Damages in Austin Wrongful Death Cases

The immediate aftermath of the death of a loved one is filled with shock, despair, anger, and confusion. At every turn, there is something else to take care of and handle. The furthest thing from your mind is filing a lawsuit. As you work through your grief and move forward, it can be helpful to consult with an attorney who handles wrongful death cases for families in situations like yours.

A wrongful death lawsuit can hold the responsible party accountable in a court of law or through a settlement. This can help alleviate immediate and future financial concerns you may have as a result of the loss and reduce the chance this kind of tragedy happens to anyone else. There are deadlines for filing cases that can lead to damages in Austin wrongful death cases. Talking with an attorney sooner rather than later can make all the difference.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case

When someone dies because of the wrongful or negligent conduct of another, the decedent’s child, parent, or spouse can file a lawsuit for damages. Monetary damages can never replace the value of the person who has died, but the damages try to compensate for the loss as much as possible. The kinds of damages a person can recover in an Austin wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Lost love and companionship
  • Lost guidance and counsel
  • Lost consortium
  • Lost income and inheritance
  • Lost household services
  • Mental anguish
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Exemplary or punitive damages

Quantifiable damages, like medical expenses and lost income, are economic damages. Damages not easily quantifiable, like lost companionship and mental suffering, are noneconomic damages. Classifying damages can be especially relevant in medical malpractice cases. When there are multiple plaintiffs, the jury will apportion damages according to the value of the loss for each plaintiff.

Proportionate Responsibility and Wrongful Death Cases

Many wrongful death lawsuits involve innocent victims whose conduct played no part in causing the situation that led to their demise. State law could eliminate or reduce a damage award in a case where the decedent is ultimately found partially responsible.

Under the law of proportionate responsibility, the court will bar recovery when the decedent is more than 50 percent at fault for the incident that caused their death. When the decedent is partially but not mostly to blame in an Austin wrongful death case, the court will reduce damages based on any amount the jury finds the decedent responsible. An experienced attorney can evaluate a given case to see if it might involve significant comparative fault considerations and provide guidance about possible ways to avoid or mitigate blame-shifting by the defendant.

Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice and Government Cases

There is generally no limit on the amount of economic or noneconomic damages a family can receive in an Austin wrongful death lawsuit, although some exceptions apply.

One big exception is in medical malpractice cases. In wrongful death cases that result from medical malpractice, noneconomic damages are capped according to certain factors. Economic damages are not capped in medical malpractice cases.

Another exception involves lawsuits against governmental entities, which trigger damage caps set out in the Texas Torts Claims Act.

Get Information About Damages in Austin Wrongful Death Claims

When your loved one dies as a result of someone else’s wrongful conduct, you might be able to bring a suit. Whether the death happened at your loved one’s place of work, from an accident on the highway, or because of doctor or hospital negligence, a lawyer experienced in securing damages in Austin wrongful death cases can provide you with critical information.

A meeting with a compassionate and experienced attorney might be the right next step as you move forward. Call today to arrange one.

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