Any accident that leaves someone with serious injuries can have serious repercussions, but the situation becomes even more catastrophic if an accident leads to someone losing their life. If you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, adding a civil lawsuit to your plate may understandably be the last thing you want to do.
While civil compensation can never make up for losing a loved one, pursuing a fair settlement or civil verdict with a personal injury attorney’s help can do a lot to minimize the financial impact that this loss has on your life. From start to finish of your case, a compassionate West Lake Hills wrongful death lawyer can uphold your rights and seek the best possible resolution on your behalf.
For the most part, a wrongful death claim is possible in any situation where the deceased person would have had grounds to pursue personal injury litigation had they survived the accident in question. This means it is possible to sue for wrongful death caused by traditional negligence, such as after a car collision, truck wreck, motorbike incident, or more.
State law sets out a few restrictions on who can actually pursue a wrongful death claim, though, with different rules applying at different times after someone’s untimely death. For the first three months after a wrongful death, the right to file suit belongs exclusively to the spouse, children, and/or parents of the decedent, as a West Lake Hills attorney can further explain.
Once these three months have passed, the decedent’s personal representative may pursue a claim on behalf of those eligible family members, unless all surviving family members specifically request that no claim be pursued. Notably, virtually no one can file suit more than two years after a wrongful death occurs, as that would exceed the two-year filing deadline established under TX Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §16.003.
After losing a family member due to another person’s negligence, surviving family members can usually recover for all their economic and non-economic losses, including:
Courts may impose additional punitive damages against a defendant who causes a wrongful death through egregious negligence. For example, if a drunk driver kills a pedestrian, punitive compensation might apply. However, there are caps on how much a court may force a defendant to pay in punitive damages. A knowledgeable lawyer in West Lake Hills can help determine if punitive compensation or these caps apply to a particular wrongful death case.
Any death unexpected death is a tragedy, and money is a poor substitute for a life cut unfairly short. That said, making the person who caused your immense loss pay for your biggest setbacks and complications could help stabilize your family’s finances and ease the burdens all of you may face in the years and decades to come.
A conversation with a West Lake Hills wrongful death lawyer can give you a better idea of your options and rights, so call today to schedule your initial consultation.