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What Does Texas Law Say About Wrongful Death?

Situations involving wrongful death are some of the worst to deal with because they not only involve the fatal injuries of someone we love, but they also involve acts of negligence. This means that the death could have been prevented had the liable party acted with reasonable care for the safety of others.

Unfortunately, the duty to care for someone else’s safety is not always adhered to, and it can cause significant damages when this duty is breached. Under wrongful death claims, however, there are certain factors that those in Texas may need to be aware of before filing a lawsuit.

How Does the Law Define Wrongful Death?

In most types of personal injury cases, it is the duty of the injured party to file a lawsuit against the person who was negligent and caused them harm. However, wrongful death lawsuits differ because the individual who was the victim is no longer alive to file such action.

Certain parties may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if they are able to prove that someone’s actions were wrongful, careless, or neglectful, and resulted in fatal injuries. This can also include actions that were a result of someone’s unskillfulness, such as an inexperienced driver causing a car crash.

How Long Do I Have Before I Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you are one of the parties who may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of your loved one, it’s important to know that there are specific time limits associated with state law. Under most circumstances, eligible parties have just two years from the date of the individual’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

There are some situations in which the time limit to file can be extended, but they’re typically rare and a lot must be shown before this waiver is granted. If you are unsure whether exceptions apply to you, be sure to speak with a wrongful death attorney who can explain your rights.

The Additional Step of Proving Liability

While most personal injury cases require four steps to prove liability, wrongful death matters have an additional factor that must be considered. This, obviously, means showing that the actual death was a result of the negligence and injury caused by the act.

These are the five factors considered in proving liability:

  • There was a duty of care between the defendant (the person against whom you’re taking legal action) and the deceased individual to ensure safety
  • The duty of care was breached by the defendant due to a negligent action—such as drunk driving, speeding, etc.
  • The negligent action was the cause of an accident in which the deceased individual was involved
  • The accident resulted in physical damage to the deceased individual
  • The death was a result of the injuries the individual sustained as a result of the accident

What this means, is that the eligible parties cannot file a wrongful death claim against someone if their actions didn’t result in the actual death. For example, if someone was driving recklessly, crashed into the deceased, and caused serious injuries, though the individual passed away from something unrelated, the negligent driver can face a personal injury lawsuit, but they may not have been responsible for the death.

Proving your case in a wrongful death lawsuit can seem complicated. You deserve the help of an experienced San Antonio wrongful death lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options moving forward.

With the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, you can receive personalized care and attention to help guide you through the entire process and pursue the outcome favorable to your situation. Trust that we have the determination and knowledge to seek the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

Call our firm today at (210) 321-9792 to speak with someone on our team about your potential wrongful death lawsuit.