How Settlement Caps Affect Texas Wrongful Death Claims

April 18, 2018 - Wrongful Death

White Coffin with Red and White Roses at a Funeral

There are generally no limitation caps on wrongful death settlements in Texas with one legislative exception. That exception is in medical malpractice cases. It is important to understand that this stipulation only applies to those classed as wrongful death claims and not the original personal injury claims. The original personal injury claim for all damages between the time of the injury and expiration is the claim from which the wrongful death will piggyback, but the funds are considered the property of the decedent’s family. In addition to the limitations directly addressed in the legal statute, there can also be a few other factors that reduce a wrongful death claim as well.

Multiple Defendants

If there are multiple defendants, such as two or more health care institutions and a private physician, there is a limit on how much survivors can be granted in non-economic damages from each institution. This means that each claim against a facility is separate, and the limit applies to each one and not to overall damages from all legal actions.

Multiple Claimants

Wrongful death claims are brought by the family of the decedent, which will often give standing to several individuals. Texas law allows defendants to combine all of those family members with claim standing and settle the issue with a collective payment for all family members. In cases of medical malpractice, these damage awards are capped at $500,000 but can rise as high as $1.5 million when the amount is adjusted for inflation, which can be significant.

Comparative Fault

Texas comparative negligence statutes can also impact a loss of consortium claims just as they can personal injury claims for the decedent’s estate. Generally speaking, the injured parties cannot receive compensation for injuries they mainly cause to themselves, and in Texas, this limit is set at 51% fault for the claimant. The comparative fault percentage assigned to the primary decedent is used to discount a claim, and many times the personal contribution to a death by the victim can be the most contested component of a case.

Contact an Austin Wrongful Death Lawyer

It is a known fact that wrongful death cases in Texas can be complicated and strongly defended. Always call the legal professionals at Reyna Law Firm for solid experienced representation and a maximum settlement claim.

For more information on our Austin Wrongful Death Lawyers, please visit our site.


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