What happens in a Wrongful Death Case in Texas?
November 21, 2018 - Wrongful Death
Losing a loved one is always a devastating experience. Knowing that the loved one died unexpectedly and because of someone’s negligence can be even more heartbreaking. Texas personal injury laws can’t make the grief of losing a loved one disappear. However, the state’s personal injury laws seek to provide family members with some form of financial justice for the unexpected loss of their loved one. This is called a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Texas, a wrongful death claim involves someone dying unexpectedly because of a person’s negligence, carelessness, default or unskillfulness. This means the person is financially responsible for causing a loved one’s untimely death. The state only allows certain members to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These members are limited to the surviving spouse, children and/or parents.
What Happens during a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The family’s attorney will contact the accused party with a demand letter for the wrongful death of their loved one. This puts the wrongful party on notice that they have two options: negotiate a settlement or be sued in court. Many attorneys do not wait for the negotiation process to begin to file the lawsuit. Texas has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the loved one’s death to file a wrongful lawsuit. Thus, Reyna Law Firm file a lawsuit as soon as possible.
Often, the family’s attorney will enter negotiations with the wrongful party. A negotiation will focus on the amount of money paid for the loved one’s untimely death. There will be offers and counteroffers made. If both sides can agree on an amount, the family signs a settlement agreement. In exchange for the money from the wrongful party, they agree to drop their wrongful death lawsuit.
What are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?
If both sides can’t agree, they go to court. Keep in mind that a settlement agreement can occur during the trial. When the case goes to trial, the family has the burden of proving the wrongful party liable. Elements of a wrongful death claim include duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty refers to the party who caused a wrongful death owing to the loved one a legal duty to protect them from harm. The second element shows the wrongful party breach that duty by causing that accident that led to the loved one’s death. The next step is to prove the wrongful party was the cause of the accident. They could be the direct or indirect cause of the accident. For example, direct cause involves a person doing something or not doing something that caused the loved one’s death.
Contact the Reyna Law Firm
Once those elements are proven, the family must show damages. The damages are the expenses they incurred because of their loved one’s death. These damages include pecuniary losses, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. Reyna Law Firm has helped many families achieve outcomes in their favor after the wrongful death of a loved one. Get in touch today by calling 855-477-7100 or contact us here.
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