Any unexpected death is a shock to the family and friends of the one whose life has been cut short. If that death was due to “natural” causes such as a heart attack or a stroke, those who are left behind will mourn their loss while their lives slowly return to normal. If their loved one died in an accident or as the result of some act of violence, one question will always arise: “Could this death have been prevented?”
If the answer to this question is “yes,” and those that appear to have been responsible for the death can be identified, a Dallas wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in order to force those responsible to pay damages to you, the victim’s next of kin.
Texas Law and Wrongful Death
The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines a wrongful death as any death that is caused by “… wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person, business, or organization whose actions (or inaction) caused the death of another human being. Texas law regarding who may file a lawsuit alleging wrongful death is a mixture of the common (“traditional” or “unwritten”) law and the written, “statutory” laws of the state.
The right to sue for wrongful death is reserved to the spouse, children, and the parents of the victim but there are restrictions placed on even these individuals:
the spouse, children, and parents can sue individually or as a group
if the above survivors do not file within three months of the date of death, the executor of the victim’s estate can sue on behalf of the estate unless instructed not to do so by the survivors
adult children can only file on the death of a parent
a legally adopted child can file on the death of an adoptive parent but not on the child’s biological parents
adoptive parents can sue over the death of adopted children
siblings cannot sue over the death of a sibling, whether natural or adopted
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the compensation sought can include:
medical expenses incurred prior to the victim’s that are directly related to the victim’s injury
funeral and burial expenses
lost income that the victim would have earned or could have been reasonably expected to earn in the future
loss of the victim’s companionship, advice, and guidance to the family emotional distress and psychological trauma suffered by the victim’s survivors
The law also allows the survivors to seek “exemplary” or “punitive” damages. These damages are not related to anything that the victim would have done, earned, or provided but are a means to punish those responsible for their actions that lead to the victim’s death.
Time Limits on Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas
The Texas Code provides that a wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s death. A lawsuit filed after that time limit has “run” will be dismissed. There are some exception to this two-year rule, but these exceptions can be complex should be discussed with a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Dallas, Texas
If you live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, your first move should be to contact a Dallas wrongful death lawyer. In the DFW area, the Doan Law Firm has years of experience in successfully pursuing wrongful death lawsuits and bringing justice to the families of the victims of wrongful deaths.
We know that the weeks and months after the sudden death of a loved one are among the most stressful, both emotionally and financially, that anyone should be forced to deal with. That is why, when you call the Doan Law Firm at (214) 307-0000, your first consultation with our Dallas personal injury attorney is always free and doesn’t obligate you in any way to retain our firm.
Should you decide for us to handle your wrongful death lawsuit, we will never ask you for an advance or a fee of any type because will assume responsibility for any costs that are necessary for us to win your wrongful death lawsuit in exchange for an agreed-to percentage of your final settlement.
Let the Doan Law Firm Dallas bring those responsible for your loss to a court of law and bring justice to you and any others that were left behind by an unnecessary death.