If you recently experienced the unexpected death of a loved one, legal action is likely the last thing on your mind. However, while you should take the time you need to grieve, it also may be important to consider your legal options against the party responsible for your family member’s death, especially if their passing left you and your family in financial jeopardy.
Assistance from a Clear Lake City wrongful death lawyer could be crucial to protecting your financial and personal future after the tragic loss of a loved one. With a compassionate personal injury attorney by your side, you may stand a much better chance of ensuring you do not suffer additional consequences from someone else’s negligence beyond the pain you have already endured.
How State Law Applies to Wrongful Death Suits in Clear Lake City
Like any personal injury claim, an accident resulting in injuries caused by another party’s reckless, careless, or intentional actions may be grounds for a wrongful death case. However, unlike other claims, the person who should be able to file suit for damages cannot do so. For this reason, state law differentiates between typical personal injury cases and wrongful death claims in a few key ways.
For instance, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.004 specifies that a deceased person’s surviving spouse, adult children, or parents may be the only parties who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If these parties collectively decide not to take legal action, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file suit on the deceased’s behalf. Additionally, while an adopted child can file suit for the death of their legal adoptive parent, and vice versa, under no circumstances may a sibling file this type of claim on behalf of their biological or adoptive sibling.
Furthermore, different types of damages require a plaintiff to file different types of claims. A wrongful death attorney in Clear Lake City could help surviving family members pursue compensation for mental and emotional suffering, lost companionship, lost financial support, and loss of personal services. However, to recover for damages like medical expenses and physical pain the decedent experienced prior to their death, the personal representative must file a survival claim on behalf of their estate.
Potential Obstacles to Recovery
Provided that a lawyer can establish liability, there are relatively few legal roadblocks that may limit a family’s ability to recover fully for their loved one’s death. However, one of the most important of these is the filing deadline. Under this statute of limitations, all civil cases in Clear Lake City—including those for wrongful death—must be filed within two years of when the incident in question occurred.
Additionally, certain damage caps limit how much compensation a lawyer in Clear Lake City could pursue in a wrongful death case. For instance, if a court feels that a defendant’s conduct was egregious enough to warrant punitive damages, the maximum amount they can award is the greater of $200,000 or twice the plaintiff’s economic damages, plus the lesser of $750,000 or the plaintiff’s noneconomic damages.
Discuss Legal Options with a Clear Lake City Wrongful Death Attorney
No amount of money that can replace the love and support of a family member, but that does not mean civil litigation is never worth considering in this kind of situation. If an accident or intentional act claimed the life of your loved one, seeking financial recovery from the party responsible could help ensure you and your family can maintain your financial and personal security.
A Clear Lake City wrongful death lawyer could help you seek restitution for your losses and relentlessly fight to hold the responsible party accountable. When you are ready to start your case, call today, and schedule a confidential consultation.