If you have lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you understand exactly how tragic that loss is. While nothing can bring your loved one back to you, filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party can help you recover on your financial losses and help you begin the journey toward recovery.
What Is a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case is a civil case brought against the party who is at-fault for your relative’s death. The damages sought are monetary damages only. Relatives can bring a wrongful death case even if the at-fault party is also facing criminal charges for the death of their relative. Criminal charges can obviously carry much harsher penalties, including prison time.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the State of Texas, the following relatives may file wrongful death claims on behalf of their lost loved one:
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving children, including adult children
- The surviving parents
Any one of these survivors can file, or any number of them can choose to file as a group. If a survivor does not bring a claim within three months of the decedent’s death, a representative or executor of his or her estate may file instead. Finally, while an adopted child can file a wrongful death claim regarding his or her adoptive parent, he or she may not do so regarding a biological parent. Surviving siblings, however, many not file wrongful death claims for the loss of a sister or brother.
The damages awarded in wrongful death claims are intended to compensate the survivors and the decedent’s estate for the financial losses that were precipitated by his or her untimely death (as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness). Such losses can include:
- The loss of the decedent’s earning capacity
- The loss of inheritance that his or her heirs would have experienced if the decedent had lived to the age reasonably expected
- The loss of care, maintenance, support, services, counsel, and advice that the decedent would have provided for his or her survivors over the years
- The loss of comfort, companionship, society, and love that the decedent would have provided
- The mental and emotional pain and suffering endured by the decedent’s survivors
The damages awarded by the court in wrongful death cases are divided among the surviving family members in proportion to their personal losses associated with the death. Generally, the court determines how the funds will be apportioned.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
If you have lost a loved one to the negligence of another, you have suffered a tragic loss. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a dedicated personal injury attorney who has the experience, compassion, and resources to help you fully recover on your losses. Your case is important, and so are your rights, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.