Losing a child, a parent, or any loved one is a painful, life-changing experience. Fortunately, wrongful death laws exist to protect family members and loved ones following a fatal accident or injury. A wrongful death case is the most serious type of personal injury lawsuit. Cases may involve fatal injuries related to medical malpractice, product liability, worksite accidents, car crashes, premises liability, and other claims.
At the Law Office of Joel A. Levine, we handle complex wrongful death cases. We will work personally with you to examine the case, gather evidence, and present your claim before courts in central Texas. We are dedicated to making the process transparent and as simple as possible for you and your family. Whether we take the case to trial or accept wrongful death settlements, we will protect your rights and fight to recover the compensation that you deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
- Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
- Other Claims
- How Soon Does a Claim Need to be Filed?
- Wrongful Death FAQs
- What constitutes a wrongful death?
- What types of incidents are commonly the cause of wrongful death?
- What is the difference between a wrongful death case and a criminal case?
- How much is a wrongful death case worth?
- Who should I sue for wrongful death?
- What is negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit?
- How is a monetary value assigned to pain and suffering?
- How does the lawyer get paid in a wrongful death case?
Claims for fatal injuries are typically filed by the decedent’s estate, family members, and relatives. Dependents, heirs, and other designated beneficiaries are entitled to receive compensation as well. These complainants can recover monetary and punitive damages. Monetary damages may include compensation for medical expenses and loss of present and future earnings. Surviving family members are also eligible to request punitive damages for emotional suffering, such as loss of companionship, loss of consortium, or loss of a parent.
To prove a case, the plaintiff’s wrongful death attorney must prove that the injury was caused by the actions or inactions of another individual, company, or entity. This is known as negligence and includes actions that are reckless, careless, unskillful, or caused by poor training. Generally, negligence is proved by demonstrating that the defendant or person responsible for the injuries ignored their duty. This may include not maintaining a work site, failing to drive safely, or performing medical procedures in a manner that was not prudent.
In addition to recovering compensation for financial and emotional hardship, Texas laws permit family members to file related claims for the trauma associated with a loved one’s death. Your wrongful death lawyer may attach a survival action claim to a lawsuit if the decedent suffered unnecessarily in their last days or moments. For example, prolonged treatment in a hospital after suffering egregious injuries creates additional financial and emotional hardship for the decedent and their loved ones. Survival action claims also include instances where the plaintiff experienced a fear of impending death during a plane crash or other traumatic event. This particular statute allows the estate to request damages that the plaintiff would have recovered in any other personal injury case.
Another Texas statute permits something known as a bystander recovery claim. This allows family members to recover additional compensation after witnessing the death or injury of a loved one. Within the complaint, such claims are typically described as intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress depending on whether the defendant knew or should have known that family members would witness the injuries.
How Soon Does a Claim Need to be Filed?
Laws that apply in Austin, Texas and other parts of the state give Plaintiffs two years from the time of death before the window to file a lawsuit expires. The statute of limitations is extended in these specific circumstances.
- If claims are related to the death of a child or minor
- In cases where the defendant concealed their negligence
- When parties were physically or mentally incapable of filing
- If the negligence was not discovered until long after the death, such as with defective drugs, asbestos-related mesothelioma or hidden conditions
Unless your case fits one of these exceptions, the statute of limitations will expire in two years, and you will lose your right to recover damages. Because the investigation and legal process in wrongful death law is so complex, it’s prudent to contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as you are able.
Wrongful death attorney Joel A. Levine has been protecting the rights of injured individuals and their family members for nearly a decade. From building a case to fighting for compensation in the courtroom, each part of your case will be handled with precision, care, and understanding. We will examine the facts and create the most successful strategy to help you with your case.
Contact the Law Office of Joel A. Levine, Personal Injury Lawyer, today to request a free consultation. We work with clients throughout central Texas and handle all wrongful death cases on a contingency basis. You won’t have to pay anything unless we win your case. If you’re unable to come to our offices in Austin TX, we’ll come to you or arrange a virtual consultation that fits your schedule.
Wrongful Death FAQs
What constitutes a wrongful death?
A wrongful death occurs when an injury causes a person’s death or a fetus’s failure to be born alive, the injury is caused by another person’s or entity’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default,” and the injured person would have been entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit had he or she lived or been born alive. (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 71.001 to 71.003 (2021).)
What types of incidents are commonly the cause of wrongful death?
Car accidents and other negligence-based accidents are some of the most common causes of wrongful death. Medical malpractice is another common reason a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought against a person or entity. In some cases, the act is intentional, such as a criminal act.
What is the difference between a wrongful death case and a criminal case?
The purpose of a wrongful death case is for the plaintiff to seek financial compensation for a loved one’s death. The purpose of a criminal case is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed and what the consequences will be for the accused.
How much is a wrongful death case worth?
The amount of compensation received in a wrongful death lawsuit differs greatly from case to case depending on the details and circumstances. There is no way to know for sure how much a case is worth without consulting a lawyer, and even then it must wait until the case is settled for a definite amount to be determined.
Who should I sue for wrongful death?
It is important to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the right person or entity, which can be a confusing matter. A personal injury attorney can help you determine who to sue in order to have the best chance of obtaining compensation.
What is negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit?
The legal definition of negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act. An example is drunk driving. The person may not have intended harm, yet should have acted more responsibly.
How is a monetary value assigned to pain and suffering?
Lawyers have a few different methods for associating a monetary value to pain and suffering. It often depends on the length of time a person is considered to have suffered. Grief can also be assigned a monetary value when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a complicated matter, which is why legal advice is necessary.
How does the lawyer get paid in a wrongful death case?
Wrongful death cases, like other personal injury lawsuits, are paid for on a contingency basis. The lawyer won’t get paid unless you, the plaintiff, collect compensation. Then a predetermined percentage of that compensation is paid to the lawyer. You won’t need to pay any upfront fees.