The unexpected death of a loved one can impact a family in numerous ways, including a sudden shift in financial security.
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness, you can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit with the assistance of a dedicated personal injury attorney. It is important to note that these actions are separate from any criminal case that the government pursues.
These claims can become difficult without legal guidance, but a Waco wrongful death lawyer can outline your family’s options. Money could never replace what you lost, but it could help relieve some of the unforeseen financial burdens associated with losing your family member.
Wrongful death lawsuits are appropriate when a party’s gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional act caused someone else’s passing. Sometimes the behavior that led to the death is a crime, and a prosecutor might be pursuing charges against the wrongdoer. However, the outcome of a criminal case does not determine the success of a wrongful death action—they are separate proceedings with different procedural standards.
Many common accidents could cause the death of a loved one and entitle a family to seek monetary damages. For instance, a valid wrongful death claim could stem from a:
A seasoned attorney in Waco can analyze an accident to determine whether a wrongful death claim is appropriate for the circumstances.
A lawsuit alleging a wrongful death is, in many ways, similar to a personal injury claim, except that a family member has to begin the action on the decedent’s behalf
Only an individual’s spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Even a combination of family members could work together to submit a claim. A person is considered a surviving spouse if they were married legally or had a common-law partnership with the deceased person.
Additionally, if the none of the deceased individual’s next of kin files an unjust death claim within 90 days of the death, the estate’s executor or administrator is the only one who can submit the lawsuit. The only exception is when all of the deceased person’s next of kin agree that they do not want to take any action. Finally, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.004 states that only the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person can be the beneficiaries of a wrongful death action.
A knowledgeable lawyer in Waco can help a decedent determine whether they are able to file a wrongful death claim. Afterward, the right legal representative can explain the process of submitting the action and help avoid procedural errors.
Financial compensation in wrongful death claims is substantial and aims to reimburse a family for many different aspects. For example, monetary damages often include repayment for funeral costs, medical expenses the deceased person incurred before they passed away, and any damage to the decedent’s property. For example, if the cause of death was a vehicle accident and the decedent’s car was destroyed in the crash, their family could recover compensation for the value of the car.
More importantly, a family’s monetary damages could cover the value of the deceased person’s expected contributions to their household if they continued to live. This sum would include their projected salary for the rest of their working life and the value of their service to the household, such as home maintenance, driving, cleaning, or childcare. Family members also could expect compensation for the loss of their loved one’s companionship and emotional support.
In some cases, a legal representative might advise seeking punitive damages. If the defendant’s wrongdoing was especially egregious, courts sometimes award punitive damages as a punishment to deter others from engaging in the same behavior. This extra compensation could become an option, for instance, if a drunk driver caused a fatal accident or if a company failed to repair a hazardous condition that led to death.
A resourceful attorney in Waco can help a grieving family recover the full extent of compensation they deserve after suffering a wrongful death.
The period after a loved one’s death could be confusing and difficult. It might be challenging to make decisions and plan for the future. If the loss of your loved one was caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, you can usually hold them accountable for their actions.
A Waco wrongful death lawyer can help you analyze the situation and seek justice for the loss of your family member. Contact the office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.