What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal action that allows certain surviving family members of an individual whose death was due to another party’s wrongful act to recover compensation from the responsible party.
The at-fault party does not need to have committed a crime to be subject to a wrongful death claim. A family may have a claim against an at-fault party who causes a relative’s passing due to their negligence or other legal fault. Through a civil wrongful death claim, eligible family members can seek compensation for final medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of support, and more.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in San Antonio?
Under Texas’s wrongful death statute, a wrongful death claim may be filed only by and for the benefit of a decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. One or more of these individuals may pursue the wrongful death suit for the benefit of all the surviving eligible family members.
After three months following a decedent’s passing, if none of the eligible family members have started a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s personal representative – such as the executor or administrator of their estate – may file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the personal representative may not file the claim if requested by the decedent’s surviving spouse and surviving children and parents.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
To recover compensation in a wrongful death case, you need to prove that your family member’s death was due to another party’s actions or failure to act. For example, this may involve establishing that a fatal car accident was due to another driver’s careless operation of their vehicle, such as by running a red light. If your loved one’s death was due to a dangerous consumer or pharmaceutical product, you would need to prove how the product was defective.
In addition to proving that someone else caused your relative’s death, you must also prove what losses your family has incurred. That may include demonstrating what financial contributions your loved one would have provided to the family if they had lived, calculating the value of the deceased’s services to the household, and demonstrating the emotional loss you suffered from their passing.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, we assist families who have had a loved one pass away due to:
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
By filing a wrongful death claim, your family might be entitled to compensation from the party responsible for the death of your loved one. Although no amount of money can bring them back, compensation in a wrongful death claim could help relieve the financial strain from the sudden loss of support and help you find closure.
Financial recovery in a wrongful death claim can provide compensation for:
- The loss of your loved one’s earnings and financial contributions to your family and household
- Loss of the value of the growth of your loved one’s assets and estate, or the loss of inheritance that you and your family have incurred
- Value of the services your loved one performed for your household and family
- Loss of your loved one’s advice, counsel, and support
- Loss of your loved one’s love, companionship, and society
- Emotional and mental pain and anguish you and your family endure
In rare instances, our family could be entitled to exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. Exemplary damages are not intended to compensate the family of a wrongful death victim but rather to punish the party at fault for the death when the at-fault party engaged in intentional or shockingly reckless conduct.