Most have heard the term “wrongful dealth,” but we often get asked what it actually means. Simply stated, a wrongful death is when a person is killed because of the negligence, misconduct, or recklessness of another person.
How Wrongful Death Occurs
Wrongful death can occur in a lot of different ways, but the most common are:
- Motor vehicle collisions. When another driver is negligent and causes an accident that results in the loss of life, the negligent party is probably responsible for the wrongful death of the deceased individual.
- Trucking & commercial vehicle crashes. Trucking accidents are often fatal because of the nature and size of commercial trucks. When company employees act negligently and cause the loss of human life, the company that employs them can be held responsible for the wrongful death of the deceased.
- Medical malpractice. The negligence of doctors, nurses, and hospital staff is a frequent cause of wrongful death in the U.S., and in Texas. Hospitals, doctors, and their staff can be found liable for wrongful death if their negligence caused the loss of human life.
- Nursing home neglect or abuse. Nursing home neglect and abuse is also a leading cause of wrongful death. Neglecting to supervise or provide proper medicine and medical care to residents of a nursing home can lead to death.
- Prescription drug defects. Interactions to dangerous and defective drugs can also be the cause of wrongful death. Drug companies have been found to put profits over people, which may cause them to push drugs to market that are unsafe. In some instances, these dangerous medications can lead to death.
- Defective products. When companies are negligent and create products that are unsafe, such as poorly designed gas tanks (Ford Pinto), or seat belts that break, it exposes the users of those products to an extreme degree of risk, which can lead to death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
The Texas Wrongful Death Act superseded the common-law rule that prohibited surviving spouses, parents, and children from suing for actual damages arising from another person’s death, and created a group of people who, by law, can sue for the death of a loved on. These people are referred to as “Statutory Beneficiaries.”
In Texas, statutory beneficiaries who are able to sue for the death of a loved one must generally be either a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased person. Depending on the circumstances, an executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate may also file suit on behalf of the deceased person.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
If a loved one has been killed as a result of another person’s bad conduct, the deceased person’s family may be entitled to damages, which can include:
- Lost Wages & Support. The money that the deceased person would have continued earning to support his or her family. If the deceased person had children who relied upon him or her for support may be entitled to compensation for the support they would have received.
- Medical & Funeral Expenses. The family of the deceased (or the representative of the deceased person’s estate) may also be entitled to compensation for medical and funeral expenses.
- Pain & Suffering. If the type of injuries that caused the person’s death were such that the person endured pain and suffering prior to their death, the deceased person’s estate can also recover for this pain and suffering.
- Additional Damages. There are also other damages that can be recovered by certain family members depending on the circumstances.
Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys
We understand that no amount of financial payment can every truly compensate you for the loss of a loved one. However, holding the negligent party responsible can provide a sense of justice, peace, and closure to survivors. Mr. Barrus knows from experience the pain and devastation that comes from the wrongful death of a loved one (see his story here).
Immediately following a wrongful death, family members are grieving, and often don’t consider a wrongful death claim as an urgent matter. However, there are specific timelines that must be followed or you could forever lose your right to pursue justice for your loved one’s death. Although it may be difficult, you should consider discussing your claim with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
The laws involved in wrongful death cases are complicated and vary by state, and according to the circumstances and claims involved. If someone you love has been killed because of the negligence of another, you will need the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you. At Barrus Injury Lawyers, we have the experience, resources, and dedication to help you receive the monetary damages you are entitled to, and to pursue justice against the persons responsible. Our job is to fight for you and your family while you grieve and work to put your life back together. Call us today at (210) 910-4357 so we can start fighting for you.