Houston wrongful death claims help families of those who have lost their lives due to the negligence of others recover compensation. This money helps the family move forward, pay expenses that they otherwise would not have had, and receive some closure for what happened. Here, we want to briefly review the types of compensation that may be available to families and estates, as well as any caps in place on wrongful death compensation.
Caps on Economic Damages for Wrongful Death Claims
One of the most important sets of damages surrounding wrongful death claims is considered economic damages. You will sometimes see these referred to as special damages, and this revolves around the types of losses that are relatively calculable after a wrongful death occurs.
Economic damages can include, but are not limited to, medical bills associated with the injury that led to the death, lost earning capacity of the deceased, payment for any household services assistance, funeral and burial expenses, property damage expenses, and more.
When it comes to economic damages, there are no caps on how much compensation a person can receive if their wrongful death claim is successful in Texas.
Caps for Non-Economic Damages for Wrongful Death Claims
Non-economic damages are harder to define in a wrongful death case, but they are equally as important. These types of losses, often referred to as general damages, revolve around more immeasurable types of compensation that families and the estate may receive.
Some of the most common types of non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim include compensation for the loss of companionship, comfort, society, and love the family experiences. Additionally, mental pain and anguish experienced by surviving family members are also included in non-economic damage calculations.
Currently, the state of Texas does not place a limitation on most non-economic damages that arise out of wrongful death claims. However, there is an exception.
Exceptions for Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice wrongful death claims arise when individuals lose their lives due to the mistakes made by a medical professional. Any economic damages arising out of a Houston medical malpractice claim will not face any limitations in Texas. However, non-economic damages arising as a result of a medical malpractice claim are limited.
The non-economic damage cap for medical malpractice claims will be limited to $250,000 to $750,000, depending on who the defendant is. Namely, it will be important to examine whether or not the lawsuit is against a physician or independent healthcare provider or a hospital or healthcare facility.
Punitive Damage Caps
Punitive damages are rather rare and not awarded in every type of wrongful death claim. These types of damages are meant to be awarded only if the actions of the defendant were found to be grossly negligent or involved fraud or malice. Punitive damage caps are set at the greater of either $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages added to the non-economic damages (up to $750,000 in non-economic damages).
We encourage any person who has questions about the types of damages they will receive for a wrongful death claim to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible.