When you lose a loved one in an accident or other unexpected event, you are surely missing their presence in your life. No doubt, it is their company and companionship you miss the most. When they contributed services or money to your household, doing without their support might cause hardship.
When another’s negligent, reckless, or criminal act led to your loved one’s death, you could bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit can claim monetary damages for the losses your family suffered because of your loved one’s death.
Understanding how much your family might gain from a lawsuit is important, but calculating damages in Temple wrongful death cases requires specific expertise. Consult a local attorney to learn how a wrongful death claim might help your family.
Every lawsuit has a plaintiff, the person seeking compensation, and a defendant, the person allegedly responsible for the harm. State law allows a deceased person’s spouse, adult children, and parents to potentially be plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit. When more than 90 days have passed since a death, and no family member has filed a lawsuit, the estate’s personal representative could file suit on behalf of the family.
However, regardless of who the plaintiff is, the proceeds from the lawsuit should benefit all the deceased person’s close family members. For example, when a person leaves a spouse and children, the spouse might be the named plaintiff in a claim, but they bring it on behalf of all the deceased person’s surviving close family members. Alternatively, all the family members who could benefit from the wrongful death lawsuit could bring it together.
Several practical considerations could factor into the decision about who should be the named plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. An attorney in Temple could talk through the legal process and available damages of a wrongful death claim with the family and help them decide who the plaintiff should be.
Damages is the term used to describe the money a family collects from a lawsuit. Damages make up for the contributions the deceased person made to the household and provide financial compensation in acknowledgement of the survivors’ emotional suffering.
Some damages are relatively easy to calculate with the help of an economist or actuary. Family members can claim damages for:
Family members can also claim reimbursement for funeral expenses.
The emotional distress and mental anguish surviving family members feel is the biggest loss accompanying an accidental death. They are entitled to financial compensation to acknowledge their emotional pain and the loss of their family member’s services as a spouse, parent, or child. However, calculating an appropriate amount is challenging. A Temple attorney with experience handling wrongful death cases could assist a family in preparing their claim for emotional distress damages.
Only close family members–parents, children, and spouse– can receive the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit. Siblings, grandparents, a fiancé, and other close associates and family members are ineligible to receive funds from a wrongful death lawsuit.
When a case goes to trial, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.010 allows the jury to determine how to divide the damages between family members. However, most cases settle before a trial, and in that case, the family members must decide between themselves how to allocate the money. A Temple attorney can assist family members in determining a fair allocation of the damages after a wrongful death claim settlement.
When the deceased person leaves minor children, their interests should be paramount. A portion of the money might be put into trust for their education, and they could receive the money when they come of age. Sometimes a court appoints a Guardian ad Litem to protect the children’s interests when the family members divide the damages from a wrongful death lawsuit in Temple.
When you lose a family member due to another party’s negligent, reckless, or criminal act, you can seek financial compensation for your losses. Money is cold comfort, but making those responsible pay for their actions could provide some emotional satisfaction. The funds could ensure financial stability for your family.
Consult an attorney who represents families seeking damages in Temple wrongful death cases. They could evaluate your circumstances and help you pursue compensation in the courts.