Car crashes result in fatalities all too often. Perhaps you have lost someone you love in a fatal car accident. If that is the case, you may have piles of bills or may be wondering how to support your family and how to deal with your loss.
Our wrongful death attorneys want to ease your burden by helping you seek ways to relieve some of the financial pressure that may weigh you down following your loved one’s death.
What matters to you matters to us. Your well-being is our priority. We are not just a law firm and you are not just a claim file. We see the person behind the injury.
How the Sloan Firm Can Help You in Your Time of Need
The attorneys at the Sloan Firm have seen it all and we fight for our clients rights and best interests.
We are ready listen to you describe your situation in detail. We can gather facts about what happened and then plan a customized strategy for your claim, based on what is most important to you.
Seeking Justice for Your Lost Loved One
There are two potential pathways available to pursue compensation for your loss. The first is a wrongful death claim under the Texas Wrongful Death Act. This law provides the right for certain family members to sue when their relative is wrongfully killed because of the negligence or deliberate action of another.
In order to pursue a wrongful death claim, the accident must have been caused by someone other than your relative. This could be another driver, an auto manufacturer or someone else who caused your loved one’s death.
Under the Wrongful Death Act, parents, children or the surviving spouse are able to pursue compensation for the damages they experience due to the loss of their loved one, not for the actual injuries of the deceased.
The other pathway is called a survival claim, provided for under the Texas Survival Statute. This law allows the estate of someone who was wrongfully killed to file a personal injury claim on behalf of the person who died for the pain and suffering they experienced prior to passing away.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death or Survival Claim in Houston, Texas
In Houston, Texas, a wrongful death claim is available for the benefit of the surviving spouse, child, and/or parents of the person who died. The claim may be filed for an individual or together as a group. In the state of Texas, adult children may also file wrongful death claims over the death of a parent.
If the surviving spouse, child or parents do not file a claim in the first three months after the death of their loved one, a personal representative of the estate – either named in the will or appointed by a judge – may file the claim on their behalf.
Separately, under the Texas Survival Statute, the estate, heirs or legal representative may bring a claim.
Types of Damages Available from a Houston Wrongful Death Claim
In a wrongful death claim, both compensatory damages and punitive damages may be available in certain situations. Compensatory damages are intended as compensation for your loss, and include financial damages such as loss of income, and other non-pecuniary damages such as loss of advice and counsel.
Some of the compensatory damages available include:
- Loss of decedent’s earning capacity
- Loss of parental services, child services or spousal services
- Loss of advice and counsel
- Loss of companionship and society
- Loss of inheritance
- Mental anguish
- Expenses associated with therapy
Punitive damages, called exemplary damages, are available in certain cases, such as when the death is caused by a willful or intentional act or omission, or by gross negligence. The purpose of these punitive damages is not to recover compensation for a loss, but to punish a wrongdoer and send a message about the behavior that lead to the wrongful death.
Under the Survival Statute, the estate or person filing the claim is essentially suing on behalf of the person who died. The case is pursued in the same way as a normal personal injury lawsuit, as if the person had lived. The damages available can include medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages, property damage, etc. The recovery goes to the estate of the deceased.
Time Limits on Houston, TX Wrongful Death Claims in Texas
In Texas, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. The statute of limitations for any claim refers to the time limit for filing claims based on state statute. So in Texas, you have two years from the death of your loved one to file a wrongful death or survival claim. Though the “clock” may be paused for certain reasons, it is best to get started on a claim as soon as possible.
Comparative Fault in Houston
Just as in other personal injury cases in Texas, a wrongful death claim is limited by comparative fault. If the decedent’s actions contributed to the accident, the amount recovered may be reduced by the percentage at which they are determined by a judge or a jury to be at fault. The deceased must be found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident in order to recover at all.
Get Help from a Houston Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, don’t wait to contact us. Our Houston wrongful death lawyers can help you navigate the maze of a wrongful death claim, and fight for the rights and interests of you and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.