Amarillo Wrongful Death Lawyer
112 SW 8th Avenue, Suite 301
Amarillo, Texas 75219
All of us aspire to a long and healthy life spent with our loved ones. But unfortunately, as the world’s great religions teach us, death will eventually come to each of us. When death comes early, and at the hand of another, our sadness at our loss is made much worse if a death could have been prevented except for the deliberate actions or carelessness of another. In such cases, the deceased’s survivors may wish to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The State of Texas considers any death that is caused by the "… wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default …" of another person or persons to have been a wrongful death and thus may be used as the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against those alleged to be responsible.
Who has legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
The Texas laws that govern wrongful death lawsuits specify who may file such suits and the time limits under which these lawsuits must be filed. These laws can be confusing and are best explained by an attorney with experience in wrongful death lawsuits.
Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by:
- The surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased as individuals or as a group. If any of these, as individuals or as a group, do not file a lawsuit within three months of the date of death, the executor of the deceased’s estate or a personal representative of the estate may file a lawsuit unless asked not to do so by the surviving family.
- The adult children of a deceased parent.
- An adopted child may file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of an adoptive parent if the child had been fully and legally adopted before the date of the parent’s death.
- An adoptive parent may file for the death of an adopted child.
Damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit
In wrongful death lawsuits, damages is the term used to identify some loss that would not have occurred had the deceased not died prematurely.
Damages that are usually sought in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- All expenses related to the deceased’s medical care that were incurred prior to death as a result of the fatal injury.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Any wages or other income the deceased would have been expected to earn over the course of a normal lifespan
- Loss of the deceased’s advice, emotional support, counsel or other care.
- Compensation for the survivors’ emotional trauma and anguish over the deceased’s death.
If the deceased’s death was caused by a deliberate act, a deliberate failure to perform an act that could have prevented the death, or by gross negligence, “exemplary” or “punitive” damages may be sought and awarded. Such damages are not determined in terms of a loss experienced by the survivors but are awarded to punish those responsible for the death and to discourage others from committing the actions that resulted in the deceased’s death.
In cases where there are multiple surviving family members who are eligible to be parties to a wrongful death lawsuit, the court hearing the lawsuit will divide any damages awarded among those surviving family members eligible to have filed the lawsuit, and in proportion to the damages the court feels that each family member suffered, even if they were not plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was filed.
Time limits for filing a wrongful death lawsuit
Texas law states that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased’s death except in certain narrowly-defined circumstances. These exceptions are so unusual that they are best discussed with a wrongful death lawyer.
How an Amarillo wrongful death lawyer can assist the survivors of a wrongful death
The unexpected death of a family member is always a devastating event. At the Doan Law Firm, our Amarillo wrongful death lawyer understands you grief and will work with you to bring those responsible for your loss to justice in a court of law.
When you contact the Amarillo wrongful death lawyer at the Doan Law Firm – Amarillo, your first consultation is always free of any charge and does not commit you to hiring our firm. Should you decide to have our firm manage your wrongful death lawsuit we are willing to handle all the necessary financial aspects of your lawsuit, such as interviewing witnesses and arranging for expert testimony, in exchange for a previously agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.
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