Losing a friend or relative is always hard, and it can be especially challenging when that death comes due to someone else’s negligence. You may be mourning a loss that came far too soon and far too quickly. And you may not know how your family can move forward without the care and support that that person provided.
You may not want to involve an attorney, but the truth is that filing a civil claim may provide the compensation and closure you deserve. A College Station wrongful death lawyer at Chad Jones Law, P.C. can stand by your family throughout this challenging time. Our priority is to get justice for your loved one and fight for the rights of you and other surviving family members.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Fundamentally, a wrongful death claim is a personal injury claim filed on behalf of someone who has died. In Texas, the parent, child or surviving spouse of the decedent can file a wrongful death claim. If none of those family members files a claim within three months of the death, then the executor of the estate may file a claim on behalf of the estate unless an eligible family member specifically requests that a claim not be filed. In either case, the claim must be filed within two years of the death, with some very limited exceptions.
A wrongful death claim is a civil action taken against the person or entity responsible for the death. Depending on the circumstances, the person responsible for the death may also face criminal charges, but the wrongful death claim is separate and distinct from those charges. A College Station lawyer could review a particular case and determine if someone has a valid wrongful death claim.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Damages (financial compensation) in wrongful death cases fall into two categories. The first category includes financial losses sustained by the decedent him- or herself. These damages are paid to the decedent’s estate and are thus subject to applicable taxes.
- Medical bills for the decedent’s final illness or injury.
- Pain and suffering that the decedent experienced before dying.
- Lost wages during the final illness or injury.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
The second category includes losses sustained by the family members as a result of the death. This may include lost financial support, loss of services that the deceased person would have provided such as childcare and maintenance of the home, and loss of consortium – compensation for people who have lost the deceased person’s love, companionship, and guidance. These damages are paid directly to the family members and are usually tax-exempt.
Depending on the circumstances, a family may also be awarded exemplary damages, which are known as punitive damages in many other jurisdictions. These damages are designed to send a clear message that the conduct that led to the death was unacceptable in Texas.
In short, the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is not to “cash in” on a person’s death. When our College Station wrongful death attorneys represent a grieving family, our priority is to fight for justice for someone who has passed and help the surviving family members. Often, the compensatory damages awarded in a wrongful death claim allow family members who would have otherwise been left destitute to maintain their quality of life.
Speak with a College Station Wrongful Death Attorney
If your family lost a loved one in a tragic accident, reach out to one of our caring College Station wrongful death lawyers today. We could help you pursue full and fair compensation. To get start, call our office to schedule an initial consultation.