workmen’s Compensation Act, injuries incurred by an employee who elects to take workmen’s compensation are not subject to litigation. A worker may, however, sue for damages under common law. For reference, see Texas Worker’s Compensation Commission v. Garcia, 893 S.W.2d 504 (1994). If the employee was left incapacitated, comatose, or with another condition that could reasonably become fatal, his/her dependents should contact an attorney to determine whether these conditions constitute “injury.”
Death in the workplace is an entirely different matter. If an employee’s death is proven to be caused by third party negligence (for example, negligence of the employer), Texas workmen’s compensation statute allows the employee’s dependents to pursue a wrongful death suit against the third party – regardless of whether the decedent elected for workmen’s compensation through his employer. Texas Lab. Code § 417.001.
If you are reading this section and have experienced a death in your family, our thoughts and prayers are with you. The death of a family member is a very difficult event, and we will do all we can to help take care of the necessary legal actions that will occur. If your family member’s death was caused by a wrongful act of someone or some company, the law states that compensation should be paid to help lessen the burden of the effects of the death. Listed below are the types of compensation that can be recovered by the estate of the deceased or by the particular family member.
The estate of the deceased can recover what is known as survival damages as follows, which will be passed on to the heirs of the estate:
- Conscious physical pain, suffering, and mental anguish endured by the deceased prior to his/her death
- Medical, funeral, and burial expenses
- Exemplary damages if there was grossly negligent or willful conduct