Austin is the capital city of Texas and as such, it is equipped with many busy highways, roadways, hospitals, and medical facilities. All too often, however, motor vehicle collisions, medical mistakes, and other accidents in Austin are fatal.
If one of your loved ones has died as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you may be eligible to take legal action on behalf of your loved one. In other words, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit for wrongful death.
The compassionate Austin wrongful death attorneys at George Salinas Injury Lawyers understand that dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough. However, when that death results from another individual or a corporation’s carelessness or recklessness, you may be able to take legal action.
Our experienced wrongful death lawyers regularly deal with these kinds of cases and are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve on behalf of your loved one.
Defining Wrongful Death under the Law
Wrongful death law in Texas is governed by the state’s Wrongful Death Statute. A decedent’s survivor may be able to file a wrongful death case if the decedent’s death resulted from a person or corporation’s carelessness, negligence, or wrongful act. These acts might include drunk driving collisions and motor vehicle accidents resulting from distracted driving or simple negligence. Medical negligence or malpractice by doctors, nurses, nursing homes, or hospitals can also serve as the basis for a wrongful death claim in Texas.
The Austin personal injury lawyers at George Salinas Injury Lawyers can discuss your loved one’s accident with you and determine if it falls within the parameters of the state’s Wrongful Death Statute.
Statute of Limitations in Texas Wrongful Death Cases
All cases have statutes of limitations – or time deadlines by which a claim or lawsuit must be filed. The surviving family members of an Austin accident victim must file any wrongful death claim or lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death.
Absent some very limited and narrow exceptions, the statute of limitations which is applicable to Texas wrongful death cases is a hard-and-fast deadline. Consequently, if a wrongful death claim or lawsuit is not filed within the applicable time period, the decedent’s survivors will likely be precluded from ever pursuing monetary damages on the decedent’s behalf.
Family Members who can bring a Wrongful Death Claim
Not all of a decedent’s family members are eligible to bring a claim for wrongful death in Texas. The following members of a decedent’s family are eligible to bring such a claim:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent
- The decedent’s children
- The decedent’s parents
- An adopted child of the decedent (in some cases)
- Adoptive parents (if filing the claim on behalf of an adopted child who is deceased)
Any of these individuals may be able to file a single wrongful death action. However, they could also consolidate all of their wrongful death claims together and file them as a single claim.
Texas law does not permit a decedent’s surviving siblings (either biological siblings or adopted siblings) to file a wrongful death claim.
The Austin wrongful death attorneys at George Salinas Injury Lawyers will be able to determine whether or not you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim under your circumstances.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
In order to recover damages in a wrongful death case, the claimant or claimants (i.e., the person or persons filing the wrongful death claim) must be able to meet the burden of proof. This burden is very similar to the burden of proof in a standard personal injury case. Specifically, the claimant must be able to show that the at-fault person or entity owed a duty to act in a safe, reasonable, and careful manner. The wrongful death claimant must also demonstrate that the at-fault party violated this duty of care, proximately resulting in the decedent’s death. In other words, the decedent’s death would not have occurred but for the at-fault party’s carelessness and negligence.
Our Austin wrongful death attorneys can help you with meeting the elements of proof in a wrongful death case.
Available Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The main purpose of damages in a wrongful death case is to compensate a decedent’s surviving family members for the losses they sustained as a result of their loved one’s death. The amount and extent of these available damages vary from case to case, depending upon the circumstances – as well as the identity of the claimant, whether that be a parent, surviving spouse, or child of the decedent. Some common types of available damages in Texas wrongful death cases include compensation for:
- Lost inheritance
- Loss of household services
- Loss of counsel, support, and guidance
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of earning capacity
If the at-fault party behaved in a grossly negligent or reckless manner, the wrongful death claimant may be able to recover punitive damages in the wrongful death case. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter similar conduct by others in the future.
Call an Austin Wrongful Death Attorney Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
Losing a loved one in a serious accident can be difficult to accept, and money can never truly compensate anyone for a human life. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for everything that both you and your loved one went through.
The compassionate wrongful death lawyers at George Salinas Injury Lawyers can determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. If you are, our experienced attorneys can advocate for your interests every step of the way and help you recover wrongful death damages in your case. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, please call us today at (210) 225-0909, or contact us online.